How producer HittMaker’s high school grind is preparing him for the big leagues
Ever find yourself reminiscing about your childhood? What about living with no fears while simultaneously believing you could become anything you aspired to be?
Your only worries were school, chores and making sure you peeped the new SpongeBob episode airing on Nickelodeon. However, for many reasons, somewhere during our pre-teen years, that train of thought slowly disappears.
For the 18-year-old producer/engineer Paul Whittaker, his story is a little different.
We’ve all experienced the “my way or the highway” phase growing up. It’s understandable that while living under your parent’s roof you must follow their rules… or else. Unfortunately, in most households, there’s not much give and take.
Instead of following your dreams, most parents persuade you to focus on more practical careers. Aware of this, Whittaker did not fold the cards he was dealt. He decided to play.
Basketball was Paul’s first love. Although he was a full-fledged hooper, he always had a passion for music. In the spring of 2013, Whittaker was cut from his eighth-grade basketball team. Bummed out by the news, but not tripping over it, he was at a crossroads.
Kulture Hub caught up with the hooper-turned-producer recently where he explained,
“I was heavy with basketball and I was kinda doing the music thing. At one point I was like f*ck I’m not gonna do this basketball sh*t no more. So I just put my all into the music and then I finally realized like damn I kind of have a talent for this so I might as well go all out.”
After walking away from basketball for good, Whittaker was ready to embrace his new life as a producer, sparking the birth of his new moniker HittMaker.
From his freshman year leading up to his graduation earlier this summer, HittMaker focused all his energy on his craft.
“During the summers I was making beats 24/7 trying to link up with anybody that I can off of SoundCloud and Instagram. Then when school hit, that’s 7-8 hours out of my day. I would do my homework as soon as I got home so I had as much time for beat making as possible. I would end up going to bed at like 2 or 3 am and wake up at 6 am everyday. It got tiring but I loved it.”
HittMaker’s buzz was beginning to build in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Aware of that, his focus continued to sharpen.
During this time, he was renting out his recording studio in his parent’s basement to local artist in his area. Even though he seemed nonexistent during his tenure in high-school, he was well known for his music.
“I didn’t go to any social events, no parties, nothing. People thought I was anti-social but nah, I’m just a hard worker.”
As things were beginning to look up for the young producer, the income on his beats was slowing down. Feeling the pressure breathing down his neck, he continued making beats.
It was at this time HittMaker caught the eye of the manager of one of Atlanta’s up-and-coming hip-hop groups, TheYouth!.
“I was introduced to TheYouth! through their manager. He hit me up on Twitter saying ‘hey I see you make beats can you send these artists some beats?’ and I was like ‘yeah for sure.’ Usually I don’t send beats out for free like that but I was kind of down bad so I was like f*ck it I’ll just do it and the rest is history”
Again, pressed with his back against the wall, he didn’t fold. Recently this past May, HittMaker produced his first full album with TheYouth! titled Forever Young, a seven-track album full of vibes.
Now, HittMaker is back with his debut album No Sleep Vol. 1 and it comes with a message.
“The title is called No Sleep Vol. 1 because when I was in the process of making this album I wasn’t getting any sleep. So if you work hard and put your all into something, you can make something you are proud of.”
If you can combine Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s G-funk era with MetroBoomin’s trap sound, and add some Pierre Bourne and Kanye West to the mix, that’s HittMaker’s album all in one.
With all of his recent success, he is still keeping the balance between school and work. This fall HittMaker will be heading to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a degree in audio production at Columbia University to perfect his craft.
College is where most people find their purpose in life. In high school, it’s exploring your limitations and getting into new things. In elementary school, it’s just about having fun and being carefree.
Unfortunately for some, there are people who go their whole lives never finding their purpose in life. It took thirteen years for Paul “HittMaker” Whittaker to find his path.
He proved with hard work, sacrifices, and dedication, anything is possible.