I keep asking myself, how did I break through the competition, and make it right through to the top?

— Menace

Some producers work their whole lives hoping to reach their opus; their signature beat that puts them in the history books alongside the production elite. Pete Rock’s opus will always be the iconic “T.R.O.Y.,” for example. Some younger producers, like RunWay Star and Young Chop, who produced “Teach Me How to Dougie,” and Chief Keef’s seminal hit “Don’t Like,” respectively, have been lucky enough to sit behind huge, culture shifting records that have helped to propel their careers. It would be impossible to argue, though, that young Menace (a 22-year-old from Birmingham, UK) hasn’t bested them all. In fact, he’s dramatically shifted the sound of 2016 and produced one of the biggest records in years. He has over a decade of production under his belt, and his Youtube/Instagram accounts give us a look into his all-in, relentless production regime. It wasn’t until he sold the beat “Panda” to a US rapper named Desiigner for $200, that both their lives changed — forever. From hitting over 121 million plays on You-Tube, to being used by Yeezy on his critically acclaimed Life Of Pablo, the song is literally everywhere.

“Panda” just recently reached platinum status, which is mind blowing if you consider it didn’t even have an official video until this week. Menace’s stroke of luck has put him in a position to not only work with names like Lil’ Wayne but also led to him signing a lucrative production deal with Stellar Songs. The US-based company has collaborated with artists ranging from Beyonce, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Ne-Yo to Michael Jackson, Mary J Blige and Elton John [no big deal]. He also, until recently, had a part-time job. He’s now working full-time on his music, and shopping for a new crib — crazy.

Menace was recently kind enough to chat with me about how his life has changed, how he connected with Desiigner, and more. He’s a super humble kid — it’ll be amazing to see where he goes from here.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I’m from the UK obviously, Manchester. I started producing beats at the age of 12; I’m 22 now, so I’ve been at it for ten years. I used to have a part-time job before all of this happened. I’m now proudly doing music full-time, since signing a production deal with Stellar Songs.

How did you originally get in contact with Desiigner?

Someone in his circle bought the beat. I used to have a beat store up. Maybe a month after he bought it, he hit me up on Twitter, and was like, “you need to check this out, this is fire.” Everyone was saying it had potential [in the comments], but when I heard it, I knew it was going to be huge.

What was your reaction to the (almost) overnight popularity of the song?

I didn’t even really understand how it just blew up all of a sudden, which obviously is a good thing. But, it just felt like one day it was uploaded, and the next it exploded.

There has been an ungodly amount of remixes to the song. What has been your favourite so far?

Right now, I would say T-Pain; he just incorporated so many different musical elements into it. I mean, of course, there’s been some great remixes, like Meek Mill, and Lil’Kim, but I give T-Pain that respect. He destroyed Panda. Desiigner made the song what it is, but I think if the original was T-Pain, the song might have done just as well.

Have you had any artists reach out to you since the track exploded?

Right now I’m working with Lil’Wayne, French Montana, and Partynextdoor — so lots of projects on the go.

Are they all asking for a “Panda” type beat? [laughs]

Exactly, they heard the production, and everyone wants the Panda type beat now. That’s the new sound of 2016. Well, I hope it is. That’s what I’ve been sending them. Wayne and French Montana are quite versatile, though.

How has your personal life changed — are you still at home?

Yeah, I’m still living with my family right now — but, I’m looking for a new home. It’s crazy the opportunities that are popping up.

It is mind bending to go from living with your family to even consider purchasing property in the UK at the age of 22…

It’s all about using the opportunity. It’s like a disease, to be honest. In a good way. It just kind of spread everywhere and took over. If it kept spreading, we’d probably see endless remixes.

It’s interesting to think, though, that Desiigner is going through the same thing right now!

We both started from the bottom — and now we’re here.

Have you two met in person?

We haven’t — we’ve been in contact, though, and we’re planning to get together soon. We’re planning on working on another project shortly.

How wild is that? You two have this weird bond now…

We do. It’s hard to process because, first of all, it was fast — lightening fast. I didn’t expect that I’d be sitting behind the biggest single of 2016. Just luck I guess, or maybe I was destined for greatness. It’s kind of like DJ Mustard. Everyone started hearing his stuff, and were like “I want that, I want that.” That’s kind of what happened to me, just on a much bigger scale.

It is; I mean, some producers will (and have) worked their whole lives, and will never have a song as culturally relevant as “Panda.”

I keep asking myself, how did I break through the competition, and make it right through to the top?

Do you remember making “Panda?” What was going through your head?

To be honest, somebody commented on my Instagram video, where I was in the process of making the beat — I was in the process of making “Panda.” That was 2014. I forget I had even made that video. I knew I had something special, though.

What do you think is the biggest thing producers do wrong?

They make music, but don’t know how to market music. They don’t know — or consider — the age group and demographic the beat is for. They just make beats and hope people hop on it.

So where do you go from here?

The next singles I’m working on are going to be even bigger than “Panda” — that’s what I’m hoping. I have to see this as a stepping stone. Keep the momentum up and carry on. Let’s see what 2016 has in store for me. I’m looking forward to it.