London On Da Track
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In August, Atlanta hip-hop producer London Holmes, a.k.a. London On Da Track, signed to RCA Records as an artist. He became the latest hip-hop producer to sign with a major label as an artist, joining the ranks of DJ Khaled, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Metro Boomin.
London, who’s 26, has been on the scene since 2011. His breakout came in 2014 when he produced a string of anthems: Tyga‘s “Hookah” featuring Young Thug, T.I.‘s “About the Money” featuring Young Thug, and Rich Gang‘s “Lifestyle” featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan. All three charted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 85, 42, and 16, respectively.
In 2015 and 2016, London produced two more Billboard Hot 100 singles: Young Thug’s “Check” and Drake‘s “Sneakin‘” featuring 21 Savage. In 2017, when he announced his signing to RCA, London dropped his debut single “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset. The track, which marked London’s first collab with Nicki and Offset, became one of DJcity’s most downloaded songs of September.
London has also been performing live, in which he both DJs and raps. He played at the Hard Summer festival in August and kicked off his “No Flag” tour in September. His next stop is at Los Angeles’ influential Control party at Avalon on Friday (Oct. 27).
We spoke with London about his transition from producer to artist and asked him a couple questions about DJing.
In a recent interview with Billboard, you said that you signed with RCA because they believe in your vision. What is it?
My vision is to put together dope collaborations and show my versatility as a producer and artist. I don’t want people to think I can only do hip-hop or work with a certain type of artist. RCA believed in my vision to take it to the next level, so that’s what we’re doing!
What are the challenges of transitioning from producer to artist?
I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but now having full creative control is something different that I’m not used to. Sometimes as a producer, I’m not sure if a record will ever be used, but when I’m the artist, I can sign off on the vocals, artwork, the entire vision to make sure it’s what I want it to be.
Has your background as a producer influenced you as a DJ?
Definitely. I think it helps with blending the sounds and the transitions when I’m DJing.
Has DJing changed the way you produce?
I’ve only been DJing for a few months and this is my first club tour as a DJ, so I’m taking it all in and finding different ways to get the crowd hyped.
You DJ and rap during your performances. How do you balance the two?
It’s all about reading the crowd. If they are vibing with something, I’ll keep it in one lane and then transition to something else. I usually start by playing some of the hip-hop tracks I’ve produced and then transition to EDM just to change it up. My set has a lot of different moods to it, so it’s really where the crowd takes it.
I really like using Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-2000NXS2 with Serato DJ. It helps me stay creative and able to have my entire library of music with me at all times. There are times when I have to DJ with no laptop; my next choice would be rekordbox.
Do you take a different approach when you play for dance and electronic crowds?
I try to play a little bit of something for everyone. I have to play some of my classics like “About the Money” or “Lifestyle” to remind people what I’ve done, but I also try to mix it with what’s hot and current. Whenever I play my new single, “No Flag” featuring Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, and Offset, it goes off! I love seeing that. My goal is always to keep the energy up and make sure everyone in the club has a good time. The vision is always the same: give them one hell of a show. But dance and EDM crowds are explosive, fun and unpredictable. They give an incredible energy.
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London begins by discussing why he chose to work with Nicki, 21, and Offset, and explains what inspired the track’s dark undertones. He then breaks down the song in Ableton, including a bass layer that he says sounds “like somebody hunting you down with a knife.”
An Atlanta native, London has risen to prominence in recent years by producing anthems like Tyga‘s “Hookah,” T.I.‘s “About the Money,” and Rich Gang‘s “Lifestyle,” and most recently Drake‘s “Sneakin’.” In August, the 26-year-old signed with RCA Records as part of his transition from producer to artist.
Watch him on Deconstructed above.
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Rising hip-hop producer, London on Da Track, has been featured on Mass Appeal’s Rhythm Roulette series. The series challenges producers to make a beat by sampling three randomly selected vinyl records.
The Atlanta native is best known for producing singles like Drake‘s “Sneakin’” featuring 21 Savage; Rich Gang‘s “Lifestyle” featuring Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan; T.I.‘s “About the Money” featuring Young Thug; and Tyga‘s “Hookah” featuring Young Thug.
On this episode of Rhythm Roulette, London stops by New York City’s A1 Records and picks up the following records: Phyllis Hyman’s soul album Living All Alone, Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s jazz album Blacknuss, and a single from Jesse Saunders’ house album Chicago Reunion.