Sonny Digital is entering a new era. After a rich decade of producing platinum-selling hits for rap favorites like Travis Scott ("Stargazing"), 2 Chainz ("Birthday Song"), Future ("Blow A Bag") and 21 Savage ("Red Opps"), among others, the Atlanta-bred producer is ready to turn the page. As he’s been mapping out his future, some rap fans may have noted how quiet Sonny has been over the last few years, compared to the times when his tag was outright unavoidable. But best believe that he's been working on a new EP and has a fresh label deal.
"A lot of people thought I slowed down just because they stopped hearing the music so much,” he says to XXL in an exclusive interview in mid-May. “I didn’t go nowhere. I just kinda shifted focus."
Things look different for Sonny this time around. For starters, he’s got a new record deal on deck. He recently signed with DJ Drama, Lake and Don Cannon’s flourishing imprint Generation Now, home to other acts like Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow and Seddy Hendrix. That move put a battery in his back.
"When I just recently did the signing with Generation Now, it was like I was coming out again," Sonny explains. "I feel like the bar was set back high." It also put Sonny in position to get more money with people that he’s been calling family all along. "Up until me getting with them, I was almost like a Generation Now cousin. Matter of fact, I had a room in their studio. They built a room for me and Metro [Boomin] in they studio," he adds. "So I was slick already there. It always felt like home."
The reputed musician also has a new EP on ice called Mr. Digital, slated to arrive this year. In terms of content, it’ll be his most candid output yet. "I just wanna come out with some substance and let people know what’s going on," he continues. "I feel like this is me coming out again. And people wanna know certain things. I just want to be transparent about everything that’s going on that people don’t see, but it does affect the music."
Sonically, Mr. Digital will be a culmination of Sonny rapping, producing and collaborating with other talented faces in hip-hop who similarly bring fire to the booth. The effort’s lead single, “Guess What?,” arrived in April and supports that notion. The zippy track features rising Louisiana seed SSGKobe, who Sonny has bonded with over the years. "That’s like little bro. When he comes to Atlanta, he be with me now. I got the studio for him and all his homies and shit," Sonny says.
The record also speaks to Sonny’s commitment to saluting the new crop of rappers, something that he’s been doing steadily for a while. Back in 2017 and 2018, he helped usher in the XXL Freshman classes by creating the beats for the Freshman cyphers. Those classes housed a combined roster of acts like Playboi Carti, A Boogie, XXXTentacion, Ski Mask The Slump God, JID and Trippie Redd between the two years. When asked about their performance as artists these days, Sonny gives respect to Carti and the motion he's obtained. "Carti is up through there, bro," Sonny attests. "I ain’t gonna lie. He really had started a whole wave type-shit.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Sonny blows off his memory card and discusses things like how his producer tag came to life and working with Pluto in the early 2010s. He also spends some time describing his studio sessions with Don Toliver and gives advice to young producers who are coming up in today’s climate. Check out the full interview below.