I recently had the opportunity to interview the great Mr. Collipark. Of course, he’s known for his work with Ying Yang Twins and signing Soulja Boy. He also produced the hit line dance record “Wobble” and has worked with countless artists in the game. It was honor to get to interview him.
Q: Before going by the name Mr. Collipark, you worked under the moniker DJ Smurf. Can you tell the readers a little bit about that?
A: Well, I started out as a mixtape DJ. I was DJing for MC Shy D. From there I got a record deal to do albums under the DJ Smurf name. I produced and wrote almost everything on my albums, especially all the hits.
Q: One of the things that brought the Mr. Collipark name to major prominence in the industry was your work with the group Yin Yang Twins. What do you feel like you all brought to the game?
A: We kind of created a new strip club genre. We kind of put an actual genre of strip club music on the map with Whistle While You Twerk and the other hits. People were already making booty shake, but not strip club. Our sound was kind of Bounce music energized by Miami Bass.
Also, we popularized the word “twerk”. We didn’t make it up, but definitely helped popularize it.
Q: I remember traveling to Atlanta years back and hearing “The Whisper Song” for the first time on a local station. I thought it was one of the most unique rap songs I had heard at the time. How did you all come up with that concept?
A: Well, the track was done first. I felt like experimenting a little bit. Snoop Dogg had just dropped “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and I’m a huge Pharrell fan (writer’s note: Pharrell produced the track with his production partner Chad Hugo as the production duo The Neptunes). The minimal feel of the Snoop track definitely influenced The Whisper Song beat. Anyway, The Whisper Song got leaked before I could finish it. The best was 2-Tracked. It wasn’t really cool back then to release a song 2-tracked (writers note: 2-tracked refers to a stereo sound file with a left and right channel as opposed to a track with each sound file separated.) Nowadays that’s more common. We just thought it would be cool to whisper on it and we had a great engineer that made that happen sonically.
Q: Cool! On the track “Whistle While You Twerk” the chorus was originally sung and based on a song from Disney’s “Snow White”. You ended up having to change the chorus. What advice would you give upcoming artists and producers about sampling or interpolating music?
A: I’d say that the culture comes from sampling. That’s the essence of Hip-Hop. Just be creative and don’t worry about the business shxt. Worrying will stop you from creating incredible shxt.
Q: “Wobble” is a song that you initially produced for the rapper V.I.C. that has almost become a staple to play at weddings, family gatherings and all kinds of events. Did you know that song would have such a huge impact when you made it?
A: That song was a big flop when we put it out. The success of that song is God at His best to be honest. At the time, we had the freedom to do what we wanted with V.I.C. because of the success of Soulja Boy.
I did the track for V.I.C.’s song “Get Silly”, but we said Soulja produced it for marketing purposes. At first, we wanted to follow that song with something similar. But the white folks at the label loved “Wobble” from the jump. But when it was released, it just didn’t resonate with our crowd at the time. V.I.C. ended up getting dropped from the label.
Two years later, Tony Neal called me and was the first one to let me know there was a line dance to it. The rest is history.
Q: You were the one to sign Soulja Boy and release some of his most popular music. Do you think he gets enough credit as a pioneer of using social media as a promotional tool?
A: He definitely ushered in the era of marketing on the internet successfully. Also, a lot of the things he was doing musically exists now and is popular, but they saying it was wack when he did it. Had he stayed the course, people would have to respect what he brought to the game.
Q: What’s next for Mr. Collipark?
A: If you go on my Instagram @realmrcollipark and check out my audiomack posts, I’ve been doing a lot of remixes for pop records. Sia and Sean Paul’s song “Cheap Thrills” is my newest one. The remixes are doing really well nationally and internationally. I chose that route because I know how much the DJ means to the culture. So when I go back to original records my sound is already out there.