ATLANTA UNTRAPPED: OG Parker and Deko talk hip-hop at Level Up Atlanta's Connecting the Dots
The producers behind Migos ‘Slippery’ and ‘Walk It Talk It’ revel in the city’s biggest rap hits
Baltimore transplant Malita Rice has had several jobs within the music industry, including working as a talent agent for artists and producers such as Que, Metro Boomin, and Sonny Digital. She currently manages Atlanta-based producers OG Parker and Deko.
Rice is speaking to a group of people aspiring to break into the music industry this weekend. Known professionally as Malita the Mogul, Rice will discuss her resume and her experiences as a woman thriving in a male dominated industry ("Obstacles are only obstacles if you look at it in a negative way.") during Level Up Atlanta's Connecting the Dots event on Feb. 25. Rice will participate in a conversation with A3C Editor-in-chief Ashley Vance as a part of the event. Connecting the Dots, which will take place from 3 p.m.-6 p.m., will also feature a networking portion and free drinks.
Rice certainly has a lot of insight to share. In the past year alone, her clients have created some of the most popular songs in hip-hop. Since meeting each other and breaking into the industry a few years ago, local producers OG Parker and Deko have worked together to create popular songs such as Migos' "Slippery' and, more recently, "Walk It Talk It.” The latter is a repetitive, braggadocious bass-heavy song that immediately became a fan favorite when Migos’ released Culture II earlier this year. Most notably, the track marks the Atlanta trio’s first collaboration with Drake since the remix of “Versace” in 2013.
Both OG Parker and Deko have found success individually, too. OG Parker, a Fayette County native signed to Atlanta label Quality Control, co-produced Chris Brown's "Pills and Automobiles." Deko, a Roswell native and Warner Bros. signee, also works as an artist. In addition to their work as producers, the duo is a part of an EDM group, Merge, that is expected to release a project later this year.
I spoke with OG Parker and Deko recently about their careers thus far:
How did growing up in Atlanta influence you as a musician?
OG Parker: My granddad taught at Morehouse for 10 years and my mom danced for Alvin Ailey. I feel like growing up in other places music might not be as prevalent in your life at an early age [as it is in Atlanta]. It's in our blood. We really grew up on all of this stuff and were always around it. I think it was a huge part with the rap and trap music we make how we do it intuitively.
Deko: Growing up in Atlanta, there was a good positive energy that anyone can make it. [Now,] It's an incredible time to live in Atlanta. It's a place where the dream of art isn't dead.
How did you two start working together?
OG Parker: We met through OG Maco with the OGG Collective. We started going to each other's houses and making beats. It was just a different chemistry than making music with other people.
Deko: We both trust what the other person does so much that someone might lay something down, and it’s cool for the other person to go in and switch it up or make changes.
What sets your beats apart from other producers who make trap productions?
Deko: We like to experiment with sound design. A lot of songs have high hats, 808s, snares and claps but we've taken the time to make our own snares and claps. We make sure to switch it up. We make sure not to use the same presets.
OG Parker: Every time we make a beat it’s really different. When we made “Slippery” I had just come home from California and I was making a bunch of trap beats because everyone in California wanted pop stuff.
How does it feel to work with artists you grew up listening to?
OG Parker: It’s awesome. I was in the studio with Gucci [Mane] one day and I remember being in middle school listening to his music and now we're sitting there talking.
Deko, how does being an artist influence your work as a producer?
Deko: “I just love making good music. It [allows me to have] a different perspective when I’m making beats for other people. As a producer it’s awesome to have super dope and complex songs, but coming at it from the artist angle it’s almost the simpler the better. It’s a cool mindset to see how dumbing it down can make it a lot better.”