Anthony Jermaine White aka “J. White Did It.” (Photo source: Instagram)
Earlier this week, Cardi B became the first solo female rapper to score a No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in nearly 20 years. The last artist to do so was Lauryn Hill in 1998 with “Doo Wop (That Thing).”
The 32-year-old recently spoke with The Kansas City Star with about his struggle to achieve success and how the track came about. Here’s what we learned from the interview:
1. He’s a veteran producer.
“I started playing around and making beats when I was 16. Then in 2005 I moved to New York, where I started learning how to actually produce records. I stayed there for a year or so and then spent years living in different cities — L.A., Atlanta, Dallas — working as a producer. In that time I did records with a number of artists: Cardi B on her first mixtape, Plies, Pleasure P, LeToya Luckett, Yo Gotti, E-40, Juicy J, Too Short. Everybody but Jay Z (laughter).”
2. He almost quit producing before he made “Bodak Yellow.”
“At the beginning of 2016 I was in a bad place. Everything felt like it was falling down on me. In 2015 my mom was murdered, my relationship with the mother of my kids was bad, I was broke. I wasn’t getting credit on records that I had worked on, the industry wasn’t giving me any chances. I was just wanting to give up on everything — producing, life, all of that. Knowing all of this, one day my cousin tells me to come to New York to clear my head. So I go, and one day my mentor Shaft (a New York entertainment veteran and one half of Cardi B’s management team) invites me to his house, and Cardi was there. Me and her start talking about her music, and eventually she asks me do I have any beats. And you know, I didn’t know too much about her at the time, but I thought, hey, she’s got a following. She’s got a look. She’s very charismatic and crazy (laughter). I was at rock bottom. I had nothing to lose. So I decided I would give her all my best work. I decided that day to put all my eggs in the Cardi B basket. And I guess you can say those eggs cracked (laughter).”
3. He knew that “Bodak Yellow” was going to be big.
“When I was making the beat, I was like, ‘Yo, it’s something special about this track!’ And when we got the song done, I immediately started shopping for a new car (laughter). No but really, our whole team felt the record was going to do something major, but I didn’t know it was going to shake the culture. You always shoot for the stars, but I didn’t know we was gonna get the sun.”