Give producer J. White of Mesquite some credit for Cardi B's omnipresent hit song "Bodak Yellow."
Or you can blame it on football. Or the lack thereof.
"I grew up in church, Dad playing the guitar, singing around. My mom singing, grandma, uncle playing drums," says the man born Anthony Jermaine White. "At 15, I knew I couldn't play football. I was like, 'Oh, I'm not that good. I'm not that tall. I'm fast, but I'm not that fast. Really skinny.'"
Music was a natural next move.
"So my uncle bought me a keyboard from Radio Shack, and, honestly, I thought when I got that keyboard that I was gonna be rich the next year. It's fixing to be a breeze," he says. "Literally, it wasn't. It was a 17-year journey."
At one point, though, even music seemed to have left him. He says his mother died in 2015 "due to domestic violence."
After that, he "was pretty much done with everything," even life. Then a cousin invited him to come to New York, and the rest is chart history. He started working with Cardi B, deciding, "I'm gonna give her all my best work," he says.
White produced Cardi B's "Lick" and her last mix tape. Then his decision paid off in a big way with "Bodak Yellow." The BET Hip-Hop Awards single of the year ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Cardi B (nee Belcalis Almanzar) became the first woman rapper to get that honor without a feature in almost 20 years. Lauryn Hill did it in 1998 with "Doo Wop (That Thing)."
With the song's third week at No. 1, it made history with the longest perch for a solo woman rapper.
"When I heard the record, I was like, 'Oh. My. God." He claps once.
"I was like, 'Yo, this is gonna be a big steppingstone for us to get another record."
When they got the top spot on the chart, it surprised the whole camp. Because Taylor Swift: She released "Look What You Made Me Do" during the song's rise.
"When Taylor Swift dropped her song, I was like, 'OK, No. 2 is all right. We tried,'" White says. "I was like, 'Look what you made us do. You made us sad today.' The whole world got behind us."
The song is everywhere: terrestrial radio; background music in party scenes; spoofed on late-night TV; remixes all over the Internet. White and Cardi B, who first made her name as an exotic dancer and then on reality TV show Love & Hip-Hop: NY, ended up with what some view as an empowerment anthem. When that beat drops, she doesn't even have to rap; the crowd takes over.
And White loves it.
"I have seen 90-year-old women get up and dance to the record. It's for everybody," he says.
White got to North Texas by way of "a small town in Arkansas" and Kansas City. He admires the welcoming energy here that matches his own.
"People here in Dallas aren't afraid to express themselves in any manner, from the dance stuff to the hip-hop stuff," he says about the rap scene. "I think we're a melting pot for a lot of different music."
The die-hard Cowboys fans don't take issue with that Kansas City Chiefs cap?
"I like them. I'm cool with the Star.
"I feel like we can relate with something right now," he says to Dallas Cowboys fans. "They are America's team. I got America's song right now."
Stepping out on faith led to his first No. 1 hit. But anyone who listens to him can tell he's not done. He says that he and Cardi B have a record with Juicy J. That's Oscar-winning Juicy J, who is part of the inspiration behind his beats that are "some good gumbo" with "a bit of Three 6, Lil Jon, Timbaland, Jazzy Phe, Scott Storch and Dr. Dre all put together."
His nom de producer is "J. White Did It," something he added after Googling his name.
"I was like 'Oh, OK. My name is, like, everybody's name. So I put the 'Did It' on to just be ... If I didn't do it, I don't know who did.
"I'm gonna do it again, hopefully."