In 2014 Complex called DJ Mustard’s work “the default sound of popular hip-hop,” but it turns out he was just getting started. Mustard has been the producer of an astounding array of club bangers over the past five years: Tyga’s “Rack City,” 2 Chainz’s “I’m Different,” Tinashe’s “2 On” and Omarion’s “Post to Be,” to name just a few. His recent bass masterpiece “Needed Me,” from Rihanna’s eighth album Anti, pushes his sound in a different, sexier direction, and Mustard recently joined Rihanna’s tour to take his music all over Europe.
“That sh*t was crazy,” he says. “Every night, so many people. I think the most [people] when I was in the building was 60,000, and every night there was a different energy. Getting to see stuff like that was a real eye-opener.”
The LA-based producer had to make some serious adjustments to his hectic schedule to make the tour work, but he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t let pass—one earned through his constant hard work. “[Making music] is a constant for me, but I have a team. I like to build off ideas, and you need to have people around you that spark ideas,” he says, pointing out that “Needed Me” was a collaboration with Frank Dukes and Twice as Nice. “That’s why it sounds so different. If you’re cooking at home then you open a restaurant, you can’t be sending out the plates from the house; you gotta get help.”
Mustard, who returns to his Vegas residency at Light this week and will be back at Daylight for Labor Day Weekend, is ready to push the boundaries of his music. “I’m not worried about people putting me in a box. I’m worried about the next move at all times, always trying to figure out new things, break a new code,” he says. “You might hear a rock song next. You never know. I’m not just the urban black dude making ratchet music. I’m still learning the game, and I want to do everything, from strip-club music to rock and pop. There are so many other avenues.” DJ Mustard at Light at Mandalay Bay, August 17.