Behind the boards
Interview: Robby Seabrook III
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of XXL magazine, on the stands now.
Talent takes you to the top. Long before he was the engineer and producer known as Mattazik Muzik, the 28-year-old Alabama native was a teenage multi-instrumentalist. Mattazik Muzik, born Matthew Edward Robinson, turned his life around after a local studio internship in 2012. Today, he’s a two-time Grammy nominee and has become a southern rap superstar. little babythe reference engineer while working with Young thug, Gunna, Travis Porter, Tokyo jetz and more. Here Mattazik Muzik shares a glimpse of his path to success.
XXL: When did your interest in engineering begin?
Mattazik Muzik: At first, before I started as an engineer, I was more of a beatmaker. Back in Mobile, Alabama, I had a mentor named Ron G [Ronald Suggs]. He was running the studio over there in town. One day, a cousin of mine was going to the studio so he invited me over. The same evening, I was introduced and on top of that, I had a little parallel internship while I was there. Every time I leave school, I go straight to the studio.
When did you believe in your engineering skills?
When I realized the energy I bring to the session. A lot of people would say it’s the engineer who sets the mood. It’s a fact because no matter what the mood, it’s going to change everyone’s mood.
How did you start working with Lil Baby?
I started out as a fan. [In] ’15 or ’16, I started working at The Underground. I went out to take a cigarette break. I saw Lil Baby and I was like, “Hey, are you Lil Baby?” He’s like, “Yeah, hey, man. Want to take a picture? We ended up taking the picture. Fast forward, we never [saw] each other since then. At the time , I worked at Loud House in Atlanta. [Lil Baby] came [and] booked time in the studio. He recognized me. A few years later he came over and admitted that I was the first person who asked him for a photo. I still have this image.
What was the energy in the studio like when you and Lil Baby worked on his hit album “The Bigger Picture”?
We wanted to talk about what we’ve done or what we want to do, but we can’t do it when the whole world is in chaos. I remember when we started recording the first lyrics, I didn’t expect that in the end there would be a whole protest song. The moment the song fell, I was amazed at the reaction to it. It’s very different from Too Hard, it’s very different from “Close Friends”. It’s revolutionary.
Discover more XXLthe Spring 2021 issue of Cardi B’s cover story, How? ‘Or’ What rappers are legally making money thanks to the cannabis boom and the social justice that goes with it, Snowfall’s Damson Idris on the impact of hip-hop on his life, A $ AP Ferg reflects on the making of his Always strive and thrive album, Shelley FKA DRAM talks about his return, Trippie Redd explains how Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert helped change hip-hop, Waka Flocka Flame contacts us and gives an update on his Flockaveli 2 album in What’s going on, Show & Prove interviews with 42 Dugg, Blxst, Lakeyah and Pink Ruby, Erica Banks discusses the creation of the hit song “Buss It”, the Internet Money buyout with producers Taz Taylor and Nick Mira, the artists who are next on record companies run by rappers, producer DY Krazy discusses his sound beyond trap beats and more.
Cardi B covers the Spring 2021 issue of XXL magazine.