Sample clearance issues are not always net negatives. Case in point, the new ScHoolboy Q single, "Numb Numb Juice," which is the result of an uncleared sample leading to a menacing, chandelier shattering beat by Ear Drummers-signed producer DJ Fu.
“This song is crazy because, originally, it was done by Sounwave, Baby Keem, and Cardo,” Fu tells me over the phone. “It was a sample, so they couldn’t clear it. Top’s son came to the studio like ‘Hey, Fu, can you build a new beat around this?’ I did it, and then Top and them loved it, but then Q’s like, ‘Nah, Fu, I know you can do better.’ So I came to the studio and we re-did the main melody and fixed it right there.”
As for Q’s upcoming album, DJ Fu could not share much, but what he will say is that this is “ScHoolboy 2.0.”
“He’s really tapping into some personal shit, and he’s giving you vibes,” Fu says. “He’s transformed. I honestly think that he’s gonna get Album of the Year. That song, that’s the teaser. Wait until you hear the other songs that they got. Be prepared.”
Oh, we’re ready.
Our full interview with DJ Fu, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below.
How did you link up with ScHoolboy Q?
I linked up with ScHoolboy Q a couple years ago through Mike Will [Made-It]. Mike Will had brought me to the studio and he was working on the album, and Mike Will actually fell asleep and I was the only producer with him. So ScHoolboy told me to play beats, I played beats, and then we just became cool homies.
What do you think it is about your style that Q gravitated towards?
I think it’s because when we’re working, I give him what he wants. He’s very particular with what kind of bounce he wants and what type of sound he wants. We’ll go through the sounds and go through everything until we get it right. It’s a process, and I think that our process is pretty dope. Our chemistry in the studio is pretty dope.
How hands-on was he with the process of finishing the song?
This song is crazy because, originally, it was done by Sounwave, Baby Keem, and Cardo. It was a sample, so they couldn’t clear it. Top’s son came to the studio like “Hey, Fu, can you build a new beat around this?” I did it, and then Top and them loved it, but then Q’s like, “Nah, Fu, I know you can do better.” So I came to the studio and we re-did the main melody and fixed it right there.
When was the song actually done?
Months, months [ago]. They just couldn’t clear the sample. So I got the phone call.
Walk me through the process of you making the original track.
I was in the studio with one of the guys that I used to work with, Beat Butcha. We was just making samples and Moosa [Tiffith] had hit me up like “I got the a capella for the single, but we can’t clear the sample, can you re-do it?” Fifteen other producers had a chance to do it, so they played through all the producers and mine was the best one. Q was like, “Hey man, I’m ‘bout to have another studio session. Can you come wrap this up? Can you make another melody and change it and make it better.” I went to the studio, sat there for 10 hours, and got it right.
You accomplish a lot in under two minutes. Were you thinking about that while making the cut?
No, I was just thinking about making the best possible song. Mike taught us “Yo, don’t go in the studio and try to do something, just make the best possible thing you can get. What comes to your heart.” I’m just gonna do my best.
Now that people have the track, are there any small details you hope they pick up on?
I hope they hear the guitar loop in the middle of the song and the bells. I hope they pick up on the fact that there’s a reason why it’s so short. And they’ll find out once the video drops. [Editor's Note: The video is out now.]
Any other exciting collaborations in the pipeline? Any other Q placements?
Yup. I’m on this album again, but I can’t tell you what it is.
Anything you can share about the album?
It’s fucking amazing. He’s really tapping into some personal shit, and he’s giving you vibes. I always tell him it’s ScHoolboy 2.0. He’s transformed. I honestly think that he’s gonna get Album of the Year. That song, that’s the teaser. Wait until you hear the other songs that they got. Be prepared.
Editor's Note: Per request, we have removed the name of the uncleared sample, which appeared in a previous version of this article.