In the next part of our series spotlighting subcultures across the U.S. while celebrating the adidas Originals Forum, we connect with producer collective Working on Dying. Based in Philadelphia, the group was founded in 2012 and has been responsible for some of internet rap’s most alluring beats.
From working with Lil Uzi Vert on his second studio album Eternal Atake to credits on Playboi Carti’s own sophomore album this year, Whole Lotta Red, it’s clear the group has come a long way since their early days. Current members of the collective include F1LTHY, Oogie Mane, The Loosie Man, and Jarek. F1LTHY took it upon himself to learn the craft after listening to SpaceGhostPurrp’s Blackland Radio 66.6 mixtape one fateful day nearly two decades ago and thought, “I could make that.”
We connected with F1LTHY to get his thoughts on the scene today, how he came up in the production world, tips for newcomers looking to get into it, and more.
How were you introduced to the world of music production?
I always had a love for music but it wasn’t until I was listening to SpaceGhostPurrp’s Blackland Radio 66.6 and thought to myself “I could make that”. So I bought a computer and taught myself how to make beats through YouTube.
How did you find friends within the scene?
Started off by emailing my beats out and sending them on Twitter. I met BlackKray on Twitter and he invited me to a Goth Money show in New York. My first time in LA, Lil Peep let me sleep on his couch for a whole month and I linked with a ton of people from there. After all that, I realized being outside and making genuine connections is what is most important to my craft. I reached out to Matt Ox on Twitter off of a freestyle he posted and we broke barriers after that. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Were there any local mentors/inspirations that really caught your eye?
Locally, I’d look to HeavenInStereo for tips on production and engineering. My current business partner, Ness, was also a mentor of mine. My inspiration was from my friends around me who were making music at the time.
What keeps you going in this subculture? Who is pushing the scene to new heights?
What keeps me going is knowing that we’re the ones leading the new generation that want to produce out of Philly.
Are there local hangout spots/parts of town that are iconic to the subculture?
First coming up, I’d go to places like Girard Hall and Voltage Lounge. The Fire is where I discovered a lot of local talent.
How does the adidas Forum connect with your community and how you express yourself?
The Forum represents the culture, and we are the culture.
How does Philly’s music scene contribute to the city's culture? On the flipside, how does the city inspire what you do creatively?
Philly has so much culture but mainly arts and music. Our city breeds hard workers because of the lack of resources- we basically create our own resources and work with what we got to work and be creative.
Any tips for curious newcomers?
Be yourself. Elevate your sound and don’t try to sound like them.