Hailing from Atlanta, Childish Major proves he’s much more than just a producer role, stepping into the limelight as a solo artist. From credits on Rocko’s standout single “U.O.E.N.O.” from 2013 to J. Cole’s “4 Your Eyez Only” in 2016, there’s no doubt real name Markus Randle has an ear for what is needed to make a hit record. Read more…
For Childish, the main goal is always to be able to connect to the people, taking listeners through his own struggles and life experiences. With the release of his debut project, Woo$ah, fans were welcomed with guest appearances from 6lack, Isaiah Rashad, DRAM, SZA — and even a J. Cole-produced “Supply Luh.” In fact, the record even found its way to an episode of HBO’s Insecure, validating the 26-year-old’s capabilities behind the mic.
For those who don’t know, who is Childish Major?
Childish Major is a producer. He’s an artist. He’s an engineer. He’s a music head, and a lover of everybody.
How has living in Atlanta influenced your sound?
It keeps my music soulful. Keeps it down to earth. Always knocking, like the drums have to hit. It always has to have soul.
That’s interesting. I feel like Atlanta is full of the turn up like Migos.
There’s two sides. You have people who are influenced by trap, for sure, which is the main one that people think about when they think about Atlanta. But then you gotta remember the Dungeon Family and OutKast and what they inspired too. There’s definitely both sides.
You’re opening for Big K.R.I.T. tonight in LA. How important is it to come LA as an up and coming artist?
LA is super important as an independent artist. The business is out here, so there are a lot of learning and networking opportunities.
What’s been the hardest part of transitioning from producer to artist?
The hardest part for me has just been making the decision on exactly how I want to present myself to the world. I think that’s been at one of the most difficult things, but I think I pretty much got it figured out at this point.
Are you enjoying the artistry?
I’m loving it! They go hand-in-hand. You wouldn’t tell Stevie Wonder to just stick to producing. He does both.
Are people reaching out to you more for the artistry?
Oh, for sure. We have a lot of features.
I was going to say, your Woo$ah album has some of music’s greatest (from SZA to Isaiah Rashad to 6lack), what do you look for in a feature and vice versa?
Most of those people are like friends, or people that I came across and we actually got to vibe. It wasn’t like, “I want this person on there — let me just have somebody hit them up.” It’s like these are people that I know. Just people that I admire.
How do you know all these people?
From being a producer. Being a producer just opened a lot of doors for me — that way [Migos voice]. And when I met a lot of these people, I wasn’t an artist. At first, I was just testing stuff out. And they rocked with me enough.
You and J. Cole both hail from relatively the same area (Carolinas). Take us back to your first session with Cole and what that was like.
Funny enough, the first session was different than the first meeting. The first time I met Cole, he invited me out to the Shelter, which is like the studio home for Dreamville. I was there with everybody in the Dreamville camp at first. We were just all making music and stuff. And Cole walks into the house and was like, “Hey, does everybody want to go to the movies?” So we went to the movies and then after that, that’s when we finally got to rapping and stuff.
What movie did you see?
The Revenant with my guy Leonardo DiCaprio.
How was the first session then?
The first session was fire. A lot of it was me just playing him random beats that I had cooked up earlier that day. Then, he played me some of the stuff that he had been working on, which then became to be “4 Your Eyez Only.”
How are you feeling with his new album dropping? Do you have any work on there?
I don’t have any work on there, but I introduced him to the artist that did his cover. Shoutout to Sixmau.
Being around Cole and the Dreamville family, what is your take on the music industry?
That it doesn’t have to be the way that it’s presented… I’m not going to say the media. But just overall. People talk about the music industry like, “Oh, it’s shiesty. iIt’s grimy.” it doesn’t have to be that. That’s what I learned from being around Dreamville.
What do you want fans to get from your story?
I want them to get that anything is possible. And not even in like the kid way, but the literal way. If there’s something that you want to do… because of where you’re from doesn’t mean, you can’t do it.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I don’t know. [laughs]
“U.O.E.N.O.” was a smash. What happened to Rocko?
From my perspective, Rocko’s always been a businessman. So he did music for the love or the passion of it, or the sport of it. I don’t think he ever had to just make music. So I think Rocko is just somewhere getting money.
What do you think of this new wave of rappers and how quickly they’re gaining stature in the rap game?
I mean they’re using it to the best of their ability and I admire that. I admire the fearlessness, I guess, that they portray. I’m not a fan of everything, but I don’t know. It’s just interesting. It’s just very interesting.
How is it opening for Big KRIT and CyHi The Prynce who are both well-respected lyricists in the game?
Inspiring, motivating. It makes me want to go harder. When I get off tour and make more music, I’m going to go harder because of this experience.
What’s been the best part?
The best part has just been connecting with the fans. So like after the show is done and everything — and hitting the doors on the let out — and just talking to the people and getting their perspective of my music, other people’s music, and just chopping it up with them about their city. That’s probably the best part for me.
You’re only 26. What do you want your legacy to be?
A shifter of the culture in the same sense that Quincy did. Kanye did, Jay Z did. Pharrell did. Cole. Kendrick. I want people to feel my impact on music and culture.
Three things you need in the studio?
Great vibes, of course. A great pair of headphones. I don’t even know. [laughs] I need it to be clean, but I guess that’s not a thing is it? I got to get this last one. What do I need?
Do you smoke?
I drink. A cup. Let’s just say a cup.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
At this moment, Jakob Ogawa.
Who is that?
He’s an alternative artist. You ever heard of Clairo? You should check him out. But Jakob Ogawa is definitely the most played artist. I’m not even going to call him alternative. It’s like straight up R&B, but it’s like very soulful.
Frank Ocean and Pharrell.
Tell me about your necklace.
So this is my reminder that just because you get a check, doesn’t mean you have to buy a chain. [laughs] Nah, this is from “U.O.E.N.O.” — that time period. Just like a gift to myself. Kind of like a trophy, but I just wear it as a reminder not to buy another one.
What’s next? I love Woo$ah.
Thank you for loving Woo$ah. Be on the lookout for more music.
You working on a new project?
I’m working on the next project now, but I have songs that I am going to drop. And I have videos, so just be on the lookout for that.
Is there anything else you want to let Young California know?
Pull up to these shows man.