Boi-1da Talks Producing, Dancehall, Drake, and More

Boi-1da inside his home studio. (Photo credit: Renée Rodenkirchen for

Heavyweight music producer Boi-1da was recently featured on Pensado’s Place, a YouTube talk show about music production.

The Jamican born, Toronto raised hitmaker is best known for being one of Drake’s in-house producers. Among his biggest productions are Drizzy’s “Best I Ever Had,” Eminem’s “Not Afraid,” and Rihanna’s “Work.” Some of his latest projects include G-Eazy’s “No Limit,” Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker the Berry,” and Drake’s “Controlla.”

Boi-1da discussed a variety of topics with hosts Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick, including how he got his start, dancehall’s influence on him, his production process, working with Dr. Dre and Drake, and more.

What he learned while working with Dr. Dre.:

“He’s just meticulous with the detail. Everything has to be said a certain way and it’s not going to stop until it’s perfect. He just keeps going … It’s almost crazy but it’s Dr. Dre. This is his process so I wasn’t even going to question it.”

His inspiration for producing “Controlla”:

“That beat came about from just being inspired by dancehall music. I was having a conversation with a bunch of producers that I work with. I was telling them I really miss dancehall and what it used to do to me when I was a kid when my dad used to drive around with me and play dancehall music in his car. And new Sean Paul songs would come out and Beenie Man. I used to love them. Those are some of my favorite artists. So I really missed that feeling and the feeling of people dancing in the club, you know, because people don’t dance anymore. Songs like that and ‘Work’ kinda brought back people, women gyrating in the club.”

On how Drake influenced his approach to beat making:

“I look at it like a painting. As a producer/beat-maker, you have to create the canvas for the artist to paint a picture on. If there’s too much on the canvas, there’s not really any room for an artist to paint his picture. It has to be like a half and half thing … I learned that from working with Drake. He’s always subtracting something.”

Watch the full interview below (it begins at the 19:00 mark).

Here’s a breakdown of the topics:

– How living in Canada has influenced him (19:30)
– Winning beat battles and getting discovered at 17 (21:45)
– How Dancehall music influenced him (23:00)
– His thoughts on Trap music (25:53)
– Thoughts on EDM (26:58)
– His go-to collaborators (27:23)
– His production process (28:25)
– Producing “Pound Cake” for Drake (29:50)
– Working with Dr. Dre (30:53)
– Working on “Blacker the Berry” (32:30)
– The people that mix his records (34:00)
– The making of “Controlla” (35:41)
– His preferred 808 (37:17)
– His go-to plugins (38:05)
– Working in Fruity Loops (39:30)
– How often he makes beats (40:03)
– When he knows he’s done (42:20)
– Quantizing beats (44:00)
– Focusing on detail (45:37)
– His preferred picks for a super song (46:15)
– Working on the Lana del Rey album (47:07)
– One word answer game (48:25)
– Advice for young producers (50:00)
– Overcoming self-doubt (53:35)

Related: Drake Talks Meek Mill, Kanye, and Dr. Dre in Interview With DJ Semtex