This man has one of the most successful music re-branding stories of all time. The name Hitmaka, formally known as Yung Berg, has been all over the U.S. airways but this time, his approach has changed drastically and garnered him more hits than his previous rap career ever has. Over a decade ago, Yung Berg signed to DMX’s Bloodline Records. Hailing from the gritty grounds of Miami, Florida, Yung Berg, for us as younger people, is mostly known for his hit single, “Sexy Can I”, featuring Ray J. It’s almost like you can hear the chorus play in your head as you read the name of the song. Now living in Cali, he began to re-brand himself as a producer, while creating a name for himself in television as well.
Although rumors were in the air about Burg hosting his own reality TV show, the show never surfaced. However, in 2012, he signed onto VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood, a move that we oftentimes believe is the end to one’s rap or singing career. We’ve heard the studio sessions from the show, and despite Cardi B making it out, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else will or even can for that matter. Prior to his split from reality TV, he snagged production credits on Nicki Minaj’s The Pinkprint, and since then, he’s been gone.
The window for artist longevity in the music industry is just as slim as making to the NBA or winning the lottery. As soon as someone comes along who’s better than you, or can do more than you can, names slowly start to fade in the background, making you an instant “remember when…” topic. One might be able to possibly argue that Yung Berg already had his foot in the door, but taking a whole new approach requires skill and talent which from a production standpoint, was getting even more competitive in 2014 with the rise of producers like DJ Esco and Metro Boomin’. The best way to elevate yourself into the game is to provide a new experience. If you listen to a Hitmaka beat, it feels like having sex for the first time; it’s unpredictable, intense, sleek, and full of pleasure. And it all started with Jeremih’s Late Nights: The Album.
I have to take this time to shoutout Jeremih. Not only because he’s faithfully worked with Hitmaka for years, but also because he as well has built a strong track record of longevity in the music industry. In addition to “Giv No Fucks”, featuring Migos, Hitmaka produced Jeremih’s “Worthy” featuring Jhene Aiko. The first piano progression is greeted with trap elements that confuse the mind as to what to expect, yet somehow line up perfectly. And when I say perfectly, I do mean perfectly. Confidently adopting the lane he forced open in R&B production, he ultimately continued to work with Jeremih, Chris Brown, and Ty Dolla Sign.
Between him and Ty, the two must’ve hit off because Hitmaka was all over Ty’s sophomore album Beach House 3 in 2017 with production on “Ex”, “Droptop In The Rain”, and “Lil Favorite.” A year later, he produced arguably his biggest song to date with Meek Mill’s “Dangerous”. The correlation between rap and R&B is purest when they blend seamlessly, and not many people can do that. In fact, the only other producers I can think of who is that good at blending genres is Fki 1st, or the OG Puff Daddy himself. Hitmaka’s ability to do so in a time where trap maintains the airways is heavenly, considering the fact that what has a trap beat, is straight rap, and what has a singing beat, is straight R&B. So what does it sound like when you utilize both from a production standpoint? You get songs like “Automatic” by The Bonfyre, “Pineapple” by Ty Dolla Sign, and “Rule The World” by 2 Chainz.
Extending his relationship with the two, in the fourth quarter of 2018, Hitmaka served as the primary producer of Jeremih and Ty Dolla Sign’s collaborative effort MihTy. The album was indeed missing a few things but one thing it didn’t lack in, was the production. When I say there were no misses production-wise, there were no misses. And because of that, it was proven that Hitmaka had slowly become one of the best producers in the game. When you hear the tag “Hitmaka” on a track, it’s a certified hit. If you don’t believe it, search his name and I guarantee one of your favorite songs of the past year, had him all over it.
It almost seemed as if his time in the rap game came to a complete end, but that idea is deeply mistaken. Yung Berg may be dead, but Hitmaka, is just now rising… He has the best re-branding story to date, like Derrick Rose in the NBA.
By K. High