WLPWR (aka Willpower) is a music producer from my home state South Carolina that I have the utmost respect for. WLPWR and his production company SupaHotBeats aren’t household names, but Will has worked with the likes of Eminem, Yelawolf, Wiz Khalifa, Tech N9ne, Slaughterhouse, so he’s as good as Dr. Dre in my book.
WLPWR produced the vast majority of Yelawolf’s new album Love Story, which came out today, including the album’s single “Best Friend” featuring Eminem, so I figured today was as good a day as any to speak with the big homie about his work.
In the Q&A interview below, WLPWR talks about his relationship with Yelawolf and working with Eminem, so continue reading and get familiar with a guy who’s lowkey one of the best producers in music.
Q&A with WLPWR
RandyRoper.com: You’ve been working with Yelawolf for years, can you talk about your relationship with him?
WLPWR: I met Yelawolf in 2001. I was working at Sugarhill Records, which was Sylvia Robinson’s label. I signed to her as a producer, and one day I was hanging out in the lobby at her facility, and I ran into Yelawolf. We spoke to each other, and at that moment, we realized, we both had a southern accent. We were in New York, so we knew immediately, we had something in common. Soon as I met him, within the hour, we jumped in the studio and started cutting records. We’ve been rocking ever since.
How has it been for you, seeing his progression, from the beginning to where he is now?
It’s been awesome to watch a person grow from just getting started as a MC to finding himself as an artist, developing his sound, an image and everything. It’s been a great ride to watch an artist develop from pretty much nothing into something so large, and end up at the top of the food chain, with someone like Eminem. It’s beyond my wildest dreams.
You mentioned Eminem, so lets talk about Yelawolf’s new song “Best Friend” with Eminem that you produced. How did that come together?
I went to Nashville in 2013 and I worked with [Yelawolf] on Trunk Muzik Returns. We did that project, and at the end of that project, we did the song called “Tennessee Love,” which was on the Trunk Muzik Returns project, but then it also made it onto Love Story. That record was the one that defined the direction we were about to go in on the [Love Story] album. We started working on Love Story, I was out there for six months. Everyday from 10 a.m. to 2, 3 o’clock in the morning, I was in there making beats. I came up with this record that was really crazy sounding. Yelawolf, our chemistry is so dope, he won’t even touch a record unless it talks to him. He went in and wrote “Best Friend.” Immediately, he was like, “I think this is the perfect song to get Marshall on.” He refers to Eminem as Marshall, because they’re good friends. The next thing I know, Yela flew up to Detroit, and got with Eminem. [Eminem] even did some co-production on it. He added some of the strings, the kind of dramatic parts of the record, he came in and put some touches on that, as well. The rest is history.
This wasn’t your first time working with Eminem, what’s it like working with him?
Man, he’s dope. He’s really humble. He was very quiet anytime that I was ever around him. When he spoke, he spoke with a lot of experience. I loved that the person I came into the game and always listened to, I was finally able to work with him. When I worked at his studio with him, one of the things that I noticed was there’s no plaques on the walls, no photos, nothing. One of the things that he said was, he keeps it that way because it keeps him hungry. He was saying, he doesn’t want to get caught up into the whole record industry thing. Which is weird because he’s one of the biggest artist in the game.
Is there anything else you can tell me about Love Story?
I produced ten records on it. It’s a really dope project. I think for once, we took our own route. We didn’t have A&Rs come in, we didn’t accept any submissions on tracks, we didn’t work with too many other producers. Myself, Malay, who worked on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, the Track Bangers, are on the album with us, and of course, Eminem and Yelawolf have some work on the album as producers. It’s a great piece of work. One way to describe it would be to take Johnny Cash and mix it with Outkast. We’ve done a good job of blending genres and making it something that no one else has done yet. Recently, [Yelawolf] has been getting comparisons to Kid Rock, but [the album] is so funky and so jammin’, that’s not even a real comparison. For those that know and understand hip-hop, you’ll enjoy Yelawolf’s album for what he did with it.
For you, you’ve worked with a lot of people, from Emimen to Wiz Khalifa, what’s next for WLPWR and Supahot Beats?
I’m in the studio right now with Travis Barker, he’s working on his album and he called me out to produce with him. I’m also going out to work with Jim Jonsin, which is my mentor as far as production is concerned. I also got a mixtape coming out this year, called Free Game, which I’ll have Big K.R.I.T. on there, Trinidad James, Yelawolf, Dizzy Wright, just all types of people that I’ve worked with over the last year. I’m also working on a documentary called The Works. And that documentary will show things behind the scenes, how I produce records. You’ll see a lot of familiar faces in the studio with me. I’m excited. There’s so much going on, I can’t even pull my mind together right now.
Yelawolf’s new album Love Story is out now. Pick it up on iTunes here.