Saturday night in New York City and the last drop of rain had just fallen, leaving a chill in the air, and a vapor in the sky, lit up by Times Square’s neon lights. Fresh off of SXSW, we caught up with producer/rapper Sonny Digital at the legendary Quad Studio’s. The rapper had to lay a few tracks down before his performance to a packed house at Brooklyn venue the Knockdown Center that night, where he headlined the Black Coffee & Flat White show featuring Uniiqu3.
The Atlanta rapper has gained much success since his first production hit “Racks” by YC and Future, to other joints like ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” featuring Drake, Future’s first major single “Same Damn Time”, and 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” featuring Kanye West. Slated as one to be “leading a renaissance of young beat makers”, Sonny had much to discuss as to his switching gears from the production side back to the performance side, working with Black Boe (formerly Quez of Travis Porter) on their joint project Black GOAT, his record label Rolling Records, and more.
Upon the studio doors opening, a continuous vapor slapped and engulfed the room. Snacks all over the place, as I was duly warned to help myself but to be careful as to the pre-packaged ingredients. And before heading over to the performance venue, Sonny would join in for a quick chat for a few.
After getting into music and making beats at a pretty young age, the circles of which Sonny found himself intertwined with would only push him to take it seriously. Following the success of “Racks On Racks (2011)”, Sonny explained that it kind of nudged him into the business head first and urged everyone around him to take it seriously too. “The track was just organic, everybody was just working and it just came together, nobody really knew each other at the time, the stars aligned. I was 17 or 18 around that time.”
With the help of his cousin, he taught himself how to make his own beats, and once his understanding of how to use the programs were up to par, he said, he started to take what he learned from his fam and just applied it.
“I started making my own sh–.”
Through his profession as a new hot producer, his name began to circulate within the industry, gaining on his bank account and clout, he never actually stopped rapping. It was only a matter of time he would come out.
“A lot of the work I was doing was cool but I was aiming for something bigger.”
And now stepping back from behind the board to the mic after dropping his GOAT project last year to his most recent joint project with Black Boe (formerly known as Quez from group Travis Porter); not really preferring one role or the other, Sonny explained the differences between rapping and making beats for him, isn’t really a difference at all. “When I rap, I’m not rapping I’m just using my voice as an instrument and putting some words on top of it that might sound good.
I’m a producer, not a beatmaker, not a rapper, I’m a producer.”
As to what led him to joint project with Black Boe, while working on their own solo projects, Sonny and Boe would find themselves freestyling over beats to the point of having more songs together than of their own stuff. And even upon the completion of their respective projects, they agreed that the playful joints were worth making something of, bringing them to the creation of Black GOAT. “So I said, we gotta use some of it because we had put out that “My Guy” song and it started going crazy so we decided to put the project out;” dropping the mixtape on Sonny’s 26th birthday (Mar 5th).
Not to mention his talked-about Screaming Dreams project with Two9 member Key! that Sonny wasn’t able to elaborate on a release as he says they are both super busy with other things going on at the moment, but being brothers for life, if it happens, it happens.
With planned business ventures here and there, his label Rolling Records in particular, Sonny talked about not having himself signed as he wants the label to focus on building others. “ I can actually do stuff with sh– that I believe in and take it up through there with funds. So I’m about to really take my knowledge of what I know is good and really just make it to a monster label.” He’s a business man, he says, “I don’t see the point in being signed to my own sh–.”
As for the rest of 2017, Sonny is here to tell you that he will never stop producing, “I always got records coming out.” Producing on Jidenna’s latest album, and more stuff with new artists like Tee Grizzley, and other mainstream artists like MGK, G-Easy, he has work everywhere.
“Me being a producer is kind of like me breathing, sh– is so easy for me to get a placement, I know that I know how to make good beats along with me having my name to my brand.”
Needing a bit more of a challenge, Sonny explained producing became a bit too easy for him to just have one job. And with plans of doing a possible solo album his next go-round, he just wants people to sit back and stay in tuned.
But in the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out Sonny Digital and Black Boe’s joint project, The Black Goat down below.