“Unforgettable,” the first single off of French Montana’s second studio album, Jungle Rules, has vaulted the rapper to the Billboard Top 10 for the first time. Lately you can catch him performing on The Tonight Show, going platinum in places where å is used, and posting videos of fans screaming his name at festivals where he's not even performing. “Unforgettable” has changed Montana’s life and appears to be helping change the lives of others as well.
Last Wednesday he stopped by Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club to talk about the song’s success and how it came to be made. The interview was notable only in that it produced this startling fact: French Montana had no clue who produced his “biggest record ever.” When asked by host Charlamagne Tha God who made the beat for his smash hit, Montana stuttered, “A kid … Ben Something.” He had literally forgotten where “Unforgettable” had come from.
Let us help jog French’s memory: 1Mind is a production trio consisting of Mac Sutphin, 23, Michael Lohmeier, 23, and Sebastian Lopez, 22. In the last year and a half, the L.A.-based Indianapolis natives have gone from making beats in their dorm rooms to landing a track with Lil Yachty (“Never Switch Up”) to having a platinum hit with a video that has been viewed more than 231 million times on YouTube. (Disclosure: Mac is a friend of mine from college, and, for the past week, I’ve been using some of that organic baby-spinach mix he has in the fridge to make the turkey sandwiches that I bring to work.) This weekend I sat down with Mac, Michael, and Sebastian to talk about their comeup, how “Unforgettable” was almost a Drake song, and why French Montana didn’t know who they were.
How did you guys meet?
Mac Sutphin: I've known Michael since fourth grade. He moved into my school, and we became friends because we both liked basketball a lot. I met Sebastian when I was about 18, through my cousin at the Pitchfork Music Festival. And we didn't really see each other for a while after that, but then we realized we both made music and we were just like, "Yo, let's make a beat together." And I went over to his house and made this one beat, and it ended up being a song with Rich Boy like three years later. That was the first 1Mind beat that was ever made.
Sebastian Lopez: Shout-out Jackie Chain!
Sutphin: And then Dr. Dre used the same sample in his Compton album.
Lopez: I was super salty! [Laughs.]
When did you guys become a full trio?
Lopez: After we made that first one, within the week, I was like, "Yo, let's do this group shit and let's figure it out from there." It was like, "Yo, we're the best young producers. Let's just see what happens when we put our talents together."
How do three amateur beatmakers from Indiana get a beat to a professional musician?
Sutphin: Slow buildup.
Lopez: Yeah, honestly it just started off by just hitting random people up on SoundCloud, and then they would either rock with us or not. We did this remix for this guy named Ramriddlz and that built a relationship there. And then we did one for Yachty that built a relationship there. And then Rammy was out here [in L.A.], and he just kinda connected us with a lot of people.
Sutphin: It seems to me that you have to get a couple small breaks with a couple small artists and then you get connected with their support group. And they have a bigger network, and you can tap into those networks. So, it's not like the one break just happens. It's kind of like some smaller breaks that give you the opportunity to get a bigger break.
Micheal Lohmeier: It's really hardest to get that first thing on your production résumé, I guess you could say. Just getting that first one that's seminotable can take you, like, a lot of places.
Can you explain how "Unforgettable" ended up with French Montana?
Lopez: Rammy had hit me up after he met Mac in New York, and he was like, "Yo, my producer needs a place to stay." So, I was like, "Just have him crash at my crib." And that’s how I met C.P. [Chris "C.P. Dubb" Washington], who's also on "Unforgettable.” And so we were all running around L.A. going to parties and concerts together, so we built that relationship up. Meanwhile, Oliver from OVO had always been kind of supporting our stuff in the background. And so one day he was like, "Yo send a little pack [of beats], we're finishing up Views." And so [Mac and Michael] were super lit at [Indiana University], according to the Genius interview [laughs], and then they made [the “Unforgettable” beat] and sent it back to them. [Drake] didn’t use it, but obviously they were rocking with it, so we just kinda held onto it. So we have [the “Unforgettable”] beat. We sent it off to C.P..
Sutphin: He's always in the studio with different people and knows a lot of people, so we send him beats and he sends them around.
Lopez: C.P. was hustlin' on the clothes a lot. I believe he was at Rae Sremmurd’s The Fader cover shoot, probably like a year ago. C.P. was like, "Hey, do you wanna hear some dope beats?" And then Swae [Lee] was like, "OK, I like this one." And then, Swae laid it down. And it's actually crazy because the first time I heard the reference, [C.P.] wouldn't send it to me. I would have to go to [C.P.’s] house across the street like, "Yo, let me hear it man!"
Lopez: Yeah, and [C.P.] was telling me that the Weeknd was gonna get on it. That was the first name I heard about placement. And then I remember it very vividly. I was sitting in class, getting a lecture on music engineering [at LA Film School]. A buddy of mine I went to IU with messaged me like, "Yo, congrats!" I was like, "What do you mean 'congrats'?" And, he was like, "Yo, congrats on the French song!" I'm like, "French song?" French had leaked the track apparently, or someone in their camp. That's how we knew it got to French. [Laughs.]
And this was the middle of last year?
Lopez: This was around this time last summer. Yeah, so then, that was the first time we ever heard French got on it. We had known that there was a version with Swae and Wizkid on it. I don't know what happened with that. And then this version had Swae, French, and you could hear some of Jeremih's vocals in the mix. And I was like, "OK, yeah!" And then the track was dropped as "Unforgivable," not "Unforgettable."
Sutphin: The original was called "Equal" because Swae has that line, "Nobody can equal me," so that was the original title of the song.
So “Unforgettable” is now a Top 10 hit and has gone platinum in five countries and gold in four. It’s the biggest song of French Montana’s career. How does he not know who made it?
Sutphin: You know, you've got three different producers on the song—
Lohmeier: A ton of people touch it.
Sutphin: I can understand why he doesn't have that name right on the top of his head. Music happens in so many different ways these days. It's like people are just sending ideas back and forth. All the producers are collaborating. There are so many people involved. It's pretty understandable.
But who’s the “Ben Something”?
Lohmeier: I'm not sure.
Sutphin: Maybe Ben was like the engineer or something.
Lopez: Who knows, but he's out there making bangers.
Have you guys gotten paid for your work on the song?
Sutphin: No, not yet. When we did “Unforgettable,” we actually didn’t have a lawyer at the time, but one of the other producers that was on the song did, so he kind of like helped everybody get their proper splits. It’s been a few months since the official release, so we’re expecting something soon. But these things can sometimes take a while.
Now that you guys have a hit, how has your work flow changed?
Lohmeier: We have a little bit more direction now, because we're kind of knowing who we might be able to link up with. People will say, "Oh, we got this track. You guys could work on it." Before it was kind of a race to get a big placement, making a bunch of shit. Now, we can be like, “Oh, you’re looking for the 'urban-pop vibe,’ huh?"
Sutphin: We have lots of support now, people that just schedule sessions for us and reach out to other producers like, "Do you guys wanna work with so and so?" and just kind of link it up. Now we can go in with instrumentalists and make really cool songs. G Koop — the guy who made "Bad and Boujee" with Metro [Boomin] — we just did a lot of stuff with him. We’re just trying to collaborate with as many people as we can right now because the song is doing well, so people are interested. So we're just kind of running around L.A. to a bunch of different sessions and stuff.
How uncommon is 1Mind — kids who are relatively unknown getting a beat to a big artist?
Sutphin: I think success in the industry in general is rare. There aren't that many producers that are successful. But there is a network of people that have done sort of what we did. I saw something about Teddy Walton, who got like his first five placements from DMs—just like Instagram, Twitter DMs.
Lohmeier: Persistence is really huge too. Your odds are only gonna get better if you continuously do something.
Lopez: Like 2 Chainz said: "Grinding and Timing.”
What are you gonna say to French when you finally meet him?
Lopez: What up! How's it going, bro? [Laughs.]
Sutphin: Let's get the next one! Wassup for next summer, bro?
Lohmeier: Got another beat from Ben if you need it!
Lopez: Real shit, shout-out to French. That was a crazy opportunity. As soon as French got on it, it took it to a different level. And French put the crazy story behind it and made it all organic. And, here we are, having this interview with you right now.