We visited Khalil’s studio to find out how he created the sounds for his new Expansion. Watch the video below for a rundown of his storied career, insights into that classic LA sound, and an exclusive peek at his production process.
DJ Khalil is a production powerhouse. As a member of songwriting supergroup The New Royales, he’s penned pop hits for Eminem, Pink, and Aloe Blacc – but his personal CV reads like a laundry list of hip hop’s elite: He’s worked with Jay-Z, Kanye, Nas, and Nipsey Hussle, and boasts production and writing credits for ASAP Rocky, Kendrick, and Drake among many others.
Khalil was raised in Los Angeles, a city whose love of deep bass, hard drums, and multi-layered synths spawned the G-funk sound and introduced the world to artists like Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. His hometown pride is evident throughout the Expansion.
“I decided to name all the kits after neighborhoods in LA,” he explains, “because I’m paying homage to the city that shaped me and really helped me become successful.”
The pack’s numerous sweeps, sirens, patches, and pads – some mined from legendary sessions with 50 Cent, Jay Z and Dr. Dre – lend it a distinctive old-school vibe, but Khalil’s production philosophy is remarkably progressive – inspired in part by his predilection for psychedelic prog and rock.
“I’m always searching for new sounds. I’ll grab a keyboard – something I’ve never seen before – some pedals, and experiment.” From there, he jams with a trusted crew of musicians to channel the feel of a live band – just “hit record and see where it goes.”
“It’s about experimenting and trying to find something new.”