MANCHESTER, GB Ė British producer†Menace managed to become a Grammy Award-nominated producer f a $200 ďMeek Mill-Ace Hood type beatĒ at†just 21 years old. It was a serendipitous transaction that turned into ďPanda,Ē the breakout hit single for G.O.O.D. Music artist Desiigner, which†later evolved into Kanye Westís ďFather Stretch My Hands Pt. 2Ē f†The Life Of Pablo. This uncommon feat happened within a time span just two years.
The now 24-year-old producer was previously toiling over broken iPhones as a mobile technician (while also studying law) before making his big break. Menace had†been making money online selling beats, but once ďPandaĒ took over, he had a lot to learn in a short amount time Ö And he had to learn it quickly.
At the height ďPandaĒ and The Life Pabloís popularity in 2016, Menace had to sit back as U.S. Immigration delved into every aspect his life because his government name, Adnan Khan, while opportunities to attend the BET Awards and Grammys slipped away.†He also dealt with the fallout some industry drama, specifically drawing the ire Mike Dean.
Thatís all over now though, and Menace is looking toward the great things he has coming in 2018. Among them, records with Drake, Kevin Gates, Travis Scott and Blac Youngsta†appear to be†on the horizon.
Speaking on the phone from across the pond, Menace shared with HipHopDX everything heís been working on and his†#DXHitList Sessions†playlist.†He explains†the stories behind some the songs heís produced†mixed with a few his favorite tunes, some which inspired him.
ĒPandaĒ†ó†Desiigner ó††I had just come home from work and I was just really tired, you know Ö frustrated. I had my boss yelling at me, telling me I was slacking at work. I was really tired that day. I came home and wanted to make music. Making music to me is like stress-relief. Then I just came out with ďPanda.Ē
ďFather Stretch My Hands Pt. 2Ē ó Kanye West ó Itís just ďPandaĒ part two. Itís Kanyeís version ďPanda.Ē He really took it to the next level. ďPandaĒ was great but he really took it to another level. He gives it a slight edge, like adding the meat to the potatoes.
ďThrough The WireĒ ó†Kanye West ó† I remember that one when I was a small kid. It was one those songs I would listen to when I was going to school. Like how he had the accident and had the jaw surgery. Kanye at that time was the new thing out. He was my go-to. This record really has a special place in my heart.
ďLove 2 The GameĒ ó Nines ó†Something I produced. Heís on his way to blowing up. Tory Lanez was just in his neighborhood a couple months ago. Heís one the biggest artists in the U.K right now. It was on his album and was #4 on the Top U.K. albums chart and was #1 on the R&B chart.
ďFaceTime for 30Ē ó NO1-NOAH ó†Heís pretty dope right now and picking up pace. He reminds me The Weeknd. He basically makes mood music for like when you get in the car and driving at night. Chilled out music. Not heavy on production at all.
ďStudioĒ ó†ScHoolboy Q ó Itís about the vibes. Talking about the studio, chilling Ö making music. Whenever I would go to the studio, I would just play that a lot. It sets the mood.
ďGoosebumpsĒ ó†Travis Scott ó I love the production. I think heís the next Kanye. Heís this eraís Kanye.
ďNo Hearts, No LoveĒ ó†Big Sean ó† I love the sample that Metro Boomin used. Itís the old school fused with the new school.
ďIma BossĒ ó Meek Mill f. Rick Ross ó†That was my college-day music. It really pumps me up. That record is a burst energy. Meek Mill was the best at that time.
ďMotorSportĒ ó Migos f. Nicki Minaj & Cardi B ó†I love playing this record in the car with my friends.
Overcoming†Adversity Following ďPandaĒ Popularity
How has life been after ďPanda?Ē
I donít need a 9-5 job like how I was doing before. I wonít say itís more different†than the life I was living before because it wasnít like I wasnít making money f music everyday anyway. I donít need to work for anyone now. Iím my own boss. Because my deal with Stellar Songs], itís made me financially stable.
Speaking with us last year, you revealed that you had some issues getting into the States. Is that still an issue for you?
No, not anymore. But it was a long time before they granted me the visa to enter the U.S. Apparently, my name came up as red flag in their systems, and they had to do a full background check. They had to do these certain types security checks on me to see if I was the real deal. Khan is a common name for terrorists, so thatís what it was. They had to do everything and search my background and what I do for a living. In the petition, they had a thick booklet with everything about ďPandaĒ and pro that I was a producer so I can come to the U.S. and work.
Howíd going through all that make you feel?
I was expecting it because I knew with Donald Trump being president and his immigration laws Ö The only problem is that it clashed with many my events, like the Grammys and the BET Awards in 2016. I couldnít attend them and I couldnít do much about it.
Clearing The Air With Kanye West & Mike Dean
I remember when you called out Future, Kanye West and Mike Dean†in an interview†and then later apologized for it.
That was out context. I was fairly new to the game and I didnít know the rules the game and I cannot say certain things, you know?
What was your whole beef with that situation?
You know what it was? I was having an f-topic conversation with a journalist about it], which was the worst thing anyway. But everything is okay now. I did apologize for it. I knew I should have not said that because I knew that it would come back, haunting me in one form or another. I donít know how it works. I donít know what to say. But now, Iíve been in the industry for nearly two years, Iíve matured quite a bit. I know who to speak to and what not to say.
With all that in the past, do you expect to work with Kanye in the future?
Definitely. He is one my biggest inspirations since the days he was producing for himself and JAY-Z. So I really look up to him and his production, especially his album 808s and Heartbreak. That was really light years ahead anything that was coming out during that period.
I agree. Most people love My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but 808s is definitely one my all-time favorite Kanye West projects because it was so different for the time.
So, different! Now all the artists want to do something on that type level. He was really light years ahead any artists with that album.
Creating New Music With Kevin Gates, Drake & Travis Scott
The big question I think everyone wants to know at this point is what are you working on now?
Iíve got so many things right now! Blac Youngsta just got signed to Epic Records, and his album is about to be released very soon. I got an ficial placement on that with Young Thug. Last year, I was in the studio with ScHoolboy Q. On my second visit to the States], I came straight f the airplane and] one my friends said Q wants to see you, so I went straight to Interscope. I was told he was using one my beats, but weíll see. Also, with APG, Iíve sent in beats for Kevin Gates]. He just got released from prison. They really like my production and they took some my beats for Kevin. Iíve been sending production to Sickamore and Travis Scottís A&R for his upcoming Astroworld album.
How recently did you get beats to Kevin?
It was just a couple days ago. I sent a bunch beats, like 10, and his manager picked about two beats. I obviously have yet to hear back about whatís going to happen, but it looks promising. Theyíre really loving the production. Drake as well. Itís Drake season, you know? He normally drops albums around this time the year. Iím in contact with Oliver El-Khatib] right now and weíre speaking, so heís taken beats f me. Itís whatever hits. With Drake, itís like you will only hear it on the album, thatís when you find out he used your production. He is the biggest right now in the industry.
I think the way Drakeís album-making process is unique, and I hear that from a lot producers. He doesnít want any leaks coming out.
Yes! Once the album is out thatís when youíll know if you have placement with it. Iím working with a lot people, but f the top my head, those are the main ones. Now, Iím just waiting.