HDBeenDope is holding down Brooklyn, teaming with Earl On The Beat for their new joint project, Side A: The Preface. The release pairs the two with Roc Nation artist Maeta and Landstrip Chip.
HD dropped the new video for “Hold It Down,” featuring the aforementioned Chip. The new video is directed by HDBeenDope and tells brings in the theme of “holding it down” through a splurge across high-end shops with beautiful women.
Ahead of the project and taking the stage at Rolling Loud New York, HDBeenDope connected with The Source to give a preview to Side A: The Preface.
What let you know Earl On The Beat was the producer to go to for this project?
I wanted to work with Earl after watching his Genius video interview, where he explained how he created the beat for “Act Up” by the City Girls and how Juvenile’s classic “Back That Ass Up” influenced the creation of the song. I just thought it was dope because “Act Up” doesn’t really sound like “Back That Ass Up” and it reminded me of my creative process. My two songs that made the Madden 21 soundtrack – “BYRD” and “Top” – were influenced by a Lil Yachty and Lil Pump record and nobody would even think that. So, the approach is similar in terms of hearing songs and wanting to recreate energy in a unique and unexpected way. I eventually reached out to him so we could set something up and it just went from there.
Coming into this project, what did you want to achieve?
I just really wanted to step inside of Earl’s world – that was like the biggest thing that I really wanted to do and just force myself outside of the box. I think people view me as a super-conscious rapper, but I’ve always just been big on being versatile. A lot of the people that Earl works with aren’t the people that would be labeled as the conscious rapper, so it was an opportunity for me to be inside of Earl’s world and force myself to grow as an artist.
On the last release, you have features from Rodes Rollins and others. What do you search for when you plan a collaboration?
For me, anytime I work with features, it’s about elevation. It has to elevate the record in some form or fashion. I’m not someone that cares about having a name on a song, just to say that we have a name – that doesn’t do anything for me. If it doesn’t add to the record or doesn’t make me feel like this is necessary, then I feel like there’s no point in just sticking a feature there just to have it. Elevation is the key for collaboration for me.
What process did it take for you both to get on the same page in its creation?
I feel like the energy was great from the jump! We met in the studio in Atlanta, we chopped it up and all that good stuff. He ran through a bunch of beats, and I think my process in terms of making music, especially with just making music just on a whim, was just a lot different. I’m used to just going into projects and kind of crafting the words before I even started making music, so it was different.
It took me more time to get comfortable and get out of my way almost because I was in my head and overthinking the songs and sounds. Toward the end of the process, I learned to just allow the music to speak to me more than anything and not try to talk to the music and create based on that.
What growth have you seen in yourself in creating this project as opposed to BrokeN Dreams?
Just definitely allowing the music to speak to me and being more hands-on with other producers because there were some breakdowns towards the end of the records that I decided to add in there but that’s obviously a conversation I had to have with Earl. There’s even a record I ended up adding products to it and that was still a conversation I had to have with Earl. So, it just helped me understand what it’s like to communicate and really make a collaborative effort. I was so used to making music in my bedroom and I’ve been doing that for so long, so this was like getting outside of the box for sure.