UTG INTERVIEW: FKi’s 1st Talks ‘First Time For Everything’


1st has spent much of his career outside the immediate gaze of hip-hop’s spotlight, but he’s no stranger to the success that it entails. Half of Atlanta’s trap production-duo, FKi, the multi-faceted artist’s career began in the studios of Collipark Music and quickly ascended after a basement-studio session with Travis Porter resulted in two Billboard-charting singles. Since that fateful day, 1st has worked behind the boards alongside a staggering list of names including the likes of Young Thug, Travis Scott, Mac Miller, T.I. and 2 Chainz, not to mention his role in kick-starting the careers of Iggy Azalea and “White Iverson” crooner Post Malone.

With backing from Diplo’s Mad Decent, though, the purveyor of sauce will soon enter the spotlight on his own terms as he prepares for the release of his solo debut: First Time For Everything. While there’s no confirmed release date just yet, we caught up with 1st to discuss mixing emo vibes with Atlanta’s certified sauce, cooking up with the legendary Heatmakerz, and a few collaborations that have serious potential to dominate the airwaves come 2016.

UTG: First Time For Everything is set to drop through Mad Decent. How’s your relationship with Diplo evolved over the years?

1st: We first connected back in 2010, just being creative and making beats. The respect level I have for him has just grown because he’s really the busiest nigga ever – from being a dad to being in the studio to traveling every fucking day and still being successful. So I have learned a lot.

More importantly, how’s it feel to be releasing a solo record away from FKi?

I have always been making my own music. So I just feel like it’s time. The sauce has been sealed up for too long. It’s time to spread it across the world.

The record’s first single features production from Heatmakerz; what’d you take away from working with them in the studio?

They’re legends, man – responsible for Dipset, one of the most memorable crews or rap squads of all time. They produced some of my favorite songs – “I’m Ready,” “Dipset Anthem.” I’m actually the first producer they’ve ever made a beat with so that’s an honor.

Are there any other producers you’ve been cooking up with for the record? How about other rappers?

My bros from Atlanta like Sonny Digital. And my bro Post, also Loudpvck. I have collabs with Uzi, Key, ASAP Rocky… You just gotta wait and check out the whole project.

“Hurtin” leans toward the darker side of Atlanta hip-hop. Can we expect more of that style on First Time?

Yeah, that’s just my sauce. I listen to a lot of slow emo music so I like to mix it with our Atlanta sauce. There’s a lot of kickback music on it.

Makonnen recently dropped an EP featuring a guest verse from you on the track “Forever.” What was the creative process like with him in the studio?

Makonnen is amazing and he always has dragon treats. And he’s an amazing piano player – people dont know. He was just playing the piano and singing. He’s a comedian really. Then I made the beat to it and we knew we had to finish it.

I know there’s also going to be a “Forever Pt. 2” on First Time. How does it differ from the original track?

We both knew we wanted the song on our projects. My version is more personal. It was the way I saw it. We agreed on the topic of the song but we did our verses differently.

The Atlanta hip-hop scene seems like a giant extended family. How does it feel to see a lot of that same family running hip-hop right now?

First and foremost, like I’ve been saying, Atlanta has all the sauce and it spreads around the world. People like tasting it and they try to remake it, but it doesn’t taste the same. Metro is going crazy – I still remember meeting him back in the day at Sonny Digital’s house. It’s an amazing thing because we have grown up together and all [are] becoming famous and successful in our own ways and creating history.

Mike Giegerich

Mike Giegerich is a freelance journalist with an affinity for the hip-hop scene. His top-five favorite records of all time are Future's last five releases. Feel free to blow up his mentions on Twitter.
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