West Coast native Problem has a story for almost everything. After initially breaking through with his “Like Whaaat” single in 2013 and a guest appearance on E-40’s “Function,” Problem found himself part of one of another breakthrough record in 2013, Childish Gambino’s “Sweatpants.”
In a sitdown with GroovyTracks, Problem detailed not only how the song came to be but also how the song arrived out of a chance encounter in the studio.
“Yo what’s crazy was … DJ Reflex reached out to me and said, ‘I want to get you with Childish Gambino.’ At the time, I didn’t know who he was!” Problem says. “I think on his end, they told him they want to put us together and he didn’t know who I was. So, I just got a call like ‘Yeah, Childish Gambino is coming up to the studio.’”
He continued, “We get in the room and we chill for like three hours, just laughing at shit. We were so similar in our thinking about game the way it moves and he was fucking funny and we was bagging on each other a lil bit. It was a vibe! I was like, ‘I can fuck with you!’”
When Problem laid down the hook for the song and played it back for Gambino, the Atlanta artist approved of both before leaving for the night. Despite their instant connection, Problem had zero clue of Gambino’s track record outside of music.
“So I left and said, ‘Man that dude cool as fuck!’ They said, ‘Wait, you don’t know who that is?’ I said, ‘Nah, I’m not hip,’” Problem said. “Reflex started breaking it down, showed me the shows he had written. He was such a great guy! That’s what I fucked with about him. Cracked me up. We ended up doing that shit a few times and then I looked up, I was on the project.”
As fate would have it, Problem didn’t hear the finished version of “Sweatpants” until Because The Internet was released. By then, Gambino had emerged with one of the year’s biggest songs and a seal-of-approval from his “Sweatpants” co-star who knew of his star power.
“He was a star that day to me,” Problem says. “He wasn’t extra. You can tell the ones that really believe in themselves and they don’t have to make you feel lesser to sit in the room with them. Real star to me. Somebody who could just talk to me about the Lakers. I don’t hear all your jewelry on when we about to do construction. That shit? I’m into that. His presence to me … we could have a three-hour conversation before Reflex told us to work together!”
Watch the full clip below.