You know a Sonny Digital record when you hear one. Not only only does the Atlanta born producer have a distinct producer tag, but the instrumentation used in his beats along with the heavy hitting bass sets allows is production to be dubbed “masterpiece.” You’ve heard his production on your favorite 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, Future, Kanye West and more and also holds placement bBillboard Hot 100 charting records.
Recently I had the pleasure of catching up him to talk about what he admires about Charlotte, how he started producing, who his top 5 producers are (including Mike Dean) , the current state of Hip-Hop, why he’s enjoying rapping over producing these days, the rising artists out of Atlanta we should pay attention to going into 2018 (from Reese La Flare and Black Boe to Young Nudy, Pierre Bourne) and more. Read our full interview below to check out the insightful conversation that went down backstage of his concert:
J: Hey Sonny ! How are you doing today ?
Sonny: I’m goood, how you doing ?
J: I’m great ! You’re performing in Charlotte tonight, but what’s been your relationship with Charlotte before even coming here tonight? What’s the vibe ?
Sonny: Well first of all, Charlotte got a lot of good looking girls and Charlotte and then along time ago when we were coming up, we used to come here in North Carolina, then South Carolina. It’s been going on for a minute but if you had a poppin’ song that was coming out the city, it was one of those cities that could book you and pick you up before the major cities did. Basically you’ll know if you got something if you can make it here.
J; When it comes to producing in the industry, what do you feel could be better improved ? I know I’ve seen your tweets earlier this year about how the industry somewhat takes producers for granted so what do you think can be done to kind of shift that narrative a little bit? I know you’ve also mentioned the producers union
Sonny: I really can’t go into depth with that because it’s all been in the conversation. It hasn’t even became real real yet, that what we’re telling everybody. It has been a conversation that needs to be talked about though. I was just telling people that I don’t think it’s going to go down in my lifetime . It’s just a conversation that I can put out there to notify the problem and let ya’ll know that there is something wrong with this sh*t but that’s a step though. A lot of people would get blackballed for some sh*t like that but me even speaking about it is a big step.
J: Yeah because we don’t have any award shows that kinda pat you guys on the back like you and Metro
Sonny: It’s a lot of things that can be fixed but the first thing is acknowledging the problem. Even though it looks good from the outside, there is something wrong inside this sh*t
J: For sure . So you’ve been producing for awhile and I know that you got your start using Fruity Loops. When did you realize that you had a niche for producing ? Or do you even think that this is just your thing ?
Sonny: Nah I remember I was in the sixth grade , making beats, and I gave my homie some sh*t to just listen to and he took it around and let everybody listen. He said “oh this is kind of good” and I’m like nah “it’s good like I thought it was”. That when I knew I had a little talent. Then I went t Michigan and back then it was popular to take the acapella and make your own beat around it . I went out there and I did the “What You Know About That” song and I remade the beat to that and I just kept on going.
J: So we could name a lot of people that you’ve worked with from Gucci to even Black Boe who’s on tour with you right now. Just considering your career up until this point, what artists have you enjoyed working with the most ?
Sonny: Not none of the major artists to be honest . I like working with the rising just cause they got a sense of humbleness to them. It’s easier to work with them and bounce my ideas off of them
J: when do you think the artists lose that humility ? Is it when the Sound Cloud gets poppin’ or ?
Sonny: Basically when all of the sh*t gets popping, sh*t switch up but it makes sense. You get a lot of money and you spend a lot of money. Your gonna do sh*t different but sh*t gon’ change.
J: Speaking of producing and rapping, who will you be working with in 2018? Can you give us a feel since we’re getting close to that time
Sonny: I move better when it’s just me and my squad. I’m really not interested in working with nobody because I’ve already did it on the producer end and I already know them so why would I want to go back to woot woot ? I’ll be working with my artists and people I f*ck with like Black Boe and pumping them up and putting them in positions.
J: Who on a producer spectrum would you say you have the most chemistry with ? A lot of people would probably assume Metro.
Sonny: I f*ck with whoever f*ck with me. Metro and them are like classmates to me . I want to hang out with the gurus now that I’m able to. I wouldn’t even classify me and Metro in the same class because I came in a misty class that floated over into the new class. I was like the exchange student so I f*ck with my OG’s heavy .
J: So I know you not only produce but you rap as well. Is there a difference between those two creative processes?
Sonny: Yeah they’re way different
J: What’s harder for you? What do you find most challenging?
Sonny: Making beats. Even just thinking about it is harder than rap. it’s not that it’s even hard , it just takes a little more because you got to come up with sounds. You talk everyday, it’s kind of close to rapping if you just put some rhythm on it.
J: Do you love one more than the other?
Sonny: I probably like rapping more . I’ve been liking rap more.
J: So everyone in Atlanta seems like they have this natural bond and support of one another . Are there any artists that we should pay close attention to in 2018?
Sonny: I can guarantee Black Boe is going to blow up, Reese La Flare is tight as f*ck, I think he’s going to do good in 2018. Young Gunz is a new kid from Atlanta. It’s a lot of people like Young Nudy, and Pierre (Pierre Bourne) I like him a lot.
J:So overall what can we expect from Sonny Digital in 2018?
Sonny: I’m not really producing for none of these n*ggas. That’s not my sh*t and that’s a lane taken up. I’ve gotten everything that I’ve could out the producer game. All I can do is do something that nobody is doing right now which is speak up for them because know what’s going on.
J: Well before we leave out, who are your top 5 producers of all time?
Sonny: Shawty Redd, Drumma Boy, my boy D Rich, B Wheezy, Mike Dean crazy too. Just did a song with him and Dice (Dice Soho).
J: How can we still keep you in the producer game ? We still deem you as important
Sonny: Yall can consider me whatever yall want to but you got to understand that it’s a whole new wave.
J: Well thank you for being here and that your love for producing doesn’t fade. Be on the look out for what he has coming next in 2018.
For the full interview, be sure to check out the whole interview here via Everything Boisterous.