Feature / Hip Hop

Interview With Papi Yerr The Producer Behind Nicki Minaj & Lil Baby New Hit Song

Papi Yerr

Meet Haitian producer Papi Yerr.

Nicki Minaj‘s “Do We Have A Problem?” featuring Lil Baby drops tonight, and fans simply cannot wait to see just what the Queen of the Barbz brings to the table to kickstart 2022. By the looks of it, fans could be in for a treat as Nicki gets backing from rapper and tv-show mogul 50 Cent for the use of Joseph Sikora’s talents in the accompanying mini-movie for the track.

One person who may not land a role in the mini-movie but has played an integral role in this release is the song’s producer and artiste, Papi Yerr. You’ve probably heard about the multiplatinum-selling producer through his works with Chris Brown, T-Pain, and Tory Lanez. This time around, Yerr is spreading his wings with the 4PF and the Barbz leaders. Urban Islandz caught up with Papi Yerr where he opened up about working with Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby, as well as his Caribbean and African heritage.

The entertainer took a short break from his all too important work in the studio as well as his celebration/promotion of “Do We Have A Problem?” to speak on his humble beginnings and tough choices he had to make to reach this level of success. Those choices have earned the “New Bih” rapper two SESAC Pop Awards for his work on Tory Lanez’s “Broke In A Minute” and “Jerry Sprunger” off Lanez’s Chixtape5 project. He’s also signed to one of the hottest major labels in the world, all while maintaining the sounds of his roots that got him there.

Dig into the mind of Papi Yerr below as you get ready to stream his latest production.

How has being Liberian and Haitian shaped your production style?

Papi Yerr: Growing up with a true Liberian father born & raised in Liberia and a Haitian mother born in raised in Haiti was amazing. The culture, the food, the life lessons, the wisdom, the music. My dad used to always play West African music in the car growing up, and I would ride around with him listening to it. It’s made my musical taste very diverse, and it gave me a unique perspective of music. My mom got me playing the drums in the church, and it helped me a lot with my stage presence and my musicality. It all shaped where I am today. Shout out to Liberia and Haiti!

What was it like working with Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby? And How did you land the opportunity to work with them?

Papi Yerr: This whole process has been a blessing and extremely smooth. Working with Nicki and her team has truly shown me how she’s been able to be so successful and relevant in music culture over the last decade. She’s a real professional and she’s extremely humble. “Do We Have A Problem” started by me literally just making the beat in like 30 minutes and I sent the beat to My boy Tate Ko and then he just sent it to Nicki around November of 2021 and she loved it and immediately sent it to Lil Baby and he recorded it right away. I was kinda blown away; everything happened very fast.

Then Nicki’s team just reached out to me and told me they’re gonna release the record at the top of the year. Nicki is so raw and her fan base is supportive. It’s like hard to believe how crazy her fans go for her. And now her fans go super hard for me its lit. I always had an affinity for Nicki because she was so dope and talented. But I truly gained more respect and love for her throughout this rollout for “Do We Have A Problem.”

On the day that she announced the single she sent me a dope message telling me how talented I was and it meant a lot because she’s a legend. And she’s a true hit maker. She has pop hits, she has radio hits, danchall hits, gospel hit, rap hits, r&b hits, she has a hit in almost every musical genre. It’s dope that after all the success she’s had she’s still hungry and humble.

Shout out Nicki. Nothing but love for her she has a great soul.

And as for Lil Baby we actually met years ago in like 2018 at this afterparty during Rolling Loud in Miami, and he was extremely humble and chill. He gave me his email and told me to send beats. So it’s crazy that we actually got to make a song together years later. Shout out to Baby, super talented and good dude.

Shout out Tate Ko for introducing me to Nicki Minaj, real one !

Who are some of the other mainstream entertainers you have worked with?

Chris Brown, Tory Lanez, T-Pain, XXXtentacion. To name a few. Some of my biggest songs include Jerry Sprunger, Broke In A Minute, and The Take.

Tell us more about the deal with Sony ATV.

Papi Yerr: I signed with Sony Music as a producer/writer in 2020. That was the year I broke out. It was a crazy time because I produced “Jerry Sprunger” featuring T-Pain and “The Take” featuring Chris Brown and Jerry Sprunger was everywhere on the radio and every week I was getting calls from different executives and publishing companies. It was definitely a big bidding war. And in the midst of the bidding war I made a whole new hit; and that was “Broke In A Minute”.

So it was crazy no one really expected that. It brought my value and my leverage up. I ended up signing with Sony because Ian Holder the Senior Vice President literally flew from NYC to LA to talk to me for like an hour then got on a plane and flew back to NYC the same night. I was like whoaaa. This guy is just genuine and really wants to help me win. And I ended up signing in July of 2020. Life changing deal. Major shout out to Ian Holder, I believe he’s one of the best black executives in the game. And shout out Shaugnessy and Big Tank over at Sony Music.

Meek Mill just announced that his next album would be strictly NFTs. Do you believe in the NFT wave or do major labels still have a place in the industry?

Papi Yerr: I believe that’s the most lucrative move an artist can do when it comes to distributing their music. Simply because the intrinsic value of art goes up exponentially over time. Think of how valuable Steve Wonder or Micheal Jackson’s best works would be if they were released as an NFT first. It’s lucrative because when you create an NFT the original artist gets a percentage anytime a particular piece of art is resold on the market.

However, I do believe major labels will always be around because artists need funding and backing. But I believe over time there will be a shift and revolutionary companies will emerge that combine technology, funding and intellectual freedom to artists and these companies will be the new labels and it will give the artists control.

6. How does the creative process differ when producing for yourself versus others?

Papi Yerr: The process is pretty much the same. The only difference is when I’m producing for myself I can literally manipulate the beat to fit me. Since I’m a producer I can change the tempo, chords, or key to fit to the tonality of my voice and I usually do that while I’m writing and recording.

7. What’s next for your music career?

Papi Yerr: Next is producing for more artists, dropping more hits, and releasing my solo album: “How I Got Over Her”. After this I want to release more uplifting, positive music and even music about God and how I came up. When I was coming up I made a lot of dark music, I was in a rough place in life. I was heart broken, I was struggling financially and I was fighting many battles. Battles that most young black men fight growing up in America.

Papi Yerr
Papi Yerr

I’ve been through so much and seen so much I could right a best-selling book about all of my stories. But now life has changed completely and I’m grateful. Thank God. I love God he’s blessed me so much. I moved to Miami by myself at 17 years old. I literally went from sleeping in my car and going from couch to couch to selling millions and millions of records and having songs with Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby. I did this with no blueprint just hard work and faith.

You can find ‘The Waviest’ producer on Twitter and Instagram @papiyerr.