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Purps on the Beat Became a Producer While Still in High School

The LA native has worked with Migos, Juice WRLD, and others

Mz Free, a young Black woman in a black dress wearing a gold necklace and hoop earrings, smiles as she stands to the right of Purps on the Beat. Purps, a white man with a dark beard and moustache in a black shirt with a multi-colored image printed on it, smiles with his mouth closed as he puts his hand around Mz Free's shoulders.

Purps, known professionally as “Purps on The Beat,” is a Los Angeles producer who’s been producing and engineering for artists like Migos, Wiz Khalifa, and Waka Flocka the last 15 years. He is one of the original members of the producer collective 808 Mafia, a production team created in 2010 by Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame. 

I met up with him at his studio in North Hollywood for an interview. Upon walking in I was greeted by platinum and gold plaques on the wall from various songs he produced, like “All Ass,” by Migos, and “Hear Me Calling,” by the late rapper Juice WRLD. 

Purps was born in West Los Angeles but moved all around the area to places like Culver City, Topanga, and Van Nuys as a kid. When he was five, he briefly went to live with his father in Russia. He doesn’t remember much, but he does know it didn’t last. “My dad was like, ‘Yo, I can’t handle this kid,’ so he shipped me back to my mom.”

From then on, he grew up in a single mother household and remembers his mom hustling hard to keep up their middle-class lifestyle. “That’s where I get my hustle from, my mom.”

Purps remembers constantly getting kicked out of schools for his rebellious behavior. The school district later convinced his mom to put him in a boarding school for children with behavior issues. He attended for two years but eventually got his act together and was able to return back into public school. He started hanging out in the streets more, smoking marijuana and tagging with his friends. “I was just a stoner kid in school, and I was considered a bad kid in the Westside because over there you’re doing a bunch of shit like tagging, like Culver City, Venice Area. Back like 20 years ago, that shit was not gentrified. It was hood.”

Once he moved to Topanga at age 13, Purps was able to experience life through a new lens. “That shit was a culture shock for me. I’m literally a broke boy, literally had nothing, then all of a sudden I’m with all these rich people. That shit was kind of weird for me.” 

Around that age, he taught himself how to play guitar and piano. He always had a love for music and beat-making but never pursued it. “I was really like a music nerd. I would burn CDs and make mixtapes of every song that I liked. I was always curating my own style of what I like.” Some of his musical inspirations growing up were 311 and Limp Bizkit. “I was so obsessed with Limp Bizkit, and I liked the guitar player and he would talk about a band named Ween. So I looked up the band and literally that band changed my life. It had all these styles of music and it just inspired me because they was doing shit on like four-track recorders and cassettes and shit.”  

Purps began recording himself playing instruments on cassette tapes. While attending Taft High School in Woodland Hills he met a group of friends who also made music. They discovered a website called SoundClick where they were able to upload and sell their beats directly to artists. “This was before SoundCloud. This was right when MySpace and all that shit happened.’” Purps began to upload and sell his beats on the site and by his sophomore year, he dropped out and became a full-time producer. Purps continued making and selling beats online. At age 21, he caught a break: He met DJ Skee through a family friend, and was offered an intern position at his studio. “I’m doing regular intern stuff, running Twitter, getting food and during that time I met the New Boyz,” an LA rap group that came to fame in 2009 during the “Jerking Era.” The group consisted of rappers Ben J and Legacy. “They was like, ‘Purps, you’re the one from SoundClick.’ They already knew who I was. They got some of my beats when they were kids. So I started sending them beats. I did stuff on both their albums so that was like my first placement.” 

During the same period, Purps would mingle and go to different club events to network. That’s when he met  Waka Flocka Flame. “Back then getting on an album was a big deal for a producer. Especially for me,” he says. Purps went on to make several songs with Waka Flocka, one of them being “Homies” off his album Flockaveli. “I utilized it to my best. I’m an internet producer that came from absolutely nothing and now I’m fucking with Waka and I got my first bigger placement.” 

At age 21, Purps started working at Kush House Records Recording Studio in Thousand Oaks. He was the main producer and was able to continue to network to promote his beats. He also continued to sell his beats online. “I was like, ‘This shit isn’t paying enough.’ Even being with Waka and being in 808 Mafia I was still selling beats online. I had to. If I didn’t, my bills wouldn’t get paid.” He continued producing at Kush House while he was networking and branching out. He did several placements with 808 Mafia and was able to collaborate with artists from all over, never forgetting where he started and who helped him along the way. He continued producing and engineering at Kush House and would bring several different artists there to record, such as Ice Burgandy and Currency. “I was able to use their studio, while I’m helping their artists do their thing. During that period I had a place to like work, so I was bringing artists over there that I wanted to work with for my pleasure.” 

Although Purps makes beats with the 808 Mafia collective, he also does a lot of solo work. But through his connections and networking he’s been able to live out his childhood dreams. 

He’s made multiple unreleased songs with lead singer of Limp Bizkit Fred Durst and he also made “Dad Vibes” off their current album. Purps has placements with Wiz Khalifa, the late Juice WRLD, Gucci Mane, The Migos, Currency, LA rapper Ice Burgandy, and more. He also has a record called “Channing All Over Your Tatum,” a jingle Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum did for a Jimmy Kimmel Live skit. 

Purps currently resides in North Hollywood and owns his own recording studio. He privately rents it out but mostly uses it as a sanctuary for making beats. I’ve had the honor of being able to record several interviews there. 

Purps became very successful in the mainstream producing world and still remains appreciative and humble. He’s currently preparing to drop the single he produced with popular LA rappers Fenix Flexin and 03 Greedo. Because he remembers where he came from, he doesn’t let his image overshadow the talent. “I really do appreciate a lot and I appreciate every person that’s supported me. Or anyone that has listened to my music. That’s really dope.” Purps wants to see everyone win and encourages his supporters out there to stay true to themselves and the craft. “Chase your dreams and be positive. We live in a crazy world where it’s hard to find the frequency you want, but you know in your heart the frequency you want and you really just need to chase that and not care about what anyone else has to say. Listen to the radio station you like and once you dial in on it, channel that sound.”