FKi 1st requires little introduction. The Atlanta producer is the man behind hits for damn near everyone whose name is synonymous with chart domination, from Travis Scott and Migos to Post Malone. 1st is best known for producing Malone’s breakout hit, “White Iverson,” but his catalog goes far deeper. His creative imprint is one of setting and molding moods. He brings us into the heart of a track, his production something of a secondary vocalist giving creeping body and tenor to the music. It’s something special when a 1st beat goes into rotation.
FKi 1st does not send beat packs; he builds connections with artists. To date, all of 1st’s biggest records were born in-studio, working and communing with the artists involved. The result has been some of the most iconic songs of this decade.
“Everybody’s always together,” 1st explains. “It just adds that extra layer of it being organic. It’s nothing like sending [beat packs]. When everybody’s together, everybody’s gonna agree with [what’s made]. It’ll just come out more organic. There’s nothing like everybody being together at one time, in the studio.”
Below, you’ll find the stories behind five of FKi 1st’s biggest hits, made in-studio and always with positive energy.
“R.I.P Screw” — Travis Scott feat. Swae Lee
“The beginning of last year, it was like January second or third. It was right after the New Year, I was just cooking up and I was just fresh. I randomly hit Travis like, ‘Let’s link up, it’s time.’ I pulled up on him two days later and we just cooked up and that’s how ‘R.I.P Screw’ was born. That same day we started ‘5% Tint.’ We had a big spurt of energy.
“We collaborated on the beat. It started off with the main loop of the song, and then he turned that shit into a movie! With all the ups and downs, it’s like a roller coaster. It stops for a second, then dips. Everything throws you for a loop.
“I didn’t know Swae Lee was on that track, bruh. I didn’t know until the album came out. I had no idea who that was. I just thought, ‘That shit hard.’ I wasn’t there when Swae recorded his verse, and that was my favorite part.”
“Weekend” — Mac Miller feat. Miguel
“I first met Mac Miller… Diplo introduced us! It was right after ‘White Iverson’ came out. Mac tweeted Post [Malone]. Mac invited me to his house, I pulled up, and we started cooking up. We made, like, three songs that night. That’s what’s crazy. We have three or four unreleased songs. We linked up two, three more times after that. We thought about making a project. He invited me over to his house and we had a good time just kicking it. He was one of the nicest people I’ve met. One of the nicest and most genuine.
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“That song, it wasn’t even really completed at first. We made the whole song to the melody. The—what are they called—fucking marimbas? The bell type percussion, that’s all it was. He just went in, freestyling on that shit. He wrote some of it then freestyled some of it. We just built [the song] piece by piece in the studio. Then he was like, ‘I wanna get Miguel on this song,’ and I didn’t get what he was saying, at first. I was like, ‘I guess, I like Miguel.’ I didn’t really see the whole vision for it, but he added Miguel, and it was an amazing song.”
“Watch Out” — 2 Chainz
“I made that song on my birthday. If you make music, make music on your birthday. That’s when all your energy is good. You gon’ be inspired. My partner who I produce with, [Sauce Lord] Rich, he sent me a piano loop he had just played. It was so short, it was so simple. I loaded up the beat and 2 Chainz doesn’t really listen to beats. He just loads them up and raps on them. He doesn’t listen to the beat before, or whatever. By the time he said, ‘All my n****s balling, all my n****s athletic,’ I knew that shit was gon’ be a hit.
“Shit was a hood classic. The thing that works out most is being in the studio or being somewhere where you can get your ideas out.”
“Notice Me” — Migos feat. Post Malone
“We were in Atlanta. Post [Malone] just had a show. During the show, we wanted [the Migos] to make a surprise intro, because we had just made ‘Congratulations’ with Quavo and everything. What’s crazy, they didn’t make it in time. They were like, ‘Yo, pull up to our house.’ Post had never worked with all three [members]. We pulled up to their house in Atlanta and, fuck, we made three songs that night, too! There are definitely two other Migos and Post songs. We made three that night, and [‘Notice Me’] was one of ‘em.
“We made some smooth, player shit. We didn’t wanna make the same shit that everybody was making. We wanted to have something everybody could fuck with, just a new wave. A new tempo, new BPM, new everything. Post started with a hook. The other two songs, Quavo started on one hook and Offset [on the other]. But Post started this one. Everybody freestyled their verses. And the Migos are amazing, the way they work Pro Tools. I respect that. I found that out, that night. I’m like, ‘Okay, they can do their own shit.’
“It just opened my eyes to the Migos fully. These dudes are so talented, bruh. They know what they wanted. It was a good time. There’s nothing like creating in Atlanta. That’s like the home base, that’s where all the sauce is. It was good we made that song there.”
“Live A Lil” — FKi 1st ft. MadeinTYO & UnoTheActivist
“Good Gas is all about collaborations and linking up with new people. We made [“Live A Lil”] in LA, but everyone’s from Atlanta. When you’re in LA, everybody has a good vibe. Everybody’s turning up because they’re not at home, so, ‘Live A Lil.’ That was the inspiration, being from Atlanta, being in LA, it’s not your home. It was a brand new collaboration. None of us had ever worked [together] before. The piano is so catchy. There’s so much stuff going on. Some old, old country piano. An old lady singing in the back. Just a lot of weird shit.
“Everybody’s always together. It just adds that extra layer of it being organic. It’s nothing like sending [beat packs]. When everybody’s together, everybody’s gonna agree with [what’s made]. It’ll just come out more organic. There’s nothing like everybody being together at one time, in the studio.”