The G-List is’s annual celebration of 40 influential men from various walks of life who define what it means to be a trendsetter with style in their field.

Don’t underestimate the power of a Casio keyboard. When Matthew “Boi-1da” Samuels was young, his mom invested in one because her son had a love for music. The Canadian-born youngster became addicted to it, and was always on his keyboard trying to make beats. That same Boi grew up to be a hit-making producer. But not before paying his dues. The 25-year old started producing records at 16, and soon became a three-time winner of a Battle Of The Beat Makers competition.

Fast forward almost ten years later, and everyone who is anyone is trying to get his or her hands on a Boi-1da beat. As the producer behind Grammy-winning songs by Eminem (“Not Afraid”) and some of Drake’s biggest hits (“Best I Ever Had,” “Over”), Boi-1da is currently behind the boards, and with technology that exceeds his old Casio, there’s no telling what he’ll come up with.

What type of music do you listen to for inspiration?

I listen to a lot of old school music. I like the band Queen. I listen to a lot of Queen, that kind of music inspires me; it’s different from what’s going on today. There’s a lot of saturation in the hip-hop world. A lot of things sound the same. I like to keep my mind open.

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What’s in your iPod right now?

I have Drake in my iPod. He’s making incredible music at this. I have the brand new Drake album.

How did you first link up with Drake?

[A friend] actually introduced me to Drake before Drake was anybody. I heard Drake’s music and loved it. I understood the vision. Upon hearing his music and meeting him and seeing him as a person, we continued to just work and work until stuff ended up blowing up for him. I always knew it would work.

What other producers do you respect?

I give a lot of respect to Lex Luger for creating a sound that is undeniable. There’s a massive amount of young producers trying to copy it. A lot of people wouldn’t say Luger, but I do. Also, Timbaland for reinventing himself so many times in a different way. He’s definitely a legend. Every time he goes away, he comes back with a different style of music that’s unexplainable. And Dr. Dre just for being the legend that he is. He’s broke so many careers and done so many things. He’s the epitome of what I want to be.

How important is style to a producer like you, and what artists do you think have the best style?

My style is very important to my image because it’s important to keep up a style so people identify you. I’m not the type of guy that shops every week and what not, but it’s important to look decent in the public eye, not like a bum. I like Kanye’s style. Kanye West is the best dresser. He’s very fashionable. He just looks fly all the time, even when TMZ catches him walking down the street. It’s always fly and high end.

Any grooming mistakes you’ve learned the hard way?

Yeah. I tried to shave my moustache and my beard one time and I looked like a little kid. It didn’t match. I didn’t get facial hair ‘til I was like 20. It took me so long to get this facial hair and then I shaved it all off. I looked funny.

The G-List is’s annual celebration of 40 influential men from various walks of life who define what it means to be a trendsetter with style in their field.

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