Michael Len Williams II (born March 23, 1989), professionally known as Mike Will Made It (often stylized as Mike WiLL Made-It) or simply Mike Will, is an American record producer and songwriter. He is best known for producing trap beats for several Southern hip hop artists as well as for producing several hit singles, such as "Mercy" by GOOD Music, "No Lie" by 2 Chainz, "Bandz a Make Her Dance" by Juicy J, "Pour It Up" by Rihanna, "Love Me" by Lil Wayne, "Body Party" by Ciara, "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus and "Formation" by Beyoncé, among others. He has released four mixtapes while his debut album is long delayed.
Williams was born in Marietta, Georgia, the youngest of three children with two older sisters. His father Michael Williams Sr. is a former IBM executive who worked as a club DJ in the 1970s while Mike Will's mother Shirley Williams, a former bank loan officer was in a gospel group, singing for Dottie Peoples. He grew up in a musical family as his uncle was an accomplished guitar player and one his older sisters was a drum major in the Olympics. While growing up, Mike Will was athletic, participating in a number of sports, including basketball, baseball, and football, with dreams of becoming a professional athlete. His life also revolved around a love of hip hop music. Mike Will first developed his talent for music by re-playing popular instrumentals that he heard on the radio while he and his friends would freestyle to them. In a number of interviews, Will has mentioned, in particular, re-playing the instrumental for "Still Fly", a popular song by the southern rap group Big Tymers, on a Casio brand keyboard, and has also mentioned re-playing the song "Young'n (Holla Back)" by New York rapper Fabolous on production equipment at a local music store.
At age 14, Mike Will began to make his own beats on a Korg ES1 beat machine, which his father spent $500 for him as a Christmas present from the local music store Mars Music. As Mike Will became more accomplished, he also began to use production equipment including the Korg Triton, the Akai MPC1000, the Yamaha Motif, and the Roland Fantom. By the time Mike Will was 16, he was hanging out local recording studios in Atlanta, trying to shop his beats to established artists. Since the late 1990s, Atlanta has been a major epicenter for hip hop rivaling New York City and Los Angeles. Initially ignored by other artists while shopping his beats around Atlanta, it wasn't until one night one of his beat tapes was found into the hands of Gucci Mane and he then summoned Mike Will to Patchwerk studios, an Atlanta recording studio.
Upon graduating high school, Mike Will enrolled at Georgia State to pursue undergraduate studies mainly due to parental pressure of his father, but chose to take hiatus and eventually dropped out with a 3.1 GPA after several semesters to focus on his music career. It was during Will’s hiatus from college that he produced his first hit. Upon hearing one of his produced singles "Tupac Back" began to enjoy success on the Billboard rap and Hot 100 charts, Mike Will decided to quit school and continue on focusing his music career full-time. He has since advised aspiring music producers not to drop out of college if they are not sure on their own future career outcome or lacking a defined plan before entering the industry.
2011–12: Production and mixtapes
In an interview with XXL, Mike Will is quoted as saying that "Gucci Mane was the first [major artist] to ever rap on my beat." Mike Will first met Gucci Mane at Atlanta recording studio, PatchWerk Recording Studios, and upon introducing himself to Gucci Mane and giving Gucci Mane a CD of beats, Gucci Mane proceeded to freestyle over each of the instrumentals. Following that he offered Mike Will $1,000 for one of his beats. The two artists began releasing songs together, such as "East Atlanta 6", and a number of songs from Gucci Mane's mixtape, No Pad, No Pencil. After making the close relationship with Gucci Mane, he began working with other big-name Atlanta rappers such as Future, Waka Flocka Flame, Rocko, and 2 Chainz.
In 2011, Mike Will placed his first single with the song "Tupac Back", performed by Meek Mill and Rick Ross, from the compilation album Self Made Vol. 1. The single was released on April 5, 2011 and peaked at #31 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Billboard chart. The placement came after Mike Will submitted some of his beats to an A&R for Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group label.
Also in 2011, Mike Will worked with Atlanta rapper Future, producing a number of popular and noteworthy songs together, including "Ain't No Way Around It", "Itchin", and three songs from Future's 2012 major label debut album Pluto, including "Neva End", "Truth Gonna Hurt You", and "Turn On the Lights". "Turn On the Lights" was promoted as a single from Pluto, and to date has peaked at #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Billboard chart.
On Tuesday, December 27, 2011 Mike Will released his first mixtape, Est. in 1989 (Last of a Dying Breed). The mixtape was released in conjunction with popular mixtape website LiveMixtapes.com. Est. in 1989 included a mix of exclusive songs and songs from Mike Will's catalog, and features artists such as Gucci Mane & 1017 Brick Squad, Future, Waka Flocka Flame, Kanye West & GOOD Music, 2 Chainz, Lil Boosie, Ludacris, Lil Wayne, and more.
On March 23, 2012, Mike Will partnered with popular music site The FADER to announce the second installment of his mixtape series, Est. in 1989 Pt. 2, and to release the mixtape's first single, "Back 2 the Basics", which features his manager/rapper Gucci Mane, founder/CEO/president of Brick Squad and Waka Flocka Flame. The project Est. in 1989 Pt. 2 features songs with Diddy, 2 Chainz, Juicy J, Future, Lil Wayne, T.I., Mac Miller, French Montana, Jeremih, and others. Est. in 1989 Pt. 2 was released again on July 24, 2012 in partnership with LiveMixtapes.com.
Will has also worked extensively with Atlanta rapper 2 Chainz, producing "La La", which features Busta Rhymes, from 2 Chainz, then known as Tity Boi, Codeine Cowboy mixtape and "Got One" from 2 Chainz's T.R.U. REALigion mixtape. According to an interview with Complex magazine, Mike Will has been working together with 2 Chainz "since 2008, when he was Tity Boi...We're kind of like family." In 2012, Mike Will produced the lead single, "No Lie", from 2 Chainz' debut album, Based on a T.R.U. Story, released via Def Jam. The single, which features popular recording artist Drake, was released May 8, 2012, and debuted in the top 50 of the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately going on to peak at #1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The single has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, selling over 500,000 copies digitally.
In 2012, Mike WiLL Made-It produced "Bandz a Make Her Dance", a single for Taylor Gang rapper Juicy J that also features Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz. The song was listed as one of the 25 Best Songs of Summer 2012 by Complex magazine, and as of September 2012, the single has peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Mike Will, alongside producers, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Lifted, and Anthony Kilhoffer co-produced the G.O.O.D. Music single, "Mercy", which features vocals from Kanye West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Pusha T. "Mercy", released April 3, 2012, served as the lead single from the G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer, and peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, while reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other notable production efforts for Mike Will include the single "Way Too Gone" featuring Future from Young Jeezy's 2011 studio album Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition, "Just a Sign" from B.o.B's second studio album Strange Clouds and "Pour It Up" from Rihanna's 2012 studio album, Unapologetic.
The third installment of the series entitled Est. in 1989 2.5 was released on December 24, 2012. The mixtape featured guest appearances from Gucci Mane, Future, Rihanna, Big Sean, Trinidad Jame$, Lil Wayne, and other artists.
2013–present: Debut studio album and Miley Cyrus collaborations
On September 9, 2013, Mike Will premiered his commercial debut single "23" featuring Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Miley Cyrus. He revealed he signed with Interscope Records to release his debut album. His debut album will also feature Beyoncé, Future, Kendrick Lamar, and 2 Chainz. He was named producer of the year by HipHopDX on December 18, 2013. On June 17, 2014, Mike WIll Made It released the first single from his upcoming mixtape, "Buy the World" featuring Future, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar. On December 15, 2014, he released his fifth mixtape titled Ransom. Featured artists include Big Sean, Juicy J, 2 Chainz, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar.
In various interviews, Mike Will has named a number of musical influences on his own production work. In a "Behind the Beats" interview with Complex magazine, he says that he "always admired Dr. Dre's drums", and calls Timbaland "the first crazy pop producer...He brought so many artists to the game." As a southern producer, he says, he "was also looking up to Shawty Redd. He was the first producer to really bring that dark trap energy and sound." He also refers to DJ Toomp as "my big brother or my mentor", saying, "I love what he does." In a different interview, with AOL's The Boombox, Mike WiLL also cites Pharrell as a producer that he respects.
Ear Drummer Records
In 2006, Mike Will started his own production company called Ear Drummer Records. According to an interview Mike Will gave to The Boombox. There are currently eight producers signed to Ear Drummer Records: Ileni K, GT, Marz, P-Nasty, Pluss (A+), Scooly, J-Bo, and Dj FU. In 2014, Mike Will signed Rae Sremmurd and Two-9 to the label.
- In-House Producers
- Pluss (A+)
- DJ FU
- Ducko McFli
- Illeni K
- The Sauce
- Ransom 2 (2016)
|Est. in 1989 (Last of a Dying Breed)|
|Est. in 1989 Pt. 2|
|Est. in 1989 Pt. 2.5|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Certifications||Album|
|US||US R&B||US Rap||AUS||GER||CAN||FRA||UK|
(featuring Miley Cyrus, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J)
|"Buy the World"|
(featuring Future, Lil Wayne and Kendrick Lamar)
|"Drinks On Us"|
(featuring Swae Lee, The Weeknd and Future)
(featuring Jody HiGHROLLER and Slim Jxmmi)
|"Nothing Is Promised"|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|