As a teen, Hitmaka had a dream of pursuing music. Little did he know that it would become a reality well before he even hit his adult years.
Born Christian J. Ward, the heavy-hitting producer grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. However, despite the fact that his parents didn’t always believe in his dreams of becoming a musician, one legendary rapper did — ultimately changing the course of his life forever.
“When I got my deal with DMX, I got a crib in Edgewater, New Jersey and they put me out there because they wanted me to work out there,” Hitmaka explained during an appearance on the ProducerGrind podcast. “Once I came back with the contract from DMX, like, ‘It was real.’ So, I showed it to my dad.”
Once his father saw that his musical aspirations came equipped with the big bucks, the budding artist quickly began to lean into his desires to make a career off of making music.
“I think my budget was half a million dollars and they gave me a $50,000 advance,” he recalled. “So he was like, ‘Man, sh-t, I guess it makes sense. All the bullsh-t you’ve been doing.’ So, I just moved to Jersey, and I was living out there, and I would just catch the ferry back and forth to the city.”
“I would go from Jersey to the Port Authority and then walk from Port Authority to the Def Jam building,” he added.
While he may be the producer behind some of today’s biggest records, Hitmaka’s entry into the industry was as an artist operating under the name Iceberg.
“When I was with DMX, we had compiled a bunch of music,” he shared. “I was on the soundtrack to a movie he did called ‘Exit Wounds’ with Steven Seagal, and me and DMX had a song together on there.”
“So, I lose my deal. I get out and I don’t know what to do. I’m just vibing, listening to Jay-Z and listening to all the music and sh-t, and then my dad really knew that I was passionate about the music. So, he started funding my career and like putting me in the studio so I can go make demos and sh-t,” Hitmaka said. “And my demo ended up getting to Troy Carter, who’s Eve’s manager at the time.”
As one who has never shied away from pivoting, whether it be by location or changing his musician name, it wasn’t long before Hitmaka relocated and rebranded again, taking his talents to Los Angeles.
Under management with Troy Carter and J. Erving’s Erving Wonder record label, Hitmaka began to really branch out and achieve success as an artist.
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At one point during the interview, Hitmaka even broke down why the connection to Eve was pivotal to his career trajectory.
“Eve, who was very influential in my career — she named me Yung Berg,” he revealed.
“I actually moved to Los Angeles when Eve had a TV show on UPN,” Hitmaka recalled. “We were all living in LA, and I would literally stay out there and be writing songs and that was my first, like, taste of being a songwriter. My first placement of being a songwriter is on Eve’s album, ‘Eve-Olution.’ I wrote the hook to the title track of the song.”
Today, Hitmaka continues his music dreams as the Vice President of A&R at EMPIRE and the CEO of his own record label, Makasound Records.