"Mussaondabeat, ho." If you aren't familiar with that tagline yet, you either don't go out enough, don't listen to the radio and you're generally oblivious to the greatness that is DJ Mustard production. The latter is practically impossible (he counts 'Rack City' and 'I'm Different' on a long resume of production), so you've probably been finding too many reasons to turn down lately.
If you prefer complexity to straight-up slap it may be difficult to appreciate Dijon "DJ Mustard" McFarlane's beats at first. They're often at very similar tempos, with very similar drum sounds, and they often feature the same loose group of West Coast artists - YG, Problem, TeeFLii, and Joe Moses, to name a few. Mustard calls his sound "ratchet music", so it's only natural that it be best experienced in ratchet environments -- house parties, clubs, stripper joints, etc. All of that might sound confining for a producer, but Mustard is comfortable in his lane, and now he's become a go-to hitmaker for the likes of Young Jeezy, Tyga, and 2 Chainz.
If you've heard his most popular songs, you might think they all sound the same, and while his formula is airtight at this point, he's still a masterful craftsman of different sounds. We thought we'd parse through his discography and bring you 20 of his best beats. Just don't plan on being calm or mellowed out. Grab a bottle of Henny or something.
Not to hop on a dead rapper bandwagon (no disrespect), but Lil’ Snupe was actually kinda nice. Mustard’s beats seem best suited for turn-up anthems that leave more space for hooks than straight raps, but they also give ample room for a ferocious rapper like Lil’ Snupe to maneuver on. The beat is the paint and Snupe is boxing out with elbows as a spare hi-hat vibrates and the rapper packs a ton of efficient rhymes into Mustard’s appropriately creepy production.
Young Jeezy Feat. 2 Chainz - 'R.I.P.'
Jizzle doesn’t seem to be doing much as the VP of A&R at Atlantic, but maybe it’s because he’s fielding go-to producers like Cardo and Mustard for his own latest material. His last mixtape ‘It’s Tha World’ spawned a hit with ‘R.I.P.’ featuring 2 Chainz, and even though Jeezy kills the hook, it’s Mustard’s grungy bounce that gives the song such a wide appeal. You can picture vatos toasting 40’s to this one.
Problem Feat. Skeme - 'TO'
Mustard layers percussion and then strips it away at all the right times. Timing is everything, so he knows when to accelerate the handclaps before a chorus, smooth out the beat during a hook, and then take it back to it's barebones to highlight the vocals.
Problem's 'TO' is a prime example of the intangible quality of fun that Mustard brings to the record. It doesn't sound all that different from many of his productions, but he knows exactly when to let the beat build and when to melt it down. He's like a West Coast DJ Premier (don't kill me) - simple, hard-hitting beats that play their role in the right contexts. Mustard knows how to lift up a party.
YG Feat. TeeFLii - 'Sprung'
Mustard started as YG's DJ, producing on a bunch of his early mixtapes before breaking into mainstream popularity. YG himself is an incredibly accessible artist, starting with the insanely catchy "Toot It & Boot It" in 2010. Together, the rapper/producer duo released 'Just Re'd Up 2' earlier this year to plenty of fanfare, and 'Sprung' was on that mixtape before showing up again on TeeFLii's 'AnnieRUO'TAY 2' project. Hissing hi-hats, crisp fingersnaps, and spine-shaking bass create an aural dancefloor for rapper and singer to compliment each other on.
DJ Mustard Feat. Joe Moses & Ty$ - 'Burn Rubber'
It should be noted that any and every DJ Mustard beat needs to be experienced in the whip to be fully appreciated. Some of these laptop producers only make s--t for computer speakers, but take a ride with Mustard production turnt up and you'll hop out your ride reborn.
'Burn Rubber' is a good example -- colossal drums and a simple synth melody make the song swang and bang harder than E.S.G. in the summertime. That energy translates to the club, too - Mustard beats are best enjoyed with alcohol in your system.
Great producers can make anybody sound like a star. The uninformed may've thought Kid Ink was a young tattoo artist or something, but here Mustard makes him sound like he's ready for Top 40 radio. As expected, the beat doesn't try to do too much, finding Mustard at his most minimal with a dope sound effect that can only be described as a woodwind flute (imagine the sound you used to make when you'd blow over an open bottle). The best beats, for better or worse, will make the vocalist practically disappear, and I swear I don't remember a single thing that Kid Ink said on here but it damn sure sounded good.
IamSu Feat. Kool John - 'FaceTime'
This has probably been the soundtrack to many twerking contests since it came out. IamSu is another fun-loving West Coast artist who has spun the ratchet sound into his own success. It wouldn't be surprising if Mustard actually sampled booty claps for this one. The beat immediately conjures images of a dark strip club, lit only by slim traces of neon clothing that let you know there are human beings actually in there. Mustard frequently tows the line between partying and creeping with beats like these.
Young Jeezy Feat. YG - 'Homie'
YG recently confirmed signing to Jeezy's CTE imprint, and shortly after the two combined with Doughboyz Cashout for the 'Boss Yo Life Up Gang' mixtape in August. Earlier in the year, however, Funkmaster Flex dropped his massive "Who You Mad At? Me Or Yourself" mixtape, at once confusing NY diehards while also confirming to the word at large that regionalism is dead.
It's a good thing, too, or else we might have never heard 'My Homie', the first collaboration between YG and his new label head. Jeezy is right at home on these kind of beats as Mustard employs shimmering synthesizers before letting the song warp into an electronic breakdown during Jeezy's verse. It's got Dijon's stamp without sounding like the same old.
Jeremih Feat. TeeFLii & Ty$ - 'F--k That Ni--a'
Three of the best R&B artists doing it right now team up for this bedroom ballad. Mustard pulls out harp-like strings and a whimsical progression of chords that makes this sound like something T-Pain would make a hit out of. Label this under "Soft Bangers".
YG Feat. Casey Veggies & Shi-ty - 'Blunted'
This sounds like a Cardo production, gutted like a blunt and slapped onto the hazy aesthetic of Main Attrakionz. It's rare that Mustard make some smoking music, but his full-length collaboration tape with YG, '4 Hunnid Degreez', is for puffers and partiers alike. 'Blunted' slows everything down to turtle speed, ooh wee's and all. You can play this in the car too, but it'll probably be better for watching the sun set behind the Hollywood sign.
Ty$ Feat. YG - 'Overtime'
Mustard isn't a producer who's confined to one type of beat. The stamp of his style is a thick, full sound that that mixes pop with Patron to make ratchet music palatable to the masses. Here he makes the effortless crossover with slowly rising synths and bubbles of keyboard flourishes. YG and Ty$ complement each other nicely here (although YG's line about his girl working hard like a mexican is a no-go), but it's Mustard's radio-friendly beat that allows them to mingle together so well.
Young Jeezy Feat. E-40 - 'All The Same'
'All The Same' opens like a Mike Will Made It beat, with the undulating modulation that we've come to expect from the Southern producer. These are Mustard's aquatic sounds, though, and Jeezy has been getting his groove back on plenty of top-notch beats by the guy. This one's from "It's Tha World" (I still don't know what that means) and features the ever-invigorating E-40 to provide some extra bounce to the ounce.
TeeFLii Feat. Dom Kennedy - 'Better Know'
Two different kinds of guitars, tinkling piano keys, a playerish Dom Kennedy verse, and those tantalizing fingersnaps - throw some slow-sizzling drums on it and 'Better Know' is a highlight from TeeFLii's latest full-length project with Mustard, 'Fireworks'. More subtle than Ty$ or The Weekend, TeeFLii has been steadily dropping heat on the low; he just needs one hit song to surface for air. This might be it.
Joe Moses Feat. Tyga - 'Ratchets'
Shrill electronic blips set the mood for a special kind of soirée, one with lots of bouncing booties and spilled alcohol. Tyga seems ready to go with driving gloves for no apparent reason, but you could record a bunch of bleating llamas on this track and it'd still go at a party. Simplicity is the key, and Mustard distills this beat into a potent call for risky business.
Ty$ & Joe Moses - Weekend
A sample that's been making it's rounds on East Coast classics for years has finally crossed the country into the land of Ratchet. Simultaneously an audio and video tribute to 'Rumpshaker' by Wreckx-N-Effect, 'Weekend' places Joe Moses and Ty$ where every man wants to be - close to some fine ladies without a care in the world. The accessible sax loop helps for recognition, but the duo repurposes it for a West Coast get-down that's sure to cause a ruckus.
Tory Lanez Feat. Kirko Bangz - 'Know What's Up'
The best way to describe this beat is blissful. You've had a long week and all you want to do is unwind with your boo. Or your boo has been stressing you all the way out and you just need some alone time with a blunt to the head. 'Know What's Up' is appropriate for a gang of different settings, but they're all relaxing. Tory Lanez is a special upcoming talent, and with Mustard's beat, this could sweep airwaves in any given season.
Atlantic Records threw B.o.B. on this because they must not trust Ty$ on his own, but whatever. Ty$ knows about distrust - he walks up in the club and sees two girls he's been messing with together in the club. Any guy knows that seeing that can strike fear in any pimp's heart, so Ty$ wrote about what he knew, and now he's got a hit on his hands.
DJ Mustard powers the 'Beach House 2' standout with yet another simple electronic chord progression, but Ty$ makes his voice sound like another instrument on the beat. That's what most rappers hope to achieve, and it results in a crazy integration of vocals and production.
The inescapable smash hit that made Tyga a viable force in the rap market owes all of it’s popularity to three notes and a simple, repetitive hook. 'Rack City' was the song that got Mustard poppin’ on a national level, and it made the producer accessible to a wider array of artists.
Mustard continues to prove that adding all those bells and whistles to your beat might just bog it down. Here the producer pares it down with the usual weapons - a party-starting "ay" vocal sample, three lurking chords, and hydraulic drum programming. You wanted to hate this track, but then you heard it in the car and it was a wrap. I bet there are more than a couple rappers and producers who are pissed that this song took off like it did.
YG Feat. Rich Homie Quan & Young Jeezy - 'My N--a'
It's baffling that this song isn't all over the radio, although changing the chorus to 'my hitta, my hitta' doesn't quite hit as hard as the original. Rich Homie supplies a hook that mirrors the effective “less is more” aesthetic that Mustard has mastered, but synths that splat and impeccable mixing make this one of Mustard's best beats to date. This track should be getting way more traction and national attention.
2 Chainz - 'I'm Different'
Amidst all of the radio-ready material on 'Based On A T.R.U. Story', 'I’m Different' stands out far more than any Kanye or Drake feature. It barely even needs drums. The piano is everything, like a transmission from Tity Boi’s far-away planet. Mustard’s keys are the most memorable part of that album, making for an ideal stage that gets cleared of clutter for 2 Chainz to act a fool on. If you haven’t heard Freddie Gibbs do homicidal things to this beat, you better act right. 'I'm Different' gave 2 Chainz more character than his entire sophomore album does. That's (the beat) saying something.