Words by: Kristen Lewis
How often do you find yourself bobbing your head to one of your favorite songs and then realize that you know none of the words? We get so caught up in the hard-hitting beats that the masterminds behind the tracks often remain in the shadows. Orlando Tucker, better known as Jahlil Beats, is one of those people. Beats is the musical genius behind some of the most popular hits from artist like Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Tyga and Chris Brown.
Beats grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the small but dangerous area of Chester. As the middle child of seven boys in a single parent home, Beats found that his family was the best refuge from the trouble that waited outside his doorstep everyday. “It was rough growing up in Chester but I had a big family that was really supportive of one another.” Though Jahlil didn’t live with both of his parents, his father continued to play an instrumental role in his childhood. It was his dad who ultimately helped spark his interest in music at the young age of 12. “My father is a certified engineer and he had a home studio, that is where I learned a lot about audio engineering concepts,” Beats says. “He also bought me my first FL Studio.”
Although the circumstances could have created an unfavorable path, Jahlil went on to attend college at American InterContinental University in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, Georgia. Beats left the school after a few semesters due to the loss of his financial aid. But that setback ultimately led to beginning of his music career. “I moved back to Pennsylvania and started posting beats on Myspace, I think I had like three beats up on my page. I found Meek on Myspace too and reached out to him around the time that he released his mixtape Flamerz 1,” Beats says about his first correspondence with rapper Meek Mill. “We linked up and started working together and he ended up using three of my beats on his Flamerz 2 mixtape.” His work on Flamerz 2 would birth an ongoing work relationship with Meek Mill.
Beats began working overtime producing beats for Mill and soon the two ended up with over 10 songs on local radio stations between Pennsylvania and Virginia. Their collaborations soon landed both of them on the Billboard charts with the 2011 hit single “Imma Boss” featuring Rick Ross. “I was in Los Angles when I heard ‘Imma Boss’ on the radio and that is when I knew the record was a success,” Beats recalls. And from there, the calls from notable names in the music industry started to roll in. “Chris Brown reached out to me to work on his Fan of a Fan mixtape with Tyga. I think that was the first major artist to reach out to me after “Imma Boss” dropped,” Beats adds.
Artists began reaching out to Beats left and right. But it was a tweet that he received that helped solidify his name as a producer in the industry and offered him the highly sought after stamp of approval from none other than Jay-Z. “Emory, Jay-Z’s right hand man reached out to me over Twitter and I wasn’t sure if it was legit but I followed up anyway and the next thing I know I’m in the RocNation studio playing my beats for TyTy, my manager Dave and another A&R at the label named Dominique. And that day I was signed to RocNation,” Beats says.
Under the label’s leadership, Jahlil has had the opportunity to work around and pull inspiration from producers and artist from other genres of music, which has broadened his career perspective. “I definitely would like to do some music outside of Hip Hop and rap,” says Beats. “The pre-Grammy camp that all the producers and artist from the label attends gives us all a chance to be motivated by one another.”
Beats wants to venture into other genres of music. Still, he says his main objective in music is “to bring the streets back to hip hop music and reinvent that late 90’s early 2000 hardcore sound.”
Even with all his success in the last decade and the upcoming releases of projects he’s been working on with Meek Mill, Currency, Cash Out and G-Unit, Beats remains eager to keep striving for more. “I’m grateful for my success and because of it I always give back to my hometown and the people there but I’m sure that I never want to go back to that lifestyle,” Beats says. His dream collaboration with Eminem and a shelf full of Grammys are two goals he is still working to accomplish. Jahlil Beats remains determined to keep pushing to top of the industry.