Producer JayO Explains The Origin Of DJ Khaled’s “To The Max” [EXCLUSIVE]

Producer JayO speaks on producing DJ Khaled & Drake’s “To The Max” and impact it left on the game.

Rising producer JayO’s success story perfectly emulates just how good 2017 was to Florida despite the select bad apples from Broward. The beginning of his career in music wasn’t influenced by the trap life that most Florida MC’s live day in and day out. The Broward native first discovered his passion for making music while growing up in a strictly Christian household.

“I grew up listening to real music, not really radio trap music because my people are Christian so they didn’t really play that. They had a lot of real music playing so that was the initial influence.”

As a young cat in high school, JayO began his journey as a beatmaker back in 2009. He spent his time perfecting his craft until 2014 when he decided to take himself seriously as a producer. After dropping tapes like Studio Trappin’ and Monday Thru Friday, JayO got his first major placement in 2015 by producing the intro of CyHi The Prynce’s Black Hystori Project 2: New Artists Aligning Cultural People with TEC BEATS as well as track #4 “Get Money.”

JayO spent the year collaborating with other local artists like Tiurakh$ushii, Koly P, and Xali until he upgraded his clientele by working with Rich The Kid and Kodak Black. However, the 21-year-old struck gold in 2017 when his name was mentioned during the recording sessions for DJ Khaled’s Grateful album. Once Drake’s people reached out to him about using his song “Gus Get It Right” for “To The Max,” JayO’s career took a brand new turn.

Earlier this year, I sat down with JayO at his studio in Fort Lauderdale to talk about the beginning of his come-up, how he ended up producing Drake & Khaled’s viral single, and his thoughts on the aftermath that followed. Since our conversation, JayO’s name has grown significantly. He’s been caught in the studio with a handful of SoFlo’s finest like Prez P, Jay Burna, TiurakhSushii and Kodak Black. He also produced a handful of bangers for Ice Berg’s latest mixtape Strictly For The Streets 4.

“There’s a lot of talent everywhere, but specifically down here,” JayO said. “Right now, everyone is looking at South Florida for more talent because it’s been a long time that we haven’t seen the light. But we have so much talent here.”

Check out what else JayO had to say below.

TMC: What inspires you to produce?

JayO: I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I really do try to find my own vibe with my music. I really don’t have too much [outside] influences because I’m always making beats and music. So it’s really just what comes from the soul, not to sound cliché. I’m inspired by the greats like Kanye; he snaps. Boi-1da is another one. Metro [Boomin] be snappin’ too. Key Wane too. His vibes are crazy. He doesn’t get enough credit in my opinion.”

TMC: As a young beatmaker, which artists first inspired you to begin producing?

JayO: Artist wise I have no pinpoint because I used to listen to music just for the beat back then. But the first rapper I’ve ever listened to was Lupe Fiasco. His beats were hard as hell to me. “Superstar” was the first song that got me. I have no real pinpoint artist that really brought me in. It was just a collection of music in general.

TMC: What was going on in your life within the last 3 years before “To The Max”?

JayO: Well, the “Gus Get It Right” stage was when I first graduated high school so it was my first summer going to parties a lot, and that was the vibe was. It was a lot of stickin’ especially out here its all stickin’ and jukin’ music. I just wanted to put my two-cents in the world of stickin’. Well, what had happened was that video went viral and everybody was doing the “Get It Right” challenge. So I decided to turn it into a stickin’ mix because I feel like that was going to be the wave. Actually my homeboy DJ Reese dropped one the day before, and then I dropped “Gus Get It Right” the day after. Both blew, but the one I did went viral. I didn’t even expect it to. It just blew.

TMC: Major Nine had his record “Get It Right” as well. Did you guys know about that beforehand?

JayO: Honestly I didn’t know about the “Get It Right” song. I didn’t there was an actual song out. The only “Get It Right” I knew about was just from that viral video. The challenges made it hype, so to add to the hype, I made the mix.

TMC: But you didn’t know initially where the song came from?

JayO: No, I didn’t even know it was an actual song. Prior to that, I knew of Chad. I did produce for Chad on the song “Miami Nights”. He’s familiar with me, and we’re cool now. But yea I didn’t know it was his song.

TMC: When people first heard the song, they caught on to the sound that’s similar to the Jersey Club wave. What are your thoughts on that?

JayO: When it comes to Broward stickin’ music, that sample specifically is like an OG sample is in almost every mix. It’s one of the most legendary samples that you’ll hear out here. I felt like putting it in “Gus Get It Right” was the best way to pay homage where I’m from. The whole controversy with Jersey Club and Broward stickin and jukin’ music.. that was a conversation that just never happened. Drake hopping on that song just made Broward and Jersey clash. In Broward, we’ve been stickin’ to Jersey club mixes since stickin’ was created. It’s just two different dances. Now Jersey sees our scene and how we interpret Jersey Club music. It’s just a big misunderstanding, but its two of the same thing. But we’re a different culture down here.

TMC: Since you dropped your version of the song, Khaled picked up the record and turned it into a major single that hit the clubs everywhere. Describe where you were when you got the call about Drake and Khaled using the sample for “To The Max.”

JayO: I was actually on my way to Boston when I got a call from Drake’s Manager, Future. He called me and said “Drake heard your mix on YouTube and he wants to hop on it.” Then he let me know that it was for DJ Khaled’s album. I’m like “yo that’s dope.” He told me to send him the song because he wanted to do more to it. Everything was done right business wise. But that call initially I was like “what the hell… that’s BIG!”

TMC: So have you guys stayed in touch to work more or was it a one-time deal?

JayO: I mean, for now, the latter is what it seems like but as the song grows… you got to understand that this sound itself is such a new sound to the world that I don’t think this is going to be the only song that’s going to be on a stickin’/jukin level. I feel like there’s more to come. I don’t know if its with Drake but I feel like Khaled would be involved with more. But only time will tell.

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