Black Music Month: American Sounds With Hit-Boy

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Chauncey Alexander Hollis Jr., also known as rapper/producer Hit-Boy, has worked with some of the greatest names in music including Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kanye West. He’s won three Grammys, according to Grammy.com, and several BET Hip Hop Awards for his production and rapping. The creative shares how he consistently produces fresh sounds and what propelled him to succeed.

Hit-Boy recalls being in a New York studio in 2011, recording with Kanye West for the first time. Notable entertainers would come through, including Spike Lee, Beyonce and John Legend. Hit-Boy would play around on the keyboard while John Legend and Kanye would come up with lyrics on the spot to accompany his music. That spontaneity would become the heart of everything Hit-Boy does.

“Black music to me just means…the most creative…the move on the whim…letting it flow from your emotions.”

The award-winning rapper and producer didn’t receive classic training — he just studied artists he admired, examining the “science” of their work, as he puts it. He says that several genres and artists have influenced him.

He grew up on R&B music, listening to classics from Marvin Gaye, Etta James and Aretha Franklin, as well as a healthy dose of gospel music. Today, Hit-Boy taps into those inspirations when he creates, just remembering how each type of music makes him feel.

“My sound is…not having a sound,” he explains. “It’s all my influences rolled into one.”

When speaking on his biggest challenge, Hit-Boy says that Kanye always pushes him to new levels. Kanye regularly works to push boundaries. so when Hit-Boy produces for him, he says, “I dont think about what I’ve done already… I think about how I feel in that moment.”

When asked what he hopes his legacy will be, Hit-Boy says, “Greatness.” He hopes that shines through in everything he does.

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