From New Jersey to Melbourne: How A "Young Thug Type Beat" Landed on Migos' 'Culture'

Producers Keanu and 808Godz detail how their cross-continent collaboration became "What The Price."

There's a wealth of production muscle behind Migos' Platinum-selling album Culture—Cardo, Murda Beatz, Metro Boomin, Zaytoven—but if you scan the track list, you'll also notice the names of several up-and-coming producers.

Two of those names are 808Godz, a 26-year-old producer from East Orange, New Jersey, and Keanu, a 20-year-old producer from Melbourne, Australia, who, along with North Carolina beatsmith Ricky Racks, crafted track No. 8, "What The Price."

So, how did a beat that was birthed in New Jersey travel around the world to Melbourne and back to North Carolina before landing in Atlanta?

According to 808Godz, "What The Price" began as a "Young Thug Type" beat, the kind independent rappers across the globe search for on YouTube. "I found the sample, added EQ and some percussion and sent it off to Keanu, but he really wasn't feeling it at first," 808Godz explained, laughing. 

Luckily for 808Godz, Keanu wasn't busy when the beat arrived in his inbox. "I really didn't like it at all, but I had nothing else to do that day," he admitted.

Keanu added drums, hi-hats, and gross beat and low pass filters in FL Studio, mixed it down and shipped it off to Ricky Racks, who added strings and piano layers to "fill out the beat." Racks, who had previously placed a beat with Migos when the trio recorded "Can't Go Out Sad" for their 2016 EP 3 Way, then forwarded the beat along to the group.

"Not too long after [the beat was sent], I look on Twitter and see Offset driving crazy in a Mercedes with the beat playing in the background," said 808Godz. "I said, 'oh shit!'"

"That was cool, but once we found out we were on the Culture album, it was the best feeling ever," added Keanu.

Thanks to social media, it's easier than ever before for artists and producers to directly connect—Khalid and Zedd networked on Twitter for all the world to see earlier this year—and the genesis of the union between 808Godz and Keanu is no different. "He hit me on Instagram wanting to work," said Keanu. "Ever since then we just built a tight relationship."

As a result of the song's placement and success—to date, the video for "What The Price" has produced 28 million views on YouTube—808Godz quit his full-time job to solely work on production, while Keanu, who was already working on music full-time, says increased access to artists has been the biggest plus. "I can get beats to whoever I want and work with big producers who I still look up to," he said.

The internet, making one cross-continent collaboration come true at a time.