On New Year's Eve, DJ Mustard closed out 2015 with an introspective Instagram post. "2015 wasn't the best year but it showed and taught me a lot," he wrote, also taking a beat to thank fans for standing by.
And indeed, the last year was not exactly a superlative one for DJ Mustard—nothing like 2013 or 2014, that prodigious two year stretch during which his signature drop punctuated dozens of radio singles. In a brief conversation with The FADER ahead of the holidays, Mustard said he was quiet because we has busier building up his life—his family, his business—than his beats.
2015 was not a bad year for Mustard, and it would be inaccurate to say he fell off—"I still got songs on the radio," he noted. But today he sets the pace for a busier 2016 with the release a new single under his own name, "A Whole Lotta Lovin," featuring Travi$ Scott (listen below). It's his first solo single release since 2014 album 10 Summers.
Below, DJ Mustard on what last year taught him and what he resolves to do differently in 2016.
DJ Mustard: I ran the radio for three years straight, and I still got songs on the radio. I've been in the studio this whole time, I've just been gearing up and trying to get better—to be the best. I've just been trying to focus on other things. I got two kids. I'm trying to get my record label off the ground, getting my team together. Just being more hands on with my whole career. Doing shit, and not just doing it to do it. Doing it to learn, and have fun with it.
[Before 2014,] I didn't have shit else to do but just to do beats and beats and beats and beats. And when I was doing it, I was like, "I need the money." Now I have money and my family is taken care of, so everything is good and I'm doing it because it's fun and I want to learn and I like to do it. Now I have a business, artists to take care of. I want to make sure everything's going right, because at the end of the day it's my name. So I'm working towards being better. Music is more fun for me now.
[In 2015, I learned] that less is more. Sometimes you can do a million songs, and if they're not good, you're just wasting your time. And you can't get time back.
I wasn't scared [of falling off]. I got friends. I could always do their albums or whatever else I wanted to do. I think that you're only going to get better if you take time to better yourself, not because someone says you should get better. You've got to change with time. I think I'm just growing up.
Expect the unexpected [from me in 2016]. I'm going to come with something that sounds good, and everything is going to sound bigger than before. It's still gonna have that vibe, just more advanced. I don't think people want that same sound. They want a progression of that sound that I've already created.