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Jeezy's 'Pressure': a Track by Track Breakdown by DJ Folk - DJBooth

The Making of Jeezy's 'Pressure' as Told by Album A&R DJ Folk

When I eventually woke up, Jeezy played the record for me and I was like, "Wow!"
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Hello DJBooth readers, it's DJ Folk.

For those of you who don't know me, I have been a part of the music business for the past 13 years. After making a bunch of noise on the mixtape circuit in the early '10s, I took a brief hiatus from music, but early last year, I returned behind the scenes to A&R Jeezy's 2016 album, Trap or Die 3.

Immediately following the release of TOD3, Jeezy and I began crafting his latest album, Pressure. Shortly after the album went to mastering, Jeezy and I parted company—my social anxiety got the best of me and I felt very burned out—but I'm grateful that he gave me an opportunity to work with him on these two albums. 

This is more than likely the last album I work on with Jeezy, but our goal from the beginning was clear: give fans the 2017 version of Trappin' Ain't Dead. I'll let the fans decide if we pulled it off.

Below, you will find a track by track breakdown of Pressure, which will give fans a behind-the-scenes look at how this 13-track LP came together over the past 12 months.

"Spyder"

Produced by D. Rich

Righ before going out on tour, I found a folder full of D. Rich beats on a TD3 drive. On our first day off in Boston, we booked a session. It was a very fruitful session. I played the "Spyder" beat for Jeezy and when he heard it, he lost his mind. He quickly laid the hook, knocked out the first verse and, eventually, we finished up the track at the infamous Quad Recording Studios in New York. We didn't initially select this record as the album intro, but when we were on tour in Phoenix, we played it back to back and it hit us both like, "Yup, this is it."

"Cold Summer" ft. Tee Grizzley

Produced by Pay Cash

When we were in LA on tour, my guy Pay Cash (formerly of The Olympicks) sent me a batch of beats. It was around late March. I played them for Jeezy after a night out at the club and, again, he immediately knocked out the hook and recorded a verse than he ended up changing. Originally, Pay Cash suggested putting Tee Grizzley on the record, while I was debating reaching out to YoungBoy Never Broke Again. Pay Cash connected us with Tee Grizzley and, as they say, the rest is history.

"In A Major Way" ft. Payroll Giovanni

Produced by Gotti Rock Solid

I believe we knocked out this whole song in Atlanta before we went on Tour. Gotti originally sent this beat to me in 2012. I was close with Gotti's old management in North Carolina from when I went to college out there. It gave me that vintage Trappin Ain't Dead Jeezy feeling. His mini-verse intro is a classic, in my opinion. Payroll is family and he's making a lot of noise in Detroit, so for me, it was no-brainer for him to get on the record.

"Floor Seats" ft. 2 Chainz

Produced by D. Rich

We also did this record at Quad Recording Studios in New York. We were stuck in NYC during a blizzard after a few tour dates, but we were able to get a bunch of work done. This beat came from that same D. Rich folder on the TD3 drive. D is a criminally underrated producer; he doesn't get enough credit for his production work. He can do anything production wise. This is a very unorthodox beat but it is crazy. 2 Chainz always gives Jeezy a great verse and when we heard the beat we knew he'd be perfect.

"This Is It"

Produced by Vinylz, DJ SpinKing & Big White Beatz

Jeezy had some affairs to tend to in NYC, so he booked a session at Quad and the homie DJ SpinKing came through and played us some beats. Jeezy laid the hook for this record in New York, but he brought it back with him to Atlanta so that he could play it for me and D. Rich. After our engineer looped it, I was in Jeezy's ear like, "My nigga, bring back that 'Dem Boyz' cadence but updated." The end result is one of my favorite songs on the album. 

"Bottles Up" ft. Diddy

Produced by Pay Cash

This record was done in LA in the Michael Jackson room at WestLake Recording Studios. I played the beat and Jeezy started losing his mind. He began coming up with ideas for the hook and then he freestyled the verse. I thought, "Big Tymers flow, fuck, I'm with it." While he was recording the song, I fucked around and fell asleep. When I eventually woke up, Jeezy played the record for me and I was like, "Wow!" Diddy was our first guest choice but we also discussed the Big Tymers. Diddy being with DeLeón Tequila and Cîroc also made the choice easy. At the time, we were thinking that the visual would even up being a three-minute long commercial for both  Tequila Avión [Editor's Note: Jeezy is the Multicultural Advisor to the Chairman of Avión.] and both of Diddy's brands.

"Valet Interlude"

Produced by DJay Cas 

DJay Cas and Jeezy have done a few records over the years ("Bag Music" with USDA and "Talkin" on Trap or Die 2). At one point, we had a mixtape entitled Ryda Muzik (it was shelved) with nothing but beats from DJay Cas and The Olympicks and this beat was in play. For the album, Cas made some changes to the beat and resent it. When we were picking records [for the album], we had 12 locked in and like three or four maybes. He was like, "Let's make 'Valet' an interlude and Folk, you can figure out where to sequence it." I knew what we had and I feel good about where the record was placed.

"Respect" 

Produced by Gotti Rock Solid

Another unorthodox beat that turned into a really solid album cut. We recorded this in Atlanta before the tour. It's a record that is meant to make a statement. Basically, it's a 'I'm still the Big Homie record.' Jeezy has a legacy to uphold, he's been in the game for 13 years and counting, with eight albums. This is a testament to that legacy. He did this around the time he completed "In A Major Way." It came from the same batch of Gotti beats.

"Pressure" ft. Kodak Black & YG

Produced by D. Rich

D. Rich came in and cooked up some beats for on the spot. He played this one beat and we all agreed it sounded like old school Spice 1 shit. We recorded it quickly. At the time, YG was in town recording so he came through and recorded his verse at the spot. After Kodak got out of jail in June, Jeezy hit him like, "I got a joint I need you on!" He sent it over to Kodak at midnight and we had it back by 4 am. Kodak is one of those kids with a rabid younger fanbase. They loved Jeezy's verse on his album. My thought process was to get a younger crowd interested in the album without riding a wave. They have an authentic big homie-younger homie bond.

"Like Them" ft. Tory Lanez & Rick Ross

Produced by Tone Mason, Frank Dukes & Neenyo

I got this beat in December 2016. I heard elements of Jeezy's "Holy Ghost" in it. I asked the producer Neenyo if it contained a [Frank] Dukes sample and he was like, "Yeah, it's the Adam Feeney sample, which was also used in "Holy Ghost." We got Ross to do the verse rather quickly as a swap for the "Dead Presidents" verse that we did for him. We went back and forth on who else to place on the record. My first choice was Tory Lanez, who sent us [the record] back quickly. I would have put this record out as the album's lead single, but I was overruled. 

"The Life" ft. WizKid & Trey Songz

Produced by Cardiak & Frank Dukes

Cardiak is a producer who everyone wants to work with. Shout out to MoneyMakinMatt. Jeezy verses were written shortly after "Seen It All." This was one of those records that was shelved for a while and [initially] had a different feature. Jeezy saw WizKid perform in D.C. and sent this over to him. He knocked it out and sent it right back. Trey Songz came through our spot recorded quickly. The hook was written by Ryan Leslie, shout to him. It's a record I loved at first and it's a record I still love. I'm glad the public gets the chance to hear it. 

"American Dream" ft. J Cole & Kendrick Lamar

Produced by Soundsmith Beats

Jeezy loved this beat but never recorded to it so I gave it to an artist in Miami named Jigg. He actually cut a version of the song, called "Flying." Since the beat was still relevant, I decided to play it for Jeezy again. This time he loved it and recorded two verses and a hook within the hour. When we were coming up feature ideas, I'm like, "J. Cole!" Jeezy gave me the contact info for Cole's manager IB and we made the magic happen. Cole really spent his time on this verse, it took him about a month. We played it 10 times in a row when we got it back because we had never heard Cole lose his mind like this. I told people this was like Nas on "Verbal Intercourse," that's how good this verse is. Kendrick's verse came about after his own tour stop in Atlanta. We sent it over, he sent it back and then we knocked out all the paperwork for clearances.

"Snow Season" 

Produced by Pay Cash

My brother Pay Cash is one of the coldest producers I've had the chance to personally work with in the studio. I've known him since he was 17 so I've always tried throwing my dog an alley-oop when I can. We did this record in LA. The sample is this ambient composer from Lithuania who goes by the name Stellardrone. (I actually listen to very little rap.) Stellardrone put out a snippet of this song called "Northern Lights." I played it 100 times that night and then I called P.C. like, "Yo, I got another 'drone sample for you, it's fucking crazy." He cooked it up sent it over. I played Jeezy some samples before I sent it to P.C. He loved the Stellardrone one so I told P.C. to go in. This record might be a quiet sleeper. We had some very exotic women in the studio that night; they motivated us and they loved the records. 

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