A native of Atlanta, Mr. Hanky is a passionate Hawks fan, who has been behind some of the biggest hit records in hip-hop and R&B for more than a decade. The multi-faceted beat technician started his career signed to Collipark Music, where his production prowess helped jumpstart the careers of Soulja Boy and V.I.C., as well as provided savage beats for Ying Yang Twins.
Since then, the Atlanta native has constructed club anthems for artist such as Gucci Mane, Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Yo Gotti and Young Dolph. The chart-topping producer/songwriter has also worked with 2 Chainz, Queen Naija and Snoop Dogg and is most recently part of two chart-topping hits with City Girls, “Twerkulator” and “Good Love” featuring the music icon Usher.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GROW UP AROUND MUSIC?
“It had a huge impact on me. I didn’t realize that everyone didn’t have access to musical talents until I got to college. I would go into studios or sections and could play certain things with no problem, and it wouldn’t come as easy to other people. I realized how blessed I was around that time.”
WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST TRACK?
“I figured it out on my own. That came from being around music and understanding how music is written and sequenced. There was a program called Magix that was the layout for Pro Tools and other programs today. I realized it was like reading music on a digital manuscript, so I played around with it and figured it out.”
WHO ARE SOME OF THE ARTISTS YOU’VE WORKED WITH?
“Soulja Boy was one of the first artists that I worked with. One of my first major placements was Young Jeezy’s record, ‘What You Talkin’ Bout’, on his second studio album. The rest was history. I have worked with Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, Bubba Sparxxx, Ying Yang Twins, Waka Flocka Flame, Travis Porter and Lil Wayne. The list keeps growing. Most recently, I worked with Queen Naija, Lil Duval, Snoop Dogg, Ball Greezy, and the City Girls. Their song with Usher, ‘Good Love’, is going up the charts right now.”
WHERE DO YOU PULL INSPIRATION FROM WHEN YOU CREATE TRACKS?
“The energy of the city. That’s what’s cool about this project because I really understand Atlanta’s energy, from pop to country to hip-hop. The inspiration comes from feeding off the people, because I used to be a DJ. Often times it’s hard for me to be at sporting events or concerts because I’m constantly thinking, what would I play next to drive the crowd crazy? I take that same process into the studio when I’m creating.”
WHAT DID THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEAM UP WITH THE HAWKS MEAN TO YOU?
“It was huge! I met with [Chief Marketing Officer] Melissa Proctor. She suggested that I make some tracks for the team as an idea, and it took off. I was very excited and was ready to get to work making tracks. Growing up in Atlanta, the Hawks had some of my favorite NBA players such as Dominique Wilkins, Steve Smith, Josh Smith… The list goes on. It’s a huge honor for me to be working with my hometown team, and I take it very seriously.”
WHAT DOES BEING ‘TRUE TO ATLANTA’ MEAN TO YOU?
“It means everything. I’ve seen Atlanta grow tremendously year after year. So many different people and cultures have come to the city, but we’ve always maintained a ‘true’ Atlanta culture. Being ‘True to Atlanta’ means everything authentic from The Varsity to J.R. Crickets to our famous nightlife spots. From 2 Chainz and Quavo sitting courtside to having the Braves supporting the Hawks. It’s all about the city – win, lose or draw.”
HOW DO YOU SEE PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL ARTISTS AND SPORTS TEAMS GROWING IN THE FUTURE?
“I think it only makes sense. There are so many amazing songwriters, producers and artists especially in Atlanta. I was blessed to see the Hawks play in Abu Dhabi, and the energy was so different for the Hawks’ home game. From DJ Mo to Big Tigger’s voice inflection, it was electric. For Atlanta, in particular, the synergy between the sports and entertainment industries needs to happen more often. No other city can duplicate our energy.”
HOW DO YOU THINK THE TRACKS THAT YOU’VE PRODUCED WILL ENHANCE THE HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE THIS SEASON?
“It’s tremendous. The energy is so high, and it’s just so Atlanta. You can feel it in the air. These tracks will keep the energy up.”