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Murda Beatz Talks Nipsey Hussle, Coachella Set and What’s Next

What do Drake’s “Nice For What,” Migos’ “Motorsport,” Travis Scott’s “Butterfly Effect,” 6ix9ine’s “Fefe,” and 2 Chainz’s “It’s a Vibe” all have in common? Producer/songwriter/DJ Murda Beatz.

The 25-year-old Canadian hitmaker — legal name: Shane Lindstrom — began his journey at the age of six, playing drums and idolizing Travis Barker; he made the switch to beat-making a decade later. He says being white kid trying to get in the rap game made him work ten times harder — he’d frequently reach out to artists or their associates on social media and offer them free beats.

After his first taste of success with Migos’ “Emmitt Smith,” the hits came quickly. All the above-mentioned records have been Top 10 singles, with “Nice for What” — a song that was created casually at Drake’s house while playing NBA 2K18 — certified five-times platinum. And on Saturday night at Coachella, he shut down the Sahara Tent, drawing in hip-hop lovers from all over the world with bangers and club-friendly hits, and guest appearances from Rich the Kid and A$AP Ferg.

Variety spoke with Murda shortly after his set to chat about his Coachella set and relationship with the late Nipsey Hussle.

How did it feel to perform at Coachella this year?
This is a big blessing because I’ve been to Coachella three times now — twice just watching, so the third time was the charm. I’ve been taking it all in and being inspired, ‘cause I haven’t listened to much different music for the past couple of years. Now, I do.

Were you nervous about your set?
I was nervous probably an hour before. When I got more in the vibe and got onstage, it was exciting. I did a tour all across America last summer with G Eazy, Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla $ign and others — the “Summer Endless” tour definitely got me prepared for this.

That looked like a party!
Hell yeah, that was fun. I was in front of 20,000 people every day, every night. This was a lot more. I don’t know how many people were out there, but probably over 50,000. They said it was packed outside the Sahara tent, which is wild.

How did you plan which guests to bring out at Coachella?
It’s kind of a spur of the moment thing. A$AP Ferg, he’s the f—ing festival god, I was just like “Yo I’m at Coachella, I need to bring out A$AP Ferg!” Me and him have a relationship already, we’ve never made any music together but been in the studio a bunch of times. I hit him up and he was down. Shout out Rich the Kid, that’s my dog. Been my brother for seven years. I met him with the Migos a long time ago.

Which other artists are you most excited to see here?
Kid Cudi, Ariana Grande, a bunch of DJs. I like just being here, feeling and seeing the atmosphere — you see a lot of people happy. It’s a blessing to be able to make music and make people feel certain type of ways with it.

Was it difficult breaking into hip-hop, being from Canada?
I’m from a small town — Niagara, outside of Toronto. When I was a kid, I thought it was really boring, but it ended up being a big blessing because I got to know myself at a young age. I’ve been in music my whole life because of my family — RIP my pops. It gave me the opportunity to hone into something I love to do and get better at it.

When did you begin to step out from behind the scenes?
When I was in grade 7, I’d always tell my mom I’d be different. I want to put a face to my music, I don’t want to be a faceless producer or faceless artist. I want people to know when you hear my tag, when you hear my beats or any type of music, that you know who did that and who produced that sh–.

Tell me about the Nipsey tribute you did.
Shout out to Nipsey. When I came to L.A. for the first time to work, he was actually the first artist who invited me to the studio. We made “Grinding All My Life” four years ago, and that sh– came out last year on his Grammy-nominated album “Victory Lap.” I learned a lot from him too, just independently growing businesses and being a young entrepreneur. My condolences to his family and friends — RIP Nipsey.

You say you’re working on a ton of new music. Any sneak peeks?
Nope. You’ve got to wait and see. We’ve got some big records coming!

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