Waka Flocka Flame's new album Triple F Life: Fans, Friends & Family exploded into the world this week. If you tweet something like this right now—“THAT NEW FLOCKA JOINT TURNT UP FIYAH #TRIPLEFLIFE”—not only will you be tweeting the truth, but there's a very high chance that Waka himself will retweet you.
Yesterday, I was listening to “Fist Pump,” one of the most amped-up tracks. After the raging verses by Waka and B.o.B., there's a shredding guitar solo. Curious about the identity of the guitarist, I tweeted the following: “Who plays the guitar solo on Fist Pump?” Jamieson Xavier Jones, who co-produced the song with B.o.B. and Southside, saw my tweet and put me in touch with the dude who did the shredding.
His name is Kyle King, a.k.a. 7King. Along with a few other Georgia-based producers and musicians, 7King co-founded SMKA, a production and branding company that has worked with rappers like Freddie Gibbs, Juicy J, and Yelawolf. I called him to talk about “Fist Pump.”
Why doesn't anyone ever interview the people who play guitar solos on rap tracks?
I don't know, man! Where's the love? Musicians not only play the music that you hear on those tracks, but they also write the music you hear. The musicians are an equally important part of crafting these records.
How did you end up playing on “Fist Pump?”
They called me up and told me they wanted some dope guitars on it, and asked me to help with the production. I played the guitar solo while listening to the track, and then I went back and chopped it up like it was a sample. Then I loaded it into my MIDI keyboard and played it back on piano. It has this chopped and screwed feel to it. It's a guitar solo, but it's not your typical guitar solo.
What was the vibe like in the studio that day?
There was a lot of creative energy in the room, and the "Fist Pump" thing just sorta happened. It was amazing. Everybody was there at the same time—B.o.B., Waka, Southside, everybody—so we put the whole song together right there on the spot. It was a very organic process. Everyone in the room was literally pumping their fists, and that's how the title came about.
The sound's really interesting, because it combines the rhythm section of contemporary trap rap with not only Euro-dance synths, but also live instrumentation.
We were throwing around a bunch of ideas that day. And I don't think it would've sounded like that if everyone wasn't there together to put their hands directly on the track. All of our ideas came through on it. It's proof for how important it is for people to be in the same room when they're making music, instead of the “email rap” production that's popular now.
“Email rap.” That's a good phrase.
Yeah, I mean, good music can still be made that way, but I think there's something to be said about having all the musicians together in the same place.
Was that day at the studio the first time you'd met Waka?
Yeah, it was the first time. I just walked into the studio and he said, “What's up, man? I'm Waka.” I couldn't believe how huge his diamond-encrusted rooster chain is. And then we just started kicking it. There was a lot of joking around. He's a great dude.
He comes off as this really wild, out-of-control dude on the records. What was he like in the studio?
He was exactly like that. He's also a genuinely nice, smart and talented guy. But he's Waka, you know? He walks through the studio going “Bow Bow Bow.” He's not an act. He is who he is. And his energy was really important for making this track sound the way it does. We were all vibing off each other and we bottled up that energy and put it on the record.