Whether you love or hate her, Nicki Minaj is one of the hottest topics in the country right now. From her beef with Travis Scott and Cardi B to her fourth studio album, Queen, the “Barbie Dreams” rapper has had the nation talking for months.
Yesterday, we sat down with J. Reid, the upcoming producer who delivered five of Nicki’s hottest tracks this year. Queen cuts “Chun-Li,” “Rich Sex” featuring Lil Wayne, “Thought I Knew You” featuring The Weeknd, and “Ganja Burns” were all produced by Reid, not to mention “Barbie Tingz,” which Nicki placed on the exclusive Target edition of her album.
The Atlanta native, who’s also worked with Lloyd and Rick Ross, talks life before linking with Ms. Minaj, as well as what he says are misconceptions about the NY superstar. He also dishes on his work with the ever so talented Bahja Rodriguez (formerly of OMG Girlz) and more.
On finding out Nicki Minaj wanted to work with him
“Really, I’ma be honest, I didn’t even believe it,” he began. “Brinx [Billions] from NY was like ‘Yo she loves the song! Send me the beat for the song!” Brinx was referring to what would later become “Rich Sex.”
“I was timid,” Reid said of Brinx reaching out. “I was like ‘hm, I don’t know…I know he knows Nicki Minaj but I don’t know.’ I just had to trust him and I finally sent the beat and I went down there and met her in, like, December of last year. It was incredible.” Touching on the fact that he can now add The Weeknd to his long list of collaborations, thanks to his work with Minaj, Reid said “That’s the beauty of it because I didn’t walk into it expecting anything. I was just working…head down, working.”
On what life was like before working on Queen
“Life before all of this happened…I was working with a lot of independent artists. I was recording sessions to make bread. I was doing a lot of engineering work…mixing, mastering. I was making beats, of course, but it wasn’t a consistent thing where I was working with a whole bunch of bigger artists. I took time to just focus on indie artists and indie music because now a days, the indies are winning. Those are the artists getting the most notoriety and coming up fast because they don’t have no control over them. So that’s what I was doing. I actually had Lloyd and Lil Wayne on a record… “Holding,” off of Lloyd’s new album. I was working on Rick Ross, Lloyd, and Wayne right before all this Nicki stuff popped off, so things were heating up.”
On producing Bahja Rodriguez’s next album and her post-OMG Girlz sound
“I say her sound is pop and R&B but with a trap edge—that’s the kind of producer I am. I’m a down south producer, so I’m bringing a lot of different elements together to create her sound. But Bahja can do anything—she has one of those voices that’s effortless. She does all kinds of music…ballads, the energetic trap songs,” he said of the singer, adding that she really can’t be boxed into any one specific genre.
On other projects he’s currently working on
“Working on Sevyn Streeter. [YFN] Lucci, got some stuff with him. I got a record with Lil Baby that just kind of came out. I got a lot of stuff in the works. Commercials, I’m trying to do a couple video game placements, movies…”
On artists he’s still hoping to work with
“One of my hometown favorites, Future. He has a video on Instagram and he’s listening to ‘Rich Sex’ getting on a private jet, which is crazy, like ‘Yea he’s listening to my song!’ He’s vibing to it,” Reid said with excitement. “So, in the near future I’m sure we can probably get a record out.” Later, he mentions Pharrell as another artist he’d love to work with.
On Nicki Minaj not being what tabloids make her out to be
Referring to people believing everything the media says about Minaj, he told us “You have to careful what you regurgitate because at the end of the day, she put me in this position.” Reid says Nicki has had trust in him and allowed him to simply do his thing, adding “I look at it and laugh. She’s nothing like what they say…she’s a positive person, she’s about her business, and she’s worried about the stuff that she got going on.”