A quick glance at producer JWhiteDidIt’s Instagram feed, filled with countless #SavageChallenge reposts and videos of him joyously dancing in his kitchen to old school classics, will show you he has plenty to be amped up about.
His latest motive for celebration includes the success of “Savage,” his recent hit with Megan Thee Stallion (off March’s Suga EP), which has taken social media by an absolute storm thanks to a viral dance challenge. The song shot up the charts and currently sits at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated April 18.
Those familiar with JWhiteDidIt’s work know he is certainly no stranger to the charts. The Kansas City-born, Dallas-raised producer is the man behind Hot 100 chart-topping hits like “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” by Cardi B, and has also worked with hitmakers like Iggy Azalea, Eric Bellinger and Plies.
“Savage” bloomed from a seed JWhiteDidIt planted well over a year ago, when he contacted Megan after stumbling upon one of her freestyle videos on social media. To no one’s surprise, the musical compatibility between the two Texas-bred minds was effortless and instantaneous, and the very first song they cut together would later become the undeniable standout track from Megan’s latest project, SUGA.
“I can’t even lie to you,” he says with a laugh. “It wasn’t even some deeply thought out and long process at all. She just hit me like, ‘J. White! I need a beat I can go off on!’ and I said ‘I’ll give you a beat you can go off on!’ It didn’t take me long to make the record. She did her verse and we cut it in Miami. Those sounds and Megan’s voice were such a perfect marriage. When I heard her go off on it, I was like, ‘Sweet baby Jesus, she is a star.”
Nearly every time, J White’s strategy is simple and straightforward: to make “sounds that fill up an entire room.” This minimal mantra has carried him to the top. His story behind the birth of Cardi B’s monstrous hit, “Bodak Yellow” also echoes his knack for creating hits with little time, as the life-changing song was created with 15 minutes of work. For another successful Cardi collaboration, “Money,” the song is anchored by two raw and potent piano notes for its entirety.
Although it’s difficult to summarize White’s catalogue with a singular description, it’s safe to say hard-hitting piano sounds are his signature:“[Savage’s] core is actually jazz piano chords. I actually really get a good kick out of watching everyone on the internet now dancing to some jazz chords,” he laughs.
His deeply-rooted attraction for bold piano melodies comes from his childhood, which was spent daily at church with his grandmother as the warm gospel music voices and keys became his solace and rescue. The influences behind his present-day career decorated in platinum plaques and Grammy nominations stem from a long journey filled with uncertainty and fear. He spent copious amounts of time enveloped in the comforting sounds of the church after not being able to be with his mother, who was in and out of jail for a majority of White’s upbringing. In 2015, she was murdered in an act of domestic violence.
“I remember I used to sit by the door and pray the next person to knock and come in would be my mom,” he says. “She was my best friend. That brought me to the lowest part of my entire journey. Everything was crashing down.”
The rough times in his life pushed him to embrace discomfort and train his mind to turn losses into wins. “I had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” he says while reflecting on how he pulled himself back up. “I learned that winning is in your mind, and losing is in your mind, so which one are you going to believe in?”
It was from then on where White’s career as a producer kicked into full gear. He packed his bags and moved to New York City the following year, where his connection with Klenord “Shaft” Raphael linked White to Cardi B, Raphael being their then mutual manager. White moved to New York with a goal to create hit records with an NY-native artist, and wound up concocting a global hit as a result of his “go big or go home” drive. “Some people want to just swing to get on first base, and that’s fine. But nothing feels better than hitting a home run while the bases were loaded,” he says.
Although music is his forte, J White’s intentions with his talents stretch far beyond chasing his own next Hot 100 hit. He’s steadily working on his next goal: instill positivity in other creators and launch his label, More Hits on the Way, to be a home for them. “I’m trying to plant my own tree and bear my own fruit,” he says.