Derrick Milano Wrote Hits For Beyonce, Nas And Megan Thee Stallion. Now He’s Betting On Himself

April 5, 2021

Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!

If you’re a recording artist and you’re looking for the most highly-sought after songwriter to help, look no further than Derrick Milano. 

Waking up to 5 Grammy nominations is one thing — Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” featuring Beyonce (3 nominations), King’s Disease by Nas (1 nomination), and “Changes” by Justin Bieber (1 nomination).

But winning a total of three Grammy’s is something most producers can only dream of and yet that’s what happened this year, thanks to Derrick’s work on Megan Thee Stallion’s#### song “Savage” and as well as his work on Nas’ album King’s Disease.

And the crazy thing is… he’s just getting started.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, raised in Delaware, and now splitting his time between Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta, Derrick is the true definition of a music-lover, dedicating all his waking hours to creating and perfecting his craft. 

Getting his start at the young age of 14 in the basement of his home, Derrick grew up singing in the church choir before rap battling in high school. To date, he boasts a personal catalog of over 700 self-written songs, and he’s ready to debut himself as a recording artist in his own right.

After working with everyone from Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj, Pop Smoke, Nas, and Wiz Khalifa (the list goes on), Derrick is excited as ever to be releasing his own forthcoming debut, reeling in all-star features from all the legends he’s had the pleasure of working with.

AllHipHop: Congrats on everything! How are you feeling?

Derrick Milano: I’m feeling good. Me being humble about everything, staying focused. Wanting to get more and next year aiming to get more for myself. 

AllHipHop: Are you going to do all that?

Derrick Milano: Of course, I’m still getting started. Trying to conquer one thing at a time. My main thing at first was to make sure with the writing, try to be the best. Try to accomplish everything I could possibly do before I focus on my artist stuff, so I could have that leverage. The fact I’ve got multiple Platinum records, worked with Pop, worked with Megan, worked with Nicki, and so on then the 3 Grammys, it makes a story where it makes more sense than just being “a writer.”

AllHipHop: First of all, how’d it feel to be nominated for 5 Grammys?!

Derrick Milano: That was crazy. I’m grateful to be a part of it because they could’ve called anybody to help with Beyonce’s part on “Savage.” The fact I was one of the people called along with The-Dream, Starrah, Pardison, a lot of my peers made it dope that I’m in that realm of conversation.

AllHipHop: How’d it feel to win the Grammy for “Savage,” Best Rap Performance and Rap Song?

Derrick Milano: Man, that felt great. It felt good for the simple fact that for me, I’ve always been the underdog when it came to writing. I don’t get invited to nothing, people don’t really think to hit me for certain stuff. 

AllHipHop: How long ago was that? Coming up you mean?

Derrick Milano: Mmhmm. Remember, I started writing 2.5 years ago. When I first started, it was the Kevin Gates stuff. People looked at it like that’s all I could do. The fact I got my first Grammy with Beyonce, another Grammy with Nas, Megan’s first Grammy is amazing. It’s history.

AllHipHop: How’d you end up working on “Spicy” from Nas’ King’s Disease? 

Derrick Milano: Hit-Boy had did the beat and called me one morning, said “can you pull up to the studio? I’m at Chalice.” I said “yeah.” It was 8, 9 in the morning. 

AllHipHop: Really?

Derrick Milano: He be up early. I pull up, he said “yo Nas is about to pull up. We been recording working on this project, but we need one.” Alright bet, so he played me the beat. Nas came in, he said “yeah man, I know you worked with Pop. I need something that’s going to be hot man, something that’s going to be dope for New York.” I said “cool. I did that “Christopher Walking” f <https://www.realpopsmoke.com/videos/pop-smoke-christopher-walking-official-video>or Pop Smoke, that’s a big song in New York. If you’re going to touch that pocket, you gotta say something that’s relevant right now to get the new, young people on it.” I came up with that hook, collaborated on a few other things on there, then the song came out. They tried to make it a bonus ‘cause I guess they weren’t 100% confident it was gonna be…

AllHipHop: It’s with Fivio Foreign and A$AP Ferg!

Derrick Milano: On the respect of Nas, I think he looked at it like “I don’t want to be looked at like me trying to be a young n*gga.” It was dope that record stuck out, that record was the one that everybody listened to on that particular album. That was super exciting, especially to help Fivio, he gets a Grammy on that. For me, it’s working with the underdogs, giving people opportunity and making history with people I work with. It goes a little bit further than working with something that’s expected. 

AllHipHop: Nas is a legend, talk about working with a real spitter.

Derrick Milano: Facts, for sure. It was amazing, it was dope because it’s Nas. That’s like rapping with Andre 3000 or somebody like that, it was for sure dope. 

AllHipHop: Highlights or memories from recording at Chalice?

Derrick Milano: The reaction of the room when we had got the song done. The reaction of the room was dope, the energy was dope. Us trying to figure out who we’re going to put on it was dope.

AllHipHop: What inspires you in the studio? What motivates you the most? 

Derrick Milano: I be thinking about making something that happens every time. Every time I leave the studio, I make sure I work on something that’s going to touch the market. I go in and off how I’m feeling that day. If it goes it goes, if it doesn’t it doesn’t. I don’t really beat myself up or think about it too much, you’ll get yourself caught up.

Derrick Milano
Derrick Milano

AllHipHop: Has the price gone up?

Derrick Milano: Of course. Certain n*ggas can’t even talk to me anymore, especially the ones that ain’t pay before. It’s a little bit different now. I’m still the same person. I’m still going to be humble, but there’s definitely people who treat it a certain way or try to dodge certain stuff. They handle business on certain things where okay, you can’t try that no more. Next time you want to work, this is what it is.

AllHipHop: Talk about your work on Justin Bieber’s Changes.

Derrick Milano: I worked on the “Available” record with Poo Bear and Javale McGee. We did it at Record Plant [Studios], shout out to Kid Culture. He called me like “yo Poo Bear wants to meet you.” I pulled up on him, we worked on that song. I didn’t hear anything for months, then Poo Bear called me one day. I was in Miami, he said “happy birthday, congratulations.” We found out we’re on that. Damn, Justin Bieber now? When I be looking at my catalog, it’s amazing to me to see where it started at and where it is now. 

AllHipHop: Are you spiritual at all? Good things happen to good people.

Derrick Milano: Yeah, sometimes. With certain things for sure.

AllHipHop: How was it working with Poo Bear?

Derrick Milano: It was dope. I’d love to work with him again, he’s like a ghost though. You don’t see him like that. When you see him, you know it’s about some money. He’s been working with Bieber forever, it’s a little different. 

AllHipHop: What is your favorite song you’ve written?

Derrick Milano: Probably “Christopher Walking,” it was the first song I worked on with Pop. It made a whole statement for it saying “outside,” for what’s going on with everything. One of those records that people are always going to remember, one of my favorite ones for sure.

AllHipHop: How’d you link with Pop?

Derrick Milano: Shout out to Steven Victor, he called me and said “yo, I heard that you’re dope.” I think AE told him about me. He said “yo I’ve got this kid man, he needs some dope ideas. I’ma send you some beats, tell me if you like them.” S###, alright. Shot me them ideas, sent them back. After that it’s been history.

AllHipHop: What was your reaction when Pop passed?

Derrick Milano: That s### hurt a lot ‘cause he was so young. In the same breath, he didn’t really get a chance to see how much the world loved him. It was sad. I liked working with him off the simple fact that it was a new sound, it was dope. For me, damn I could actually take this kid who’s making songs to making bigger records. That affected me on the aspect of knowing the type of person he was. I still keep in contact with his family and his friends. 

AllHipHop: I saw your post that said you were pushing your SoundCloud on people in high school. How passionate were you then about the music?

Derrick Milano: It’s always been the same. I never let nobody tell me I couldn’t do nothing. I like when people doubt me. I like when people look at me like I can’t do something because it puts a battery on my back to do it. Even when I was going through that with the schools, it didn’t discourage me at all, it motivated me to keep doing it. Clearly, I was doing something right. 

AllHipHop: Who are your top artists in rotation? Do you listen to other people or do you listen to your ownshit?

Derrick Milano: To be honest, I listen to my own s### now. When I do listen, I listen to a lot of older music to get a little bit of inspiration. A few of the artists that I do respect and do listen to when they put stuff out, I like Roddy a lot. That’s one of my close friends, I’ve been knowing Roddy early. Been knowing Roddy since he did “Fucc It Up.”

AllHipHop: How?

Derrick Milano: Instagram.

AllHipHop: Really? Like before Dallas found him?

Derrick Milano: Yeah, a little bit before Dallas. ‘Cause we’re all going to Traplantic, we’re all in that studio. When I didn’t really have nothing going on, he was still working. This was before Feed Tha Streets, around that time. Shout out to Knxwledge, Knxwledge really linked us. Toosii, that’s my brother. Of course Thug, when he puts stuff out. 100%. Those are my 3. 

AllHipHop: What do you do when you’re not making music?

Derrick Milano: I’m on Clubhouse. I’m trying to be the icon, so make sure y’all follow me on Clubhouse.

AllHipHop: What do you like about Clubhouse?

Derrick Milano: I like the fact that since we can’t do this stuff now like it was before, it gives me the opportunity to speak. People get connected with me as a person so when my music comes out, people can feel it and know the type of person I am. I’m one of those people you have to meet and really understand where I come from, know the type of person I am to really fall in love with Derrick Milano rather than seeing stuff and posting stuff. It’s dope. 

AllHipHop: What you be spitting on there?

Derrick Milano: Everything. I be telling people the ins and outs of the music business. Sometimes we go on there roasting people. It depends. It’s like Instagram on steroids.

AllHipHop: What’s been the wildest Clubhouse moment?

Derrick Milano: Man. it’s a lot. The wildest one is I did a little Grammy speech, which was dope. Everybody had came into the room, then my mom spoke in the room. It was dope.

AllHipHop: Anyone you want to work with that you haven’t yet?

Derrick Milano: Yeah, Rihanna. Who else? That’s really it.

AllHipHop: What can we expect from Derrick Milano as an artist?

Derrick Milano: It’s fire.

AllHipHop: Are we going to get love? Are we going to get melodic?

Derrick Milano: It’s both. The name of the project is called Somebody’s Son. I’m that person that people want to be around, especially women so it makes it cool. I was seeing all those memes of being somebody’s son, it’s dope on that aspect. Giving a story intertwined with it so people don’t know what they’re expecting when they see the cover, when they hear the songs or read the song titles.

AllHipHop: Somebody’s Son, what does your mom think?

Derrick Milano: She loves it. She’s excited.

AllHipHop: What can we expect on the cover art?

Derrick Milano: Some cool stuff, maybe some Al B. Sure! vibes.

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