Bronx rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie has been bubbling for quite some time, but his biggest hit to date is the Platinum single “Drowning” featuring Kodak Black. With Jahaan Sweet handling production duties, the song has more than 107 million Spotify streams since it released in March 2017, and the Julliard-trained producer sat down with Genius to discuss the song’s creation. He was aiming to make a beat that recalled the work of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. “I was trying to create this weird Bach-ish piano, which reminded me of Crucifixus, descending chords in the cycle,” Jahaan explained to Genius. “I was just trying to tap into something like that, not trying to be corny but, underwater, maybe drowning?”
Feeling that the beat needed something more, he added his own vocals. “I decided, it needs some singing on it. Anybody [who] knows me, knows I sing all the time, and I’m pretty terrible at it. But I sing my heart out, and I sing very very loud.” Next, he auto-tuned his singing and added reverb to it, aiming for a call and response vibe. He also used a bass to fill in for a very popular drum sound. “I added this bass, which is like, man, a lot of the records that I place have no 808s. This has no 808s, so I use this bass from Sylenth,” he said, referring to the digital analog synthesizer. This led to the final version of the beat.
A chance meeting in Phoenix birthed the collaboration with A Boogie. “I was doing a lot of Kehlani’s music, so I was on the road with her,” explained Jahaan. We had a radio show in Phoenix or something. I saw Boogie. I was like, “Yo, bro I went to school in New York. I know you got a lot of respect in the city. I make a lot of Kehlani’s shit.” He was like, ‘Alright, cool. Come up to the hotel room and play me some beats.’”
He also remembers Boogie creating the song’s chorus on the fly as he listened to the production. “I remember he was just sitting and I played the beat. He said, “Bitch, I’m drowning.” And then he was like, “Wrist so icy.” I was like, “That’s kind of hard!” He was like, “Yeah, can you send me that beat? I’m gonna record this as soon as I get back.”