Even at a young age, producer Papi Yerr had big dreams for himself and his family, but it wasn’t until he was broke living in his car that he really felt his vision tested.
After moving from Boston to go to school in Miami, he found himself struggling to pay bills and make rent. However, he stayed the course, slept in his car, and did everything he could to prove that he deserved an opportunity.
His big break came several years down the line, almost 3 years after meeting Tory Lanez, who was on his way to becoming a worldwide sensation. After hearing rumblings of a Chixtape 5 being in the works, Papi Yerr took it upon himself to get to work.
He came back to Tory with beats that would end up becoming “Jerry Sprunger”, and “The Take”. These songs catapulted to the top of the R&B charts and put Papi Yerr on the radar of some of the most popular publishing companies in the world.
Still though, he remained active. He and Tory dropped “Broke In A Minute,” spontaneously during his early label conversations, which allowed him to show off his range as a producer and garner even more leverage in his meetings.
So, not long after he was struggling to pay his bills, he was negotiating deals for the more money than he ever had. God rewarded his patience, and he believes that.
A few years later, with a little more money in his pocket, and with that same faith in God, Papi Yerr would go on to produce “Do We Have A Problem,” the biggest single of 2022, acting as Nicki Minaj’s return to the industry, stamped with an incredible guest verse from Lil Baby.
Sidedoor spoke to Papi Yerr about how the new single came together, and how his relationships with family, friends, and God, got him to where he is now.
You’ve mentioned in the past that one of the lowest points in your life was right before you got those first songs with Tory. Could you share how you kept motivated during that time?
What really kept me motivated was my faith in God. He would literally put in my spirt and tell me I was gonna be successful. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was at a time while I was at the very bottom, I decided I could either go into to a state of depression, or into a state of faith and expression – and I just decided to put my faith in God, trust that it would work.
During those low points, did you have an idea of where you wanted it to go, or how far you wanted it to get?
Of course, but you know, everybody wants to go platinum, number one, and all those things… but you never really understand how far you can go, until you get there, you know what I mean? So, I didn’t really understand how far I wanted to go, but I did know that I wanted to be able to quit my job and provide for myself through music. Then, once I got there, my goals started changing. Now my goals are to be able to provide for my mom, my family, and just do other cool things.
You and Tory have obviously done a lot for each other, but when you first met did you know your relationship would be special?
When we really got in and sat down in the studio, we talked for a minute. We talked about a lot of stuff: God, life, music, and it was a deep conversation. That’s what made me like really rock with him as a person.
At this point in my career man, I’m around the biggest stars, and the biggest celebrities, but I try to look at everybody the same, bro. At the end of the day, we all put on a sock one sock at a time, you know what I mean? [Laughs]
When was the last time you guys reflected on those early conversations and the success you’ve seen together?
It was recently. We were just in the studio, and I was talking to him about how I got my first couple of hits with him. Then we talked about the Nicki and Lil Baby record. He was just congratulating me and telling me he was proud. He knows I come from the bottom, bro. I was really homeless. I was broke, and it didn’t always look as bright as it does right now.
As far as right now, we heard you say in interview that you made the beat for “Do We Have A Problem,” while hanging out at your friends apartment. Did you have any idea how big that beat was going to be?
I knew it was going to be huge, and that was coming from my computer speakers, man. That’s how I make 98% of my beats – the MacBook computer speakers. I love it. I just love how it sounds. I don’t like using speakers and I’m not a big fan of headphones. I’ll play stuff in my car sometimes. I’ll even try different cars, and just test it out, but when it’s knocking like that, I know it’s the one.
What was going through your head when you found out the beat was gong to Nicki Minaj?
When it got to Nicki, I knew it was going to be special – because I know Nicki can rap. I’ve always been a fan of hers. She’s an amazing artist, with a dope soul, and she has an amazing fan base.
It was like, I know this beat is crazy. I know Nicki is gonna slide on it. I know her fan base is huge… It ticked off all the boxes, and by the time I looked up, it was number one. The song went number one, and the instrumental went number one as well. It was a legendary moment for everybody involved.
What did it feel like to hear the finished song, with Nicki and Baby on your beat?
The first time I heard it finished, I was on Instagram with all my followers, and we listened to it together.
It felt like I reached a new level. Like, I have multiple platinum records, but now I have the biggest female artist and the biggest male artist on one record at the same time, produced solely by myself. Like that’s different. It just felt cool man, like we arrived at a new level. Now, it’s time to see how far we can take it, you know?
We noticed that you love to bring people in on the celebration. You talk to fans and share these big moments with as many people as possible. Why is that important to you?
I just like to inspire people, man. That’s a passion for me. Growing up, I always had a problem with people trying to play me and keep me down.
So I told myself, when I got to a certain status, I’m gonna do the opposite. I’m going to help people. I’m going to share my story. I’m going to give people the gems that helped me get to this level, and I’m going to talk about God. I’m going to talk about the things that are important and valuable to me, because if it resonates with anyone, then my day is made, and I’ll feel fulfilled.
At this point in my career, there’s real work and facts behind what I’m saying. My words of encouragement are more powerful now – and it’s because I have the success to back it up.