bars by August Prum November 21, 2017
By now you’ve heard Pi’erre Bourne’s Jamie Foxx-sampling producer tag littered across the catalogs of the hottest young rappers in the game.
Playboi Carti, Young Nudy, A$AP Mob, 21 Savage, and Rich the Kid have all hopped on Pi’erre Bourne beats in the last year. It’s been a wild ride for the son of a military mother, who’s gone from student to studio engineer to multiple platinum producer and opening for Drake on a tour of Australia in a matter of months.
Pi’erre, who also has full SoundCloud and YouTube pages with his own songs and visuals, had his star rise aided by the fact that, as he told The Fader this summer, he’s able to approach music from multiple perspectives.
He said he understands, “what the A&R’s doing, the producer, the homeboy rollin’ up the blunt, the engineer that’s recording, the artist performing; that shit’s crazy.”
This multifaceted approach has obviously helped Pi’erre make waves in hip-hop, but he also has a holistic education in styles of music.
Growing up in a military household, Pie’rre moved from Kansas to North Carolina to South Carolina, but his grandma’s house in Jamaica, Queens was his real home base.
Pi’erre explained to The Fader:
“My family’s from Queens, and every summer for school breaks, I would come up and be there all summer since I was a baby. My grandma’s been in the same house since the ‘70s. I got introduced to hip-hop just being on the block, I was a fuckin’ kid, just seeing people rapping. I tried to do it, but I didn’t know which words to use to rhyme, ‘cause I was so young. My uncle was like, You just need to write it down, you got it!”
Pi’erre learned about hip-hop in Queens and he considers himself a Queens kid, “I might be from down south, but I’m a Queens nigga.”
But while he was educated on the sacred tenants of “real hip-hop” in Queens, he was also a gamer kid who spent hours on the internet, listening to the sounds of the Dirty South. This combination makes his production compelling, combining new school and old school elements for a completely unique sound.
When his uncle first introduced him to the production software Fruity Loops, Pi’erre initially thought it was just another game,
“I thought he was playing a video game, ‘cause [my uncle is] really into computers and shit, and I didn’t know how he did that shit. I was like, lemme try. He usually just lets me go ahead, he knows I’ll figure it out.”
After spending entire summers in front of his uncle’s computer, obsessively playing with Fruity Loops, Pi’erre’s uncle just gave him his computer. From there, Pi’erre kept making music, graduated high school, and enrolled at music engineering school at SAE in Atlanta.
In Atlanta, hip-hop’s current epicenter, Pi’erre assumed he’d have a better chance of linking up with up and coming artists as opposed to in New York,
“I thought about it, after finishing school, where the fuck am I gonna work at, and who am I gonna work with in New York that’s lit? Imma go to Atlanta. There’s somebody blowin’ up every six months. I felt like going to Atlanta would better my chances. Because I didn’t know anyone, I felt more comfortable. Moved out there by myself, and did it. It was hard as fuck at first, but it was definitely worth it.”
From there, Pi’erre got a job working as an engineer at Epic Records, literally sleeping in the studio between mixing records. He learned to perfect song structure by engineering country music, ballads, and acoustic rock music, again allowing him to wear multiple hats in the studio.
Epic also gave him free studio time as part of his gig. Pi’erre would work all day, then at night he’d sneak rappers like Young Nudy into the studio and get to work. Some of Pi’erre’s best work has been with Nudy, the Atlanta rapper and cousin of 21 Savage.
On “Judge Scott Convicted”, Nudy flows with no hook over Pi’erre’s budding organs.
“Barbeque” again shows how Pi’erre’s soft synths complement Nudy’s voice.
Pi’erre’s production isn’t inherently “hard” like Metro Boomin’s horror movie beats or Southside’s drilling 808s, so matching his instrumentals up with Nudy makes for compelling listening.
Nudy goes off on “Hell Shell”, backed up by Pi’erre’s video game bleep-bloops.
It’s special when a duo like Nudy and Pi’erre elevates each other’s respective skills with the product they put out.
Pi’erre Bourne told The Fader that he and Nudy are working as hard as ever as they watch the people around them blow up out of nowhere.
“We gotta keep killing shit. As soon as we slow down, somebody else is gonna come through and fuckin blow up. Coming to Atlanta, I’ve seen niggas blow up every year. That’s why I had to quit [my job]. 21 Savage blew up before my eyes, and Lil Yachty. Like, man, I done seen enough of this shit, we gotta blow up.”
While his time with Epic allowed Pi’erre to work in the studio, he left about a year ago in order to truly pursue his own music. At first, he was terrified, but a call from a certain other midwestern transplant producer in Atlanta validated his decision.
Bourne said to The Fader,
“The day I quit, I kid you not, I got a call to work with Metro Boomin for the first time. I was like, ‘I guess this is the sign I need.’ I quit, went to the studio with him that evening, worked with him, Southside, and Spiffy Global. That session was the coolest session I’ve had. We all make beats, and we all use the same program, and we all know the same board. If it was a spaceship, we all would know how to fly it. I would just get up, not worry about anyone fuckin’ it up or nothing. That was the best thing. We was just like, smokin’ blunts, rolling backwoods, just making dope ass beats. I was like, bro, this is what I wanna do!”
And now he’s doing it.
His beats have shaped the sounds of Summer ’17, Pi’erre crafted the infectious anthems “Magnolia” and “wokeuplikethis*” on Playboi Carti’s eponymous debut mixtape.
His beat was allegedly given to the Brooklyn rapper Tekashi69 for his wild Harmony Korine homage “GUMMO”.
Pi’erre wasn’t too happy about his beat getting taken without his permission, but “GUMMO” has birthed a bunch of remixes and spin-offs, with Curren$y recently reaching out to Bourne for the real beat.
Pi’erre isn’t just a producer though, he makes his own music.
A tour through his prolific SoundCloud and YouTube pages reveals a massive discography of songs, three full-length mixtapes from his Life of Pierre series with another on the way, and a pretty different lyrical approach to his production than most of the artists he’s worked with.
His songs aren’t about drug dealing and hitting licks, but instead describe relationships, dealing with sudden fame, and enjoying the shit out of life.
Pi’erre softly sing-raps over his own instrumentation, adding a different texture to the music than his work with Nudy or Carti.
He even went acoustic on “Mad”, calling out the haters over a simple guitar melody (that time at Epic clearly paying off).
Most recently, Pi’erre Bourne was an opening act for Drake’s Australia tour, a pretty wild achievement for someone that was sleeping at their job just a year ago.
And as for the future, Pi’erre told HotNewHipHop that he wants to keep playing live shows.
“I really wanna start touring a lot, this tour shit’s been lit… The money’s cool but it ain’t even about the money. I just-bro I waited my whole life for people to be screaming my name, it’s addicting now. So now, after I get off stage, I be wanting to run right back on stage and just keep going. ‘Cause it’s like, when I be like ‘everybody put your hands up’ and they do that shit, I just be like ‘Oh, shit, everybody got they fuckin’ hands up.'”
Pi’erre Bourne can do anything he wants in the studio. As he keeps fine-tuning his skills, it might be a wrap for all these other producer/rappers.
Don’t expect to stop hearing “Yo Pierre, you wanna come out here?” anytime soon.