You know you’re having a helluva year when the NBA’s number one superstar, LeBron James, is rapping lyrics from the single you produced on social media.
“It was kind of surreal,” says super producer and Detroit-native Helluva. “This can’t even be possible. [laughs] LeBron James is not rapping ‘First Day Out’?”
“First Day Out,” performed by Tee Grizzley is one of the biggest rap records to come out of Detroit in some time. Along with his singles “No Effort” and “D to the A” featuring Lil Yachty, 2017 has been a breakout year for both Grizzley and his producer Helluva.
“I’m very happy about it,” says Helluva, “but I’m also feeling that it’s a bit overdue. I’m more happy for the city of Detroit, if anything.”
Helluva has been in the rap and music game for some time. He’s produced for a number of veteran Hip-Hop artists that include Rick Ross, Future and Yo Gotti. Helluva himself even released a couple of projects. In 2010, he dropped an EP titled Hell’s Kitchen and followed it up with the release of his mixtape Hell Froze Over which featured Waka Flocka Flame and local artists such as Chedda Boy Malik, K-Doe aka K-Deezy, Pistol Atkins, Street Lord Juan, and others.
Helluva prefers his more current role as producer and songwriter. Signed to a pub deal through Warner Chappell, he is more than happy cultivating the Detroit Hip-Hop culture and spearheading the City’s music movement.
“For a long time, artists in Detroit were so focused on being accepted by the industry at large… trying to reach industry standards and getting approval from around the country,” says Helluva. “After a while, we felt like, “This ain’t gonna work. They ain’t really trying to f*ck with us. Let’s do what we like to do and not care about who likes it.” At the end of the day, that’s how we’re starting to get recognized. We have our own sound now. We’re not trying to copy off what everyone else is doing.”
One of Helluva’s pet projects is the development of his 19-year-old son, Lil’ Zay, who recently flipped the classic “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin’” made famous by the late M.C. Breed, a native of the neighboring city Flint, Michigan. “It was always a big song,” says Helluva. “I met Breed and we became friends. So, this was paying homage to the homie.”
Helluva plans to keep his hustle going. You can hear his production on the song “Versatile,” performed by (Florida native) Kodak Black on the Project Baby 2 mixtape. When asked what he’s currently working on, Helluva retorts, “Everybody who’s hot in the city. We’re still working on Tee Grizzley’s album and pretty much whatever else is put in front of me. I say, ‘Let’s go!’
To view Tee Grizzley’s “First Day Out,” click below