While Chemist isn't an Atlanta native -- he hails from Richmond, Virginia -- he grew up listening to the city's long tradition of innovative, boundary-pushing hip-hop. Chemist started making beats over 11 years ago and first gained a following on the website SoundClick, taking inspiration from the super-producers of the late '90s and early '00s like Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, Just Blaze, and Timbaland, who now produces the music for FOX's glossy hip-hop soap opera Empire. Though much of Chemist's work favors the sample-heavy approach of J Dilla, he says the "Paper Boi" beat was particularly inspired by Atlanta rapper Rocko's 2008 hit "Umma Do Me."
Hearing the song on the show, Chemist could see why the beat was a good fit for Paper Boi. "It catches the essence of the inner-city sound," he said. "With a lot of pop, everything is so fine-tuned and very well mixed and engineered, but with a lot of hip-hop producers, we don't know anything. We just grab expensive equipment and start chopping, and whatever we come up with is whatever we come up with. The ones who work the hardest come up with unique sounds."