The next mix to grace Heavy Set comes from Shy Guy, a producer from Dallas who has made a splash in the New York music scene. His roster of work includes up-and-coming artists such as Black Dave, Junglepussy, and Ian Isiah.
What’s the story behind your name? Is it really because you’re shy?
Partially because I’m shy, but also because I’m a fan of Super Mario. Shy Guy is the little ghost face dude with the robe in the second one who’s pretty chill. It’s also a misnomer because I try to make beats that have that “wall of sound” stadium rap feel—kind of a rap concept to be the opposite of what you are.
You’re from Dallas, but super involved in the NY hip hop scene. How did that happen? What was your first break in NY?
I started DJing in-store events at Stussy SoHo (formerly Union NYC). That's how I met a lot of my friends and started working with Black Dave. My buddy Skye from NYU put me in the studio with Le1f and Junglepussy, and I became super involved with them as well. Everything else has just been an outgrowth from that.
Your beats still sound very influenced by Southern hip hop though—who are your biggest inspirations?
DJ Toomp was always one of my favorites. I’m really all over the map with my influences, though. The first producer I got into was actually Dr. Dre. His beats sounded so lush and full without ever sounding too busy. Then I started studying how to chop samples like Alchemist and DJ Premier. There’s such an art to finding the right sounds to sample.
I got an MPC when I was 15 and would come across so much obscure music online, sometimes drawing inspiration from the most random shit. I basically cherry pick my favorite sounds from my heroes, and it ends up coming out different. I listened to so much UGK and Jeezy growing up, and of course Three 6 Mafia.
That Southern bounce is inescapable and very second nature to me because I would hear it in the car with my friends, even though I preferred East Coast rap at the time. It’s really hard for me to even trace certain influences because I go through so many phases. These days, I am inspired by Metro Boomin, WondaGurl, and Boi-1da. London on da Track is a monster, too!
What about a new artist you’d love to work with?
I would love to do something for Drake some day. His music is very influenced by Texas, so I connect to it on a lot of different levels.
“That Southern bounce is inescapable and very second nature to me.”
Any exciting projects in the works you wanna tell us about? DJ sets coming up in the city?
I’m executive producing the next full-length project for Haleek Maul titled Prince Midas. He’s a rapper from Barbados who has a very dark/experimental sound. It’s been fun pushing myself in new directions. There are so many talented producers from across the world who have been sending in loops/demos for this project. I’ve been engineering all the sessions and doing a lot of the drum programming. I feel like there’s some pretty exciting/innovative stuff on this project.
I've also been really busy working on Junglepussy's new music. She keeps getting better and better at rapping and things are definitely gonna be a problem soon! I feel like more and more people are starting to realize how amazing she is. Our sound together has really evolved, and there's so much variety with the types of songs we’re doing now.
I put out a project with Black Dave on Scion/AV called The Skate Life EP. I produced three of the songs, and the other two were produced by Sean C & LV, who used to be in-house producers for Bad Boy back in the day. It was amazing to sit around those guys and learn.
Also did a track for Le1f’s upcoming debut album on Terrible/XL Recordings. Can’t wait for that to drop! All of the artists I’ve started out with are now starting to do shit with labels and have budgets, so I’m thankful they’ve kept me around. Le1f approached the record with an aggression and intensity I hadn’t seen from him before, so I think people will see him in a different light after this.
I DJ very sporadically. I’m a complete studio rat, so my main focus is always on fine-tuning my music. I would like to DJ more though. It’s great to get your face out there and expose people to your musical palette. I try to avoid gigs where you’re just going to be forced to play the same things other people play. I like blending some of the hits with curve balls and obscurities… Nothing wack that people won’t like, but usually people just want to know what it is afterwards or are pleasantly surprised.
1. I Can Do Dat - Lil’ Flip
2. Promises (prod. Dubbel Dutch & Baauer) - Fetty Wap
3. Ooooh - Shy Guy & Verde
4. Stick ‘Em Up ft. UGK - Ludacris
5. It Ain’t Safe ft. Young Lord - Skepta
6. Grimey - Shy Guy & Jiin
7. Lay Up - Future
8. Dope Boy Ringtone - Shy Guy
9. Unreleased Junglepussy Instrumental - Shy Guy
10. Kingdom Come (prod. Shy Guy & DKAD) - Haleek Maul
11. Pronto - Freddie Gibbs
12. Woopty Woop Blahzay Blah (prod. VDon) - Bodega Bamz
13. From the South ft. Paul Wall - Z-Ro
14. Gun It - Shy Guy
15. Sock It 2 Me - Missy Elliott
16. Southside - Lil’ Keke
17. Bling Bling (Joey LaBeija Shmurda Edit) - Junglepussy
18. PYT ft. Jay-Z & Amil - Memphis Bleek