ATLANTA (AP) — DJ Mustard is living the dream: He's produced a number of pop hits in the last two years, performs regularly at popular festivals, holds a monthly residency in Las Vegas and is currently on tour with Rihanna.
Mustard feels like his musical presence is finally taking form.
"This is all about building my empire, my brand," said Mustard, who was given his nickname by family members because his first name is Dijon. "I want my hands in all the pots and not just one. I want to make the right moves that'll put me in the right place."
Mustard's recent move is his latest single "Don't Hurt Me," featuring Nicki Minaj and Jeremih. He played the song for the first time last week on the European leg of Rihanna's ANTI tour: In Dublin, the DJ thought about capping his performance with an upbeat version of Adele's "Hello" until he was swarmed with tweets calling for him to play his new song.
One tweet in particular helped change his mind.
"This girl tweeted me saying, 'Noooo, play 'Don't Hurt Me,'" he recalled. "No disrespect to Adele. Her record is amazing, huge. But they didn't want me to mess around, particularly the girl who tweeted me so I had to. When I introduced the song saying it was with Nicki and Jeremih, they went crazy like they've heard it a million times already."
Mustard believes "Don't Hurt Me" is another "piece to the puzzle" to many of his previous hits in an effort to show his full body of work. He became known for his production work on rap and R&B smashes that have dominated on the pop charts, including Tyga's "Rack City," Omarion and Chris Brown's "Post to Be," Big Sean's "I Don't F--- with You," Jeremih's "Don't Tell 'Em" and Rihanna's "Needed Me," among other tracks.
The Los Angeles-based producer's up-tempo, catchy sound was everywhere in 2014 as fans had become familiar with his signature catchphrase, "Mustard on the beat." He helped ignite the careers of new artists from YG, Kid Ink and Ty Dolla $ign while working with established musicians including Kanye West, T.I., Fergie and Jennifer Lopez.
While he's actively recording and traveling, Mustard has found time to also concentrate on his health. With the help of Kim Kardashian's trainer, the 26-year-old producer recently lost 100 pounds.
"I've been working hard to lose weight and become healthier overall," he said. "I even started putting the workouts on my Snapchat so my fans can see how dedicated I am to being better."
Mustard — who is signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation management and released his debut album, "10 Summers," in 2014 — is indecisive about releasing another album.
In the meantime, he's working with Minaj and Britney Spears and has aspirations of collaborating with Beyoncé and Jay Z.
"Right now, I'm just releasing singles," he said. "But you never know. I might drop something tomorrow. You never know with me. I change my mind like I change my job. And I do that very often."
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/jonathan-landrum