Behind the Boards: Low the Great

Low the Great didn’t plan on becoming one of the hottest producers in LA when he first started making beats. By now his sweeping, hi-pitched tag has become a staple in the city’s sound, popping up on some of the biggest hits from an array of artists like AzChike, 1Take Jay, and Shoreline Mafia, but the first time he took to FL Studios in high school it was just something to do to pass the time.

 

“All my friends at the time, they rapped,” he said. “But they weren’t really messing with the beats on YouTube, so I just started doing it for the homies so they had something to rap on.”

 

Fortunately for him, he soon found himself working with some of the city’s most promising stars, tying himself to their progress as he leveled up alongside him. Family ties throughout both sides of LA’s gang culture made it easy for him to establish that connection from the ground up, getting his beats everyone from Frosty Da SnowMan to the Stinc Team through the right hands rather than an email inbox.

 

“First year, it was Almighty, I was going up,” he said. “Second year, it was AzChike, going up. Third year, 1Take Jay, going up. I’ve just been lucky in the three years, every artist. I guess it’s just destiny; I don’t really believe in luck like that, but I guess it’s just supposed to happen.”

 

Songs to Know:

 

AzChike – “Burn Rubber Again”

 

1Take Jay – “Hello”

 

Drakeo the Ruler – “Levels”

 

Frosty Da Snowmann – “OKaaaY”

 

1Take Jay – “This Beat Hit”

 

Shoreline Mafia – “Players Club”

 

Almighty Suspect – “Whereyosafeat

 

Blueface – “Famous Cryp”

 

AzChike – “Licked Up”

 

There was a moment back in 2015, however, the journey almost came to a screeching halt as soon as it started. Midway through June of that year, his computer abruptly crashed, wiping out all of his progress and forcing him to consider quitting all together. Soon after, however, Ron-Ron reached out in an attempt to bring him onto the Hit-Mob collective, once he heard the beat Low the Great had cooked up for Ralfy the Plug’s “Proper Instructions.” Still, his newfound lack of gear had wiped out the passion for producing, to the point where he initially turned down the offer altogether.

 

“I was like nah, I’m not making beats, fuck that,’” he said. “But Ron-Ron was like ‘when you change your mind, come to my studio.’ He was really fucking with me, he wanted me to keep making beats.”

 

Low the Great finally got a new computer at Christmas of 2015, and within the next year he got busy improving his skills and separating himself from the pack. He credits Ron-Ron’s signature brand of “traffic music” as the backdrop to his style, the blueprint for much of LA’s music in which Low the Great carved his own eerie, thumping lane.

 

“Ron-Ron built traffic music, and then he basically gave it to us as a sound,” he said. “We could pick from it and do our own shit with it, but it’s all still the same shit. I just took that, and added my own flavor to it. It’s the Hit-Mob sound.”

 

The rest of his Hit-Mob peers have had an equally large impact on his journey thus far. Especially in the initial days, the energy from the collective did much to keep him honing his craft in the studio, pushing each other to succeed while forming a brotherly bond.

 

“Early on, it was just a bunch of niggas I didn’t know,” he said. “We only fucked with LA artists. we all just found something we liked to do in common. It was just like, ‘we’re going to link in the studio, you ain’t got nothing to do today.’ So we’d just gonna make make some beats, hang out, buy some pizza, we’d just be there. That developed into best of friends.”

 

That exposure did much more than just help him learn how to make better music; for a producer off the block who just wanted to make beats for his friends, it helped him learn how to navigate an industry that’s stacked against the beatmaker by default. For the aspiring producer looking to climb the ranks, he’d recommend the same thing, talking to professional producers to learn the business and how to move through it.

 

“Don’t just talk to one, talk to many of them, because not all of them know everything,” he said. “Try to find, like, five producer friends. Not just niggas making beats like you, ones that are established already. It’s hard, but it’s possible. Get as much game as you can about the industry.”