KickDrums Talk Lana Del Rey/A$AP Rocky Collaboration
A$AP Rocky and Lana Del Rey

Photo: Roger Kisby/Getty Images. Lana Del Rey by Nicole Nodland

Lana Del Rey and A$AP Rocky had the Internet going somewhat nutty yesterday when footage emerged of a song they’d collaborated on. Titled “Ridin’,” the track was produced by Brooklyn-based duo the Kickdrums (a.k.a. Alex Fitts and Matt Penttila), included Rocky affectionately calling Lana “my bitch,” and was touted as being the lead single to today’s Follow The Leaders free mixtape. But then came the controversy! Literally an hour before the project’s noon release date, “Ridin’” was mysteriously stripped from the tracklist. So Hive jumped on the phone with Fitts to find out exactly what happened with Lana and Rocky’s missing musical tryst.

Why did “Ridin’” get cut from the mixtape?

Well, we had like a general consensus to go ahead and leak it. I don’t think even the people involved had any idea it would have such a large impact in such a short amount of time. But A$AP really wanted to use it for his album and as much as we love the song and are super excited to put it out and are disappointed that it’s not out, we’ve got to respect that. If he wants to put it on the album, that’s that.

When did you hear that A$AP Rocky wanted to keep “Ridin’” for his album?

We didn’t hear anything from the label until literally not more than an hour ago. Basically, A$AP came through to record for the mixtape, so we had the song done and everybody loved it. The last I talked to him he was like, “You guys can use it for your mixtape and I’ll use it too for my album. You cool with that?” We thought it was perfect. Then when all the press came in [yesterday] that’s when the label stepped in …

Whose idea was it to pair Lana Del Rey with A$AP Rocky?

That was my idea.

The KickDrums

Photo courtesy of The Kickdrums Facebook

Were both artists cool about the idea to collaborate?

The thing about that is, I had recorded the song with Lana Del Rey separately and it was open; she was working on her album and the album took a different direction so I had the song and I was like, “Well, what can I do with this to make it something that’s over the top so it’s not just Lana Del Rey on a Kickdrums’ beat?” The track would probably have never seen the light of day if the pairing between her and A$AP hadn’t turned out so good. So, yeah, everything was cool until literally today. But I guess that’s the way it goes.

A$AP Rocky and Lana Del Rey sound natural together on the song.

That’s why we were so excited about it, because you have two different artists … I mean, she’s a fan of hip-hop, and he’s a fan of hers, and the beat managed to just kinda bring them together. That’s actually the idea of this whole tape, the genre-bending that we as the KickDrums naturally do, ’cause we grew up with a bunch of different influences, like listening to everything from Nirvana and Pink Floyd Raidohead to Dr. Dre and Jay-Z. We kinda just fell into being hip-hop producers. I wouldn’t say it was by accident, but I’d always been in bands and Matt’s always been an electronic DJ, so we were always making different music. Then we put out a beat CD and 50 Cent ended up using one of the tracks for his album ["When Death Becomes You" featuring M.O.P. from the Get Rich or Die Tryin' soundtrack]. So from then on we were kinda well known as hip-hop producers.

The footage for the recording of “Ridin’” shows a lot of weed being smoked. Did A$AP Rocky pass out at one point?

Ha ha, yeah, nah, he was on a whirlwind tour. He had just gotten back to New York from doing 30 days on the road, he came to the studio, knocked it out, and we were all smoking heavy, so he just passed out.

Which artist smoked the most weed during the recording sessions then?

Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I’d say A$AP and the A$AP Mob were smoking heavy, [Mr. Muthafuckin'] eXquire was smoking heavy, and, let me see, well, pretty much everybody, but those two in particular. Oh, and Freddie Gibbs, he can smoke like crazy!

Speaking of eXquire, he just signed a major label deal. How far into the mainstream do you think his sound can go?

Dude, that guy is amazing, he’s funny as hell! I mean, he strolled into the studio, was really cool, and is an amazing rapper. I hope he stays true to the sound that he’s been doing for the past year because it’s really natural and that’s what people are drawn to. He’s got a great personality — that’s how he’s going to win. I don’t know how much pressure he’s going to face to change [his sound], but if I know eXquire he’s not going to change. Him and A$AP are the new ambassadors for New York, making music like Wu-Tang, and the hits will come that way. The industry is primed for more creative stuff. There is that side of things like the Justin Biebers who sell a lot of units, but there are a lot of people like Danny Brown where [they're] doing amazingly well without really changing their sound. They might not get any radio play, but labels are starting to embrace that and trying to make it work. I think it’s a really positive time for music in general.

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