Miley Cyrus (left) and Mike Will Made It attend the MTV Video Music Awards at the Barclays Center on Aug. 25, 2013, in New York.
(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris, WireImage)
After months of violating foam fingers, bathtubs and wrecking balls, Miley Cyrus has finally unleashedBangerz to the world - but not without the help of Mike Will Made It.
The Atlanta-bred hip-hop producer also known as Mike Will - or by his full name, Michael Williams - has blasted onto the charts with smashes such as Kanye West's Mercy, Rihanna's Pour It Up, Ciara'sBody Party and Cyrus' We Can't Stop.
The latter track, a party anthem originally intended for Rihanna, became the battle cry that launched Miley 2.0 after Williams took it to the pop star's label in hopes that she'd love it. (Spoiler alert: She did.)
"The song reminded her of different parties she had been to," says Williams, 24. "It just ended up connecting with her."
From there, the unlikely duo hammered out Williams' own single, 23 (featuring Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J), and another Bangerz track, My Darlin' featuring Future, which he says officially made him a Cyrus fan. The beatmaker soon became executive producer of her album, crafting eight tracks that appear on the 13-song release, out Tuesday.
"The whole album was bangers, and that's actually how she came up with the title," Williams says. "Everybody was like, 'Yo, so how's your album sounding?' And we were just saying, 'We got all bangers.' "
The in-demand young producer got his start making beats at age 14, but began producing mixtape tracks for 2 Chainz, Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane just two years later. Since then, Williams has racked up quite an illustrious resume. He scored his first big hit with 2 Chainz's No Lie (1.4 million copies sold), followed by Future'sTurn On the Lights and Juicy J's Bandz a Make Her Dance.
"He's really leaped ahead as one of the premier artists cranking out hard hip-hop beats that are nothing less than infectious," says Chuck Creekmur, CEO of AllHipHop.com. "It's an incredible ascension. ... In an era where a lot of producers have fallen behind the scenes again, (he) has jumped to the forefront as an interesting character."
Williams is currently tinkering away on his debut effort, Est. in 1989 Pt. 3 (The Album), a triple-disc album expected out on Interscope Records in early 2014, which features Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and Future. Taking a page from Cyrus' playbook, the hitmaker is aiming for an album full of bangers, and hoping to exceed expectations set by his recent string of successes.
It's been a year for proving that "I can work with all these different kinds of artists and still be able to come up with huge records," Williams says. "Not just cool records, but game-changing records. I feel like this is the first year that the public's looking at it like, 'OK, man, Mike Will made it. He's dope.'"
And how does he feel about Cyrus, whose Bangerz has already received a mixed bag of glowing notices and lukewarm reviews?
"She's bulletproof, man, I don't think she can really lose," Williams says. "Some people thought her MTV (Video Music Awards) performance was just like, a mess, and some people were like, 'Oh, she's on drugs,' or 'Oh, she's losing it.' "
But the singer's new MTV documentary, Miley: The Movement, reveals that "it was an organized mess, it was strategic," he says. "She's a really cool person, she's really talented and she really cares about her music."