Meet Pop Wansel: The Most Important Producer You (Maybe) Haven’t Heard Of
The whole reason we started this Behind The Boards series is to give producers some time in the sun. After all, although, they are responsible for some of our favorite beats, yet rarely get all the glory that comes with a successful single or album.
One great example of this unappreciated producer epidemic plaguing hip-hop is the case of Andrew "Pop" Wansel. Considering he has produced songs for some of the biggest names in the business(Nicki Minaj, Usher, Trey Songz, Kanye...no big deal) you would think Pop would be a household name, but not in this day and age. Well, here at the DJBooth we do things differently, so I chatted with Pop about all things producer (and Pop) related. The final product is coming later this week, but I wanted to give you a sample of the interview so you could get caught up on the man's impressive work.
The whole time we were talking, all I could think of is, "Why isn't this guy just as famous?!" Admittedly, a few times I had to shake myself out of focusing on his resume, I mean the man worked with Kanye, who just happens to be my favorite artist ever, so how could I not be a little nervous? Of course, any nerves I had were washed away by Pop's approach. He was funny, interested in the interview, and above all else, passionate about the music and it shows. I'm really glad I didn't have a fanboy breakdown because Pop has a perspective different from any of the producers I have even thought about interviewing. Okay...different how?
Well, where Statik and !llmind work with independent artists, Pop works with major label artist. So much of what I listen to and focus on comes from the independent side of things, so to get insight into what the major label process is like was really fascinating. I was actually really surprised at some of the ways in which Pop said the process works at that level. I think we get this idea that at the highest level, there is so much less personal relationships, and so much more label red tape; at least that's what I thought. If you had told me that it's just a matter of sending a text or e-mail to Nicki Minaj, I'm not sure I would have believed you. But I do believe Pop. I asked him about just that, and this was his response,
"Some of these super big projects are super political. It's not one through an A&R, it's not done through the label or the manager. You gotta know somebody who knows that person for real. Know somebody that works with that person everyday and can put the beats in their hands...For me, I've gained the right relationships and I know the right people for the projects I want to be on and I can text them personally or I know their right hand personally." - Pop Wansel
No big deal, he'll just text Nicki Minaj and tell her and say he wants in on her new album. So, you may not know his name, but some of the biggest artists on the planet do. If you want to know more, including questions about Kanye, insight into the creation of one of 2014's best songs, and of course a talk about samples, you'll have to check back here Thursday when we go all the way Behind The Boards with Andrew "Pop" Wansel". Want more Pop now? Check out the work he did on Usher's new single, Good Kisser.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. He does not have a beard. You can tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @Lgarrison88.]