[“Star Status Freestyle”] was actually on the mixtape. That dropped like this when Gucci started going mixtape crazy. Yeah, this was on Guapaholics... We did that song at the same time as we did all the songs on No Pad, No Pencil. It was the same time, we just didn’t put it on. We ended up not putting it on No Pad, No Pencil, but that song right there, that’s where Mike Will Made-It came from.
I’m telling you how that whole day went: I came to the studio and I played some beats. He got on the first beat. He said, “Hey man, let’s go to the lounge and let’s listen to it right quick, man.” And then, boom. He’ll go in there and smoke, like, five blunts. He’ll listen to what he just did – he just freestyled on one beat. Boom. We’ll listen to what he just did. And he’s like, “Pull up the next, Mike Will.” Boom. By the time he finished the last blunt, boom, he’s back in there. He doesn’t even want to hear the beat. He goes straight in and freestyles on the next one. “Hey, let’s go listen to it right quick.” Then, boom, same thing.
On [“Star Status”], he shout me out all through the intro. I’m in a room, I’m only like 16, 17. No, I’m only like 17, 18 at the time. I’m just like, “Damn, this man Gucci in here just shout me out, bro!” Like, “Mike Will on this beat right there, buddy. Straight celebrity baby. I shout him out every time.” That’s how he comes in his verse. Then in his verse he says, “Mike Will Made It / Gucci Mane slayed it / Star status nigga, everybody upgrade it.” I’m like, “Damn bro, this man just shout me out, that’s hard.”
I never knew what we were going to do with any of these songs. I was just riding around with me and my homeboys. This was just our theme music that we were riding around to. I never knew it was going to come out. Then when it came out on Guapaholics mixtape, after that everybody in the streets was just running up to me like, “Yo, Mike Will Made-It.” Before then, it was just Mike Will. Then after that, it was like, Mike Will Made-It, Mike Will Made-It, Mike Will Made-It, Mike Will Made-It. I was just like, “Alright, well, shit, I’m going to run with Mike Will Made-It,” you know what I’m saying?
I was working with my homegirl, my sister Heysha, and she’s a song writer, artist and whatnot. We were just in the studio one night and she just had a dope voice. I was like, “Heysha, man, can you please? I need a tag or something.” I got all these songs out with Gucci, with OJ da Juiceman, with Shawty Lo, with Soulja Boy, you know what I’m saying? With 2 Chainz, all these people, but nobody knows how to point it back to me, they don’t know who’s doing it.
At this time I was a young kid just trying to get in the game. Shawty Redd, Fatboi, KO... All those producers were running the game, you know what I’m saying? Zaytoven... All them were running the game, so it was like nobody really knew, “OK, Mike Will’s making those beats.” I was like, “OK man, I need to find a way for people to go back and [be like] this song is coming from him and this song is coming from him.” Just like I knew every song that was coming from Shawty Redd, or Fatboi, Zaytoven.
I was the youngest of them all, so I was like, “Yo Heysha, man, can you just say Mike Will Made-It?” I was like, “No, more whisper. No, no, like this. Oh, that might be it.” Then we put hella effects on it, and then I just held it, because I never liked it. At first, it was like, “Mike Will Made-It,” and it just sounded like a McDonald’s commercial. I just held it for so long. Then I pulled it back up one day. I was in the basement with one of my homeboys. I pulled it back up and I was like, “Man, I need a tag. Heysha did this.” We listened back to it, and I just kept throwing effects on it. Then I put the verify on the “Made-It” part, so it was like, “Mike Will Made-It.” I was like, “Yo, this shit sounds hard.” Then I found my pocket, and that was it ever since.
What was the first beat that you put that drop on, if you can remember that?
Probably some real hood shit. [laughs] Probably a beat that I made a thousand bucks for that never left the neighborhood. As far as some shit that’s been heard, it was probably 2 Chainz or Future.
Watch Mike WiLL Made-It’s full lecture from RBMA Montréal here.
It was around that time. No, 2 Chainz was first. Was it on “Kill the Parking Lot?” No, that was still another tag. No, it was 2 Chainz for sure. I think it was “24/7/365,” or it was “Going Through It” by 2 Chainz. That was the first time. It was on “Going Through It” by 2 Chainz. That’s when I met Esco at Magic City. I told Esco, “Yo, I’m about to go hard on this production. I’m about to go on the run. I’m about to just link up with everybody. I’ve got a new sound, I’ve got a production team, I’ve got my business together. I’m about to go hard, bro. I just need you to break these records.” He was like, “Man, I’m with it as long as you work with my artist.” I was like, “Who’s your artist?” He was like, “Future.” I was like, “Man, who is Future? What song does he have right now?” Then he was like, “Man, he’s got that ‘Mexico Lingo’ and he’s got that ‘Watch This.’” I was like, “Man, easy call. ‘Watch This,’ that’s my favorite song. I was trying to figure out who sang the song anyway.”
At that time, “Watch This” and “Mexico Lingo” were going dumb in the strip club, and I was in the strip club every night.
The strip club culture in Atlanta is really big to the music culture, like Magic City.
Yeah, definitely. If your song go in the strip club and go in the teen club... It’s like night and day. If it’s the strip club and the teen club, if it goes in those two places, the song is gone. That’s just always how Atlanta went. I was 20, 21 at the time, 22, so I was right there at the cusp. I could still go to the teen club and be the big homie and then I’d go to the strip club and be the young kid that might not have an ID that can get in, or just a young kid that was just in there. I was going to both and just rocking with the DJs.
I went to the strip club, talked to Esco, and then Esco wanted me to work with Future and I was like, “Oh yeah, that’s an easy call. That that’s my favorite song right now, period. There’s nothing fucking with that. That dude is going to be the shit.”
We got in the studio, I put my tag on “Dirty Sprite,” but Esco already knew who I was because Esco was like, “You made that ‘Going Through It’ with 2 Chainz.” He had heard the tag. That’s when everything started making sense.
This excerpt has been edited and condensed for clarity.