ATL Jacob is the genius Grammy-nominated producer behind some of the biggest hits in the world including Future’s “Wait For U,” Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin,” and Lil Baby's "Right On."
We got the chance to sit down with the Atlanta native and spoke to him about his transition from producer to rapper, recent Grammy nominations, debut album, relationship with Big Sean, and more.
Oumou Fofana: How was your day?
ATL Jacob: I just woke up.
Fofana: You just woke up at 1:39 PM?
ATL Jacob: Nah, an hour ago.
Fofana: Okay. Around 12. In New York we be up early. I be up at 5:00 AM.
ATL Jacob: For real? If I get up at five, I'll be asleep by 12.
Fofana: So what part of ATL did you grow up in?
ATL Jacob: South Side, you know, uh, like College Park area.
Fofana: It that like the hood?
ATL Jacob: Basically yeah. It's pretty nice down there. You should visit Old National. It's beautiful.
Fofana: Really? I never been to ATL.
ATL Jacob: You should go to the mall on Old National. Very nice.
Fofana: Okay. I'll check it out. A few months back, Billboard announced that you hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 Producers chart thanks to Future’s I Never Liked You album. Congratulations on that milestone.
ATL Jacob: Actually I was on there because of "Super Gremlin." Future's album helped me stay there for over six months. I had seven songs charting from that album. I had other songs out on the chart. It was "Super Gremlin," and "Right On."
Fofana: How is it like working with Future?
ATL Jacob: That's my bro so it's normal. It's just a vibe. I play beats, he rap. We just be chilling.
Fofana: And you were also nominated for two Grammys this year.
ATL Jacob: Yeah, this is my sixth time now. Maybe I'll win this time.
Fofana: I don't doubt it. How old were you when you got your first shot in the industry?
ATL Jacob: I was 18 years old when I started working with Future. I started making beats at 14. When you from the hood, everybody come into your hood. People from your hood going to different hoods so I was just around his people. I was just making beats to work my way up to getting to meet him. I met Casino, his brother, and he introduced us.
Fofana: In a recent interview with AllHipHop, you mentioned that he started you off at 10k a beat. How much does he pay you now?
ATL Jacob: You know, Future man, he set the tone at 10, so we work out good stuff. It's whatever he comfortable with paying me, that's what I take. Sometimes it's 30, sometimes it's 50.
Fofana: You also produce for Kodak Black, Lil Baby, Kanye West, Lil Durk, Young Thug. You're like 24 now, right? And you've been working with all these A-list celebrities. How does that make you feel?
ATL Jacob: Um, I feel like I need to do more. Like "how can I expand?" Go bigger, go beyond. I mean I started off with A-list artists so its normal now.
Fofana: How was it like working with Kanye?
ATL Jacob: It was creative and motivational. I was just learning. I sat back, be quiet and learned.
Fofana: Are you guys still cool?
ATL Jacob: Yeah, I ain't got no problem with him. He ain't do nothing to me. I mean, I don't talk to him. But if I see him, you know it's cool.
Fofana: You recently announced that you were working on an album? Do you have a release date yet?
ATL Jacob: Nah, it's slowly in the making. Not slowly, but it's in the making.
Fofana: How has the journey been working on your debut album?
ATL Jacob: Your first album is always the hardest because it’s your entire life up until that point. The hard part is figuring out which side of me I want to give the people first. I’m taking my time though.
Fofana: Any guest appearances?
ATL Jacob: Big Sean. I got Fridayy on there. I got some more surprise guests on there too.
Fofana: Now that you establish yourself as a rapper, will the album consist of you rapping or will it just be songs you’ve produced?
ATL Jacob: I can say these releases will be me showcasing myself as an artist. The songs will be produced by some of my favorite producers and myself.
Fofana: How was your experience working with Big Sean on this album?
ATL Jacob: Sean down to earth. That's my boy. We just talk on the phone. Not even talking about music, we just talk about life. That's my boy. I f**k with Sean because when we linked up it was on some producing stuff but then I told him I rap. He was like, "For real?" So then he heard it and he was like, "Man, this s**t hard." He gave me verses and all. That's forever love. Just for believing in it before anybody else did.
Fofana: So what made you transition from producing to rapping?
ATL Jacob: I wouldn't call it a transition, it's more going back to my roots since I started off rapping. So it's just time. I said when I get a hit song I'ma rap.
Fofana: So what made you get into production? I interviewed Fridayy a few months ago and he said something like "it's easier to get into the industry as a producer." Do you agree?
ATL Jacob: Depends. Everybody got a different path. For me, I just wanted to rap on my own beats and the right people heard them.
Fofana: Besides your new album that you are slowly working on, what else can your fans expect from you in this new year?
ATL Jacob: Just more production and songs coming out. And then my artists on my label Wicked Money Family, we dropping a lot of stuff with them too. I got three on the label already -- Skrew Davinchi, Marcoo5k, and SlumGodTravv. I'm always looking for new talent, but just not any talent, you know? But them, they've been with me for a minute. They hard.
Fofana: Are there any artists that you dream of working with?
ATL Jacob: Usually when I answer that, I'll be like Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber but honestly it's whoever has the connection that'll work with me, that's who I dream about working with. Cause it's really just about connections and vibes. You might wanna work with somebody but the vibe might not even be right.
Fofana: What advice would you give upcoming artists trying to make it?
ATL Jacob: Just put your music out. Whether if you got two fans, or 10 fans, or thousand fans, or 10,000 fans, just give 'em what they want.
Fofana: What is the best advice you've received since your start?
ATL Jacob: Future always told me to stay down. Whatever you sticking with and believe in, just stay down with it. Like don't give up on it, keep going. It's gonna work out.
Fofana: Speaking of Future and advice. Didn't you just tweet that he gave you relationship advice? He said you should always have a backup girl for your backup girl. You really take relationship advice from Future?
ATL Jacob: You know, that's my brother. We just be talking. I was joking around when I said that. Sometimes I get in my moods where I just tweet.
You can check out songs that were produced by ATL Jacob below: