Childish Major wants his legacy to be remembered “as the guy who inspired everybody.” Hailing from South Carolina, the producer turned artist (but still makes fire beats) is a creative in his own right — unleashing some of the hardest R&B records in the game. Through his endeavors as a musician from son \gwriting to composing, real name Markus Randle gets to live out his dreams on the daily.
Plus, he gets to do it with his best friends. Currently residing in Atlanta, the Grammy-nominated artist has worked with everyone from Future to SZA to Fall Out Boy to the A’s own Jeezy. Plus if you remember Rocko’s 2013 smash “U.O.E.N.O”… yup, that was Childish. In 2017, Major released his critically-acclaimed debut studio album Woo$ah with guest features from 6lack, Dram, SZA, and Isaiah Rashad. But his standout moment arrived when hit single “Supply Luh” was picked up for Issa Rae’s Insecure.
Beyond the accolades, Childish is unapologetically black and a music-lover to the core. This year, he follows it up with his latest release titled Dirt Road Diamond spearheaded by romantic ballad “For You.” Flaunt Mag caught up with Childish ahead of his opening set for Arin Ray at The Roxy on Sunset in Los Angeles to discuss his new album DIRT ROAD DIAMOND, working with Issa Rae, friendship with Billie Eilish, and more!
How do you like Atlanta compared to South Carolina?
I love Atlanta, it’s home. It’s more opportunities than where I’m from. There’s a lot of talent out in South Carolina, but they just don’t know what to do with it.
Who else is from South Carolina?
Jeston, Jetson made another one. Super Mario’s from there. Nick Grant, Chris Beatz, a lot of producers.
You were a producer do you ever miss producing?
I still produce. I produce about 65%, 75% of my own shit.
Is it different for you singing over your own production vs someone else’s?
Umm yeah. I like doing both but I like getting with other producers because they give me stuff that I wouldn’t give myself. It’s good to mix it up.
How have you evolved since Woo$ah?
I’m more confident. I’ve become a better writer, a better producer. When collaborating, just knowing when to grab the reins and when to loosen up a little bit. It’s just a feeling now. When you feel stressed and you feel tense in certain areas, it’s probably better to loosen up and let somebody else have fun with it. Instead of feeling like you have to control everything because that’s how I used to be.
Do you engineer too?
Yup, everything. You can’t half ass the craft, quote me on that one.
You get your own masters too right…
Oh yeah for sure, but I collaborate so… yeah. It’s only 100% when I want it to be.
Congrats on DIRT ROAD DIAMOND! What’s the significance in the title?
It’s like how the rose grew from concrete, that type of story. But I’m from South Carolina, so their roads are more relatable to me. [chuckles] I grew up on a dirt road and I feel like I’m a diamond.
What else were you seeing in South Carolina growing up?
In the household, I grew up with my mother and my older sister. It’s country life, walk outside, there’s trees. Big cotton fields, peach tree fields, football games on Fridays, house parties, fights, etc.
Were you involved in those fights?
I’ve been in fights as a kid, but I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t reckless.
At what point did you realize music wanted to be your end-be-all?
Music has always been super important to me but around the age of 13, that’s when I first started attempting to make beats. That’s when I really fell in love with it.
How was your first beat?
It was horrible. Because of how good I am now, I probably could have made something out of what I had, but it wasn’t sounding like what everything else was sounding like in the moment. So I was probably like “oh, this is trash.”
How did you get better?
Honestly listening to the people that I love and trying to imitate them. That’s what made me better. The blend of all of those styles gave me my own style. The Neptunes, Timbaland, 9th Wonder, Jay Z, and Kanye. Those are some of them.
How do you like the new Kanye?
Umm, I get it. I love the influences. I wasn’t a huge fan of the raps on there. “Water” stood out to me and the one he dropped a video for. “Talking to my dad and he said it ain’t Christ-like… ” [singing] “Follow God”? It’s one of those Gods
Have you been to Sunday Service yet?
No, not yet. I’ve been to church though. [chuckles]
What is one thing that you want fans to get from this album?
One thing I want them to get from this album is where you started isn’t where you finished. Continue to press through it and continue to try to better yourself. A lot of people live in their situation and they’re like “this is who I am, this is who I have to be,” and that’s not the case.
“For You” is a vibe, who or what inspired this vision?
Man, all the women in my life honestly. I have mothers, grandmothers, I got play mamas, I got sisters. I have four real sisters, but I have a lot of sisters just in general. Then just the beautiful women I’m attracted to.
So it wasn’t a specific female?
Nah, it was a blend.
Best memory from the video shoot?
Having my mother and sister there. Them seeing the whole production of everything and just being excited about that.
What do they think of this rap career?
They love it! I think the biggest thing is my little sister being inspired and knowing that she can do whatever she wants to do.
What does she want to do?
She’s super into math and science. She’s super smart. She’s super into math and science, it’s dope.
Talk about getting Ludacris on “No Sweat.”
Oh, crazy right? He’s been the homie for a long time but finally finding a record that he actually wanted to jump on was dope. Honestly we haven’t really been pressing the issue as far as getting a record together, it’s been more chopping it up like “yo what do you have going on? What you been on?” He’s always trying to get better. He’s been producing himself so he’s always asking for specific stuff. We finally found a record and he did it immediately.
Y’all link in the A?
Yup! It was dope. He recorded away from me but when I played the record for him, he pulled up to the studio and that was that. [snaps]
Was there anything you learned from him? because he’s a GOAT out here?
Man, trying to tap into that acting money soon. [laughs]
Have you been in any films?
No, nothing major. It’s coming though.What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
My favorite ice cream flavor, anything with caramel. Anything with caramel is it.
Talk about working with Buddy on “Not Numb,” who’s a riot in the studio?
Yes this was a year or so ago. I had “Not Numb,” he had a show in Atlanta and he brought me out. After I left, I was like “pull up to the studio.” He came, I played him the record. He did it immediately and then fell asleep. [chuckles]
Was he faded?
He was probably just tired from being on tour. Honestly but knowing Buddy, he probably was faded.
What was the energy with Olu from EarthGang?
That’s my brother man. The energy with Olu is always very calm and peaceful man. He’s hella energetic but in the space of us being in the studio just me and him, he’s hella chill. We have real chill conversations about life and shit. I played him the record and he did it immediately.
What was the greatest memory from the Dreamville sessions?
Oh I tell this one all of the time. It was walking into the A room and seeing “Costa Rica” being played for the first time. Literally everybody that was in the building was in that room, the energy was just crazy.
What about a second memory?
Ouuu, you want a second memory. The second memory was engineering… I recorded… what’s the name of that song? I forgot the name of the song only because I have a lot of stuff on my mind right now.
What’s on your mind?
This show, I’m excited about the show.
What are you most excited about?
This is my first time being in front of this type of crowd in LA. I’ve done mad shows here, well this is my second time because I did Smokin Grooves. But the other shows that I’ve done here, they’re a little bit different. I came here with Big K.R.I.T., and his fanbase is different. I came through with Billie Eilish and her fanbase is different. Today is going to be a whole different vibe, it’s Arin Ray and Childish Major.
Talk about your friendship with Billie Eilish.
She’s hella cool, I love Billie. She checks on me every now and then, that’s the homie.
How did you initially link with her?
Fucking Instagram. She followed me.
Really, because your music was dope?
I guess yeah, that’s what she said. She’s like “I fuck with your music, I fuck with your shit.” I was like “I fuck with you too.” At that point, I was excited. Then later on finding out we would be going on tour together, that was super dope. She’s l the fucking biggest star right now. It’s fucking insane. It’s a blessing to know that girl.
Is there anything you took away from being on tour with her?
Yes, she’s a fucking super hard worker. Her fans should feel appreciated because the amount of work she does to give them her is incredible. At that moment I realized how much really goes into this shit. Not even what goes into this shit, but what goes into being a superstar.
What do you have to do to get there?
Man, it’s heavy on your mental. It’s heavy on your body, you just have to be dedicated. You have to really love this shit.
And you do right?
What’s your recording process like?
For the most part, I’ll get to the studio probably be by myself. I’ll either start with some keys or some drums, or a sample. Who knows? It can go every which of way but most of the time, I’m in there by myself. Just experimenting and having fun with shit, so just depends on how I’m feeling.
3 things you need in the studio?
Candles! I need candles. I need an almost-done candle so I can put the incense in the candle. [chuckles]
It’s rare to get to the bottom of the candle unless you literally light hella candles.
I light hella candles. What else do I need? I’m going to most likely order some food or drinks.
What are you ordering?
In Atlanta, I’m ordering 656. I’m getting two lobster tails and I’m getting a turkey rib plate. My sides are red beans, rice, and spinach.
How was the talk you did on music and technology at A3C?
I did do a talk on music and technology! I be forgetting hella shit. I think I be smoking like Shirley Ju. [laughs] I’m playing. That talk was dope. Meeting Benoni was super dope, he started off with Issa Rae. Meeting him was super dope and hearing his story and her story, how they got everything together. Because they were a part of my story with Insecure.
What was the best memory from that?
Man, having that on there was the biggest memory. She’s going to go down and history forever and I’m a part of that.