Photo by the Associated Press
(USA TODAY) -- After months of violating foam fingers, bathtubs and wrecking balls, Miley Cyrus has finally unleashed Bangerz to the world - but not without the help of Mike Will Made It.
Atlanta-bred hip-hop producer also known as Mike Will - or by his full
name, Michael Williams - has blasted onto the charts with smashes such
as Kanye West's Mercy, Rihanna's Pour It Up, Ciara's Body Party and Cyrus' We Can't Stop.
latter track, a party anthem originally intended for Rihanna, became
the battle cry that launched Miley 2.0 after Williams took it to the pop
star's label in hopes that she'd love it. (Spoiler alert: She did.)
"The song reminded her of different parties she had been to," says Williams, 24. "It just ended up connecting with her."
From there, the unlikely duo hammered out Williams' own single, 23 (featuring Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J), and another Bangerz track, My Darlin'
featuring Future, which he says officially made him a Cyrus fan. The
beatmaker soon became executive producer of her album, crafting eight
tracks that appear on the 13-song release, out Tuesday.
LISTEN UP: ** (out of four) for 'Bangerz'
whole album was bangers, and that's actually how she came up with the
title," Williams says. "Everybody was like, 'Yo, so how's your album
sounding?' And we were just saying, 'We got all bangers.' "
The in-demand young producer got his start making beats at age 14,
but began producing mixtape tracks for 2 Chainz, Waka Flocka Flame and
Gucci Mane just two years later. Since then, Williams has racked up
quite an illustrious resume. He scored his first big hit with 2 Chainz's
No Lie (1.4 million copies sold), followed by Future's Turn On the Lights and Juicy J's Bandz a Make Her Dance.
really leaped ahead as one of the premier artists cranking out hard
hip-hop beats that are nothing less than infectious," says Chuck
Creekmur, CEO of AllHipHop.com. "It's an incredible ascension. ... In an
era where a lot of producers have fallen behind the scenes again, (he)
has jumped to the forefront as an interesting character."
Williams is currently tinkering away on his debut effort, Est. in 1989 Pt. 3 (The Album),
a triple-disc album expected out on Interscope Records in early 2014,
which features Nicki Minaj, Kendrick Lamar and Future. Taking a page
from Cyrus' playbook, the hitmaker is aiming for an album full of
bangers, and hoping to exceed expectations set by his recent string of
It's been a year for proving that "I can work with all
these different kinds of artists and still be able to come up with huge
records," Williams says. "Not just cool records, but game-changing
records. I feel like this is the first year that the public's looking at
it like, 'OK, man, Mike Will made it. He's dope.'"
And how does he feel about Cyrus, whose Bangerz has already received a mixed bag of glowing notices and lukewarm reviews?
bulletproof, man, I don't think she can really lose," Williams says.
"Some people thought her MTV (Video Music Awards) performance was just
like, a mess, and some people were like, 'Oh, she's on drugs,' or 'Oh,
she's losing it.' "
But the singer's new MTV documentary, Miley: The Movement, reveals that "it was an organized mess, it was strategic," he says. "She's a really cool person, she's really talented and she really cares about her music."
Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY