‘Panda’ Producer Menace on Creation of Kanye-Approved Hit
Most 22-year-old hip-hop producers would do anything to be featured on a Kanye West album. All Menace, the mastermind behind Desiigner’s “Panda” beat, had to do was wait for a call.
“It was a couple of days before The Life of Pablo was released that we heard about the feature on it,” the Manchester, U.K., native recalls of the “Panda” sample West dropped into “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 2.” “He wanted to put ‘Panda’ on his album because first of all he was feeling the vibe to the production, and he also wanted to put his new signee [Desiigner] onto his album.”
Born Adnan Khan, Menace has been making music since the age of 12, citing Scott Storch as one of his biggest production idols. “It was just a hobby then,” he says. “I got into music by listening to different instrumentals from artists like Jay Z and Dr. Dre. From then onward, I got really interested in making beats.”
Before “Panda,” he was already working with Young Noble, a member of Tupac’s old group the Outlawz, and posting beats on his website. The beat that would eventually become the base for one of the year’s most ferocious Number One hits was available on his site, and at the time, Menace had no idea who had acquired the beat and what it would become until a listener tweeted at him after recognizing Menace’s producer tag at the beginning of the song: “You are now listening to the hottest producer with the hottest beats on the net. Menace.”
“I don’t know how it blew up,” he says, though he isn’t surprised that people were “vibing” with the catchy single. “The views were skyrocketing when I first heard it. There were about 10,000 views when I first heard it, and in a couple days time it had rolled up to 300,000.”
Since then, Brooklyn’s Desiigner has seen his star rapidly rise and is working on an album or mixtape of his own, which will potentially include more and direct production from Menace. “I’m not done with him yet,” Menace jokes. The two have yet to enter the studio together but have spoken regularly since the song’s explosion. “The new sound will be similar to ‘Panda,’ but it will have to be bigger than ‘Panda.’ That’s what we’re thinking. We’ll have to be in the studio together first.”
Menace’s own career is also on the rise. In April, he signed a publishing deal with Tim Blacksmith’s Stellar Songs after a bidding war ensued for the newcomer. “They want me to be more than a producer,” he says of the collaboration.
As for what’s next, he’s working on two big projects coming up that he’s keeping under wraps but has one major artist he would love to add to his list of upcoming work. “I would love to produce beats for 50 Cent,” he proclaims. “Hopefully he’ll get the message.”
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