Trackmasters Tell All: Stories Behind Their Classic Records!!!


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Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4
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Trackmasters Tell All: Stories Behind Their Classic Records!!!


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The Notorious B.I.G. "Juicy"

Poke: “This goes back to the whole block party thing. Puff said, ‘Yo ‘Juicy Fruit’ is a hot record to jack.’ OK. I went home, we put the sh*t together, came back to the studio, Biggie rhymed, and that was it. That’s the whole story.

“I don’t know where Pete Rock came from [saying he did the original version]. Maybe Puff tried to get Pete to do it and maybe it didn’t come out the way he meant it. That could have happened prior to it coming for us to do. But that’s really what it was.

“You know what it is also? Because of what we knew about how to chop records up, people had ideas of using things, but they could not get the proper elements they needed to make a verse, a hook, and a bridge.

“But we had the Fadies formula on how to just take anything. I don’t give a fu*k what the record is—we can make it happen. We did that and that’s how ‘Juicy’ came about. Like I said, maybe they tried to do it prior to that and it didn’t work out, but that was the end result. That was the second time [we felt successful]. Working with G Rap was the first.

“The other thing about the business that we didn’t know is the viability of having a Top 10 record on the charts. We didn’t know what the fu*k that was. People were like, ‘You know you got a Top 10 record?’ We were like, ‘So what?’”

Tone: “Billboard didn’t mean anything to us.”

Poke: “We in the fu*king arcade playing video games.”

Tone: “There used to be an arcade around 47th and Broadway and there used to be a basketball video game called Run and Gun. We used to go in there and play it all the time. One day, Steve Stoute was in there playing.

“We started playing Run and Gunagainst each other for hours. We got to talking and it turns out he was down with Kid 'n Play. We were absolutely not interested in Kid 'n Play, but we maintained a relationship with each other.

“One day, I seen him in the studio. He was working with an artist called Bass Blaster. I went up there playing some tracks for Bass Blaster. We knew each other, we were friends, so we had a meeting at RCA Records.

“While in the meeting, Steve said I’ll be right back and went to the other room. He came back like 15 minutes later and said, ‘I just got fired. Do you guys need a manager?’ And that was it. RCA let him go from that day and he became our manager.”

Poke: “Steve just wanted us to understand who we were and where we were in the game. We didn’t understand any of that because we didn’t really understand the business like that. He was trying to make us aware of our value.

“When we got with Steve Stoute and he became our manager, he showed us the viability of what that was. At the time, we had Soul For Real, Mary J. Blige, and Biggie all on the Top 10 charts. Steve was like, ‘Do you know who you n*ggas are?’ We’re like, ‘What are you talking about, man? Let me finish playing fu*king video games. I don’t fu*king care.’”

Tone: “He’d be like, ‘You know how hot you guys are?’ We’d be like, ‘No.’ When Steve came in, he was able to capitalize on the success that we were having. The success that we were having wasn’t being celebrated by anybody. It was kind of just, ‘You can go get those guys any time you want. They’re right there. They’ll be here tomorrow.’”

The Notorious B.I.G. "Respect"

Poke: “It wasn’t me by myself. It was me and Tone who made that beat. The credits read [Poke for Trackmasters] but that was a me-for-my-team kind of deal. If Tone was making records, it was Tone for our team. It’s not like we didn’t do it as a Trackmasters unit.

“Sometimes, because we had certain relationships, we used to do records outside of Trackmasters. But it wasn’t really outside of that; it was just that I had the relationship so I did that. We all knew Puff. I put Poke for Trackmasters, which was our team.

“Back then, credits used to get fu*ked up all the time. Labels would get it fu*ked up, period. Especially if you didn’t have management or a good administration staff behind you making sure that everything is right.

“As we started building our staff and getting our company together, we got good administrators so credits would read better, publishing rights would read better. Everything would be under control. But if it’s just you and your man, especially if you’re 20 years old and you don’t know sh*t, everything would get fu*ked up. That’s why sometimes credits got messed up.

“If you don’t have a good staff, you can get railroaded really fast. That’s one of the things that artists and producers have big problems with trying to make records. It’s a daunting task but someone has to stay on top of it in order for you to get your just due.”

Tone: “I never liked ‘Respect.’ I didn’t like Diana King.”

Poke: “It’s just finding hot loops to use. Let’s try this kind of thing, press play, this sh*t is hot. Trying to fill niches on the album. Which slots work best kind of thing. And it just worked out.

“When Puff make records he tries to make what he considers the 15 best and keep 12. He was going through that whole thing. And it was really the tail end of the album and we were trying to find slots. Let’s do this kind of thing. And Biggie was a beast.”

Tone: “He was a kid too though.”

Poke: “He was happy.”

Tone: “He was just rapping. Once the music business really becomes a part of your life, you start to realize some of it’s not fun anymore. I think when Biggie was making that album, being up in Scarsdale at Puffy’s house, he was just having fun. He was just spitting and taking direction. And that was it.”

Poke: “And you know, Puff whole thing was like, ‘Let me put everybody in the same house and get everything I need to so I don’t have to run around different places.’ So that’s what happens. Mary, Craig Mack, Biggie, Usher, everybody in the same fu*king house. Let’s go. He put together the fu*king unit. We played, we joked, we made records.

“When we made those records, we got snowed in Scarsdale at Puffy’s house. We couldn’t leave. We were there for two and a half, three weeks snowed in. It was a ridiculous snow storm. We could not get out.”

The Notorious B.I.G. f/ Faith Evans & Mary J. Blige "One More Chance Rmx"

Poke: “Puff was like, ‘We need a s*xy record. My fat dude is s*xy. He ugly and s*xy.’ We’re like, ‘Really?’ So he was like, ‘Let’s try to fu*king attack one of these DeBarge joints, let’s go in that direction.’ So we got the DeBarge album and he was like, ‘This ‘Stay With Me’ sh*t, this sh*t right here is the sh*t, n*gga!’

“I’m looking at him like, ‘Are you fu*king nuts? You can’t be serious with what you’re talking about. It’s a ballad.’ That’s what I was thinking, this is a fu*king ballad. So I go home. Now here’s the thing, he’s singing all over the fu*king song. Even when it breaks down, he’s singing all over it. There’s no bass lines, there’s no nothing. So how do you chop it up? So that comes back to our Fadies technique.

“So we take it, chop it up, and bring it to the studio. ‘WOOOO!’ Puff jumps on the table, do all the sh*t that he does, and starts going crazy. Biggie, he’s smoking his la in the back of the studio, bobbing his head. You don’t know what the fu*k he’s doing but the whole record is being written as he’s smoking his chronic. Then he goes into the booth, Mary and Faith come in, and that’s it.”

Tone: “Puff is really good at putting records together. He’s a great executive producer. I guess he just wanted to take all his resources—Mary, Faith, his whole camp. I think the video was supposed to have more people in it singing the hook. That’s basically how that record came together. But because it was a remix and today it’s looked at as the main version.”

Poke: “Obviously. I don’t know when the last time I heard the original. Back then, anything that came out under Bad Boy was Puffy’s record. So he does take credit. Sometimes not on purpose, but just because it came out on Bad Boy.”

Tone: “But there’s great producers that produced for him for years. Easy Mo Bee, Chucky Thompson, Deric ‘D-Dot’ Angelettie, the whole Hitmen crew.”

Poke: “It’s no big deal [we didn’t get the proper credit for that record]. It’s not like Puff don’t know what he’s doing. He is—if not one of the all-time greatest—the best A&Rs in the business. He knew about putting proper elements together and making hits. He probably wasn’t thinking, ‘I may be fu*king up some of these people’s lives by not giving them the proper credit.’

“Mind you, this is pre-e-mail, this is pre-everything being typed out. Stupid sh*t would happen. Let’s say we’re working on an album and we did two songs. Then the artist goes and works with other producers. Then they want to do more records when they get to the tail end of the album and we do more songs. The first set of songs get a first set of credits and then the last set of songs gets a different set of credits; it’s two different pieces of paper that you hand in.

“The information may be the same so the label’s administration will say, ‘We can’t find the other pieces of paper so we’ll just go with these credits because we’re running out of time.’ Then they just mirror whatever the first set of credits were. Then you get writers and musicians getting mad at you, the producer, like, ‘Yo, you d*cked me on the credit and all that.’ It’s like, ‘Yo, I have no control over what these guys at the label do.’

“It’s a little different now because you have email, you can hand it in really fast. But prior to that, there was no email, so you had to physically go in there and hand in the credits. Stuff like that got twisted out a lot.”

“You’re young. You don’t think. You’re just trying to do your thing and make the best situation for yourself. Puff goes in, he puts the proper team together, a hit record comes out, and he takes the [credit]. He’s the pool shark, he’s the best at getting credit. He knows how to seize the opportunity to make sure the credit favors him. It’s cool though.”


 3 weeks ago '14        #2
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The Notorious B.I.G. "Who Shot Ya?"

Poke: “That’s me and Nasheen Myrick [from The Hitmen] on that record but they fu*ked up the credits. I don’t stress that. I’m like, ‘Okay, it’s over. We go on and we make more records.’ It’s a lot of things that people don’t know that we were involved in, like we had some indirect or direct influence on that event.

“We’re not the type of guys that will go out there and just splatter that all over the walls. Things didn’t work out that way because of dumb sh*t that happens. It could be political as well—I don’t know, but I’m not going to beef about 20-year-old politics. It’s definitely a mark in time.

“What happened was, Nashiem Myrick was an up-and-coming producer. He wanted to get in. He had a lot of great ideas but he didn’t know how to put the record together. He didn’t know how to ‘produce’ a record.

“So Puff tells me, ‘Yo, Poke, get with Nash and try to fix this sh*t. I know there’s something there. It sounds crazy, but the drums is light and everything is fu*ked up.’ There was a girl talking on the beat. Puff couldn’t get that out of the record.

“So I had to go in and do what I do to get the drums out and put our sh*t in. And I had to do what I do to get that girl’s voice out. You can still hear it, but it’s low. We did all of that to try and get the whole beat right.

“I remember it was maybe 7 PM and Big was coming in around 9 PM. Puff was like, ‘Let’s get this sh*t together before he gets here because I just want to get him in. I want to make Flex.’ I remember him saying that, ‘I want to make Flex.’

“So Big comes in, Big goes in, and Big does the whole fu*kin’ record. And we brung the DAT tape of that to Hot 97 and Flex played it that night. Puff is brilliant at getting everybody amped for an event or a presentation. So they went straight to Hot 97, Flex went in, and that was it. All in the same same night. Puff was innovative.

“The song was made way before [2Pac got shot]. It had nothing to do with him. Big was just in his element.”

Tone: “It was just so ironic. Who starts off with, ‘Who shot ya?’ When you think about it, that line doesn’t even make sense in the record. It’s just a question. And Puff was the greatest ad-libber ever. He just did it.”

Poke: “They was just wilding. It was just a wild-out record.”

Tone: “[All our records sounds different because] we never wanted to use the same sounds over. If I made a record, I would say to myself, ‘I used that sound on the last record, I’ma use a different kick or a different snare this time.’ When we introduced the clap to the industry, with the R. Kelly records, we were trying to get away from it when people were embracing it. We never wanted you to just say, ‘That’s a Trackmasters record.’

“We have this phrase, we call ourselves TM—that’s Tailor Made—because we always to make records specifically for the artist. I never wanted to cheat the artist. I never wanted to give him something that sounded like an artist that we worked with before. So in a sense, when you say our records sound different, they’re different because of reasons like that. We always try to use new sounds to stay creative.

“Thinking back, when I think about the success producers have had in all genres, they all kind of keep to their sound. That’s something that we never did. For example, Premier had a sound. Even though he used different kicks and snares, he chopped his sh*t like no other. He always had his DJ scratch in there, that was his signature. So you knew the way that thing was chopped up like, ‘Oh, that’s Premo.’

“Even producers that I idolized like Teddy Riley. I’m like, ‘Yo this motherfu*ker never changes his snare.’ But I look up to him. Out of the producers that I idolize, it’s Teddy Riley, Premo, Dr. Dre. Those are guys that I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’ And Timbaland, I don’t idolize him as much, but I always admired what he did to music when he put his sh*t down.”

Poke: “Timbaland came from left field. He came out of DeVante’s camp, but he had his own swing and sound. His swing changed the game.”

Tone: “And Timbaland told us that too. He said, ‘When you hear my sound, it’s going to change everything.’ He told me that one night at a party. He wasn’t lying. Even to this day. Timbaland’s sound is Timbaland’s sound.”

Poke: “You know it when you hear it.”

Method Man f/ Mary J. Blige "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By"

Poke: “That song is us. [We produced it] all the way. Everything. Big record, but the credits got twisted out. It’s listed as Puff Daddy as producer and drum programming by Poke, or some sh*t like that. But it was us, all the way. It’s fu*king ridiculous. A soon as the record comes out, we seen the credits like, ‘What the fu*k!?! We just got d*cked.’

“It was a big deal. You come in the studio, you’re making hot records, and you know that this sh*t is fire. You’re going home thinking, ‘Oh, I’m good. I’m about to have this record come out.’ Then the fu*king record winds up winning a fu*king Grammy and you’re like, ‘Holy sh*t, I did that record!’

“But when lawyers get involved, credits get fixed. It may not get fixed on the actual records though, because if you got a record that sold a million copies, there’s a million copies with wrong credits out there. It’s not like you can tell them to retract all the copies. All they do is fix it moving forward on the second or third shipment, so maybe 300,000 copies have the right credits.

“Stuff like that was going on all the time. There’s a million records out there with wrong credits that nobody knows. That happened not just to us but to Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, and a lot of guys. Large Professor went through that big time.

“What happened was I was in my crib and Puff was like, ‘Yo, you’ve got to do this remix for Mary and Meth.’ Okay, I’m on my way. I jumped on the train and came down to the studio. I went into the studio. Mary didn’t get to the studio yet and then Meth came in.

“This is the situations that Tone and I hate: there was like 50 n*ggas in the studio. It was Wu-Tang’d out like it was crazy. I’m there trying to make this fu*king record and I’m looking back at all these smoked-out dudes.

“I’m like, ‘How the fu*k am I gonna make a hot record in front of all these guys?’ I asked Puff, ‘Can you tell these n*ggas to go wait in the lounge?’ He was like, ‘n*gga, you want me to tell all these n*ggas to go get in the lounge? You’re bugging.’ So I’m like, okay.

“They played me the original version of the song, the one that RZA did. No disrespect, but I said to myself, ‘This sh*t is wack. What the fu*k am I going to do?’ I was sitting there and then Puff was like, ‘We’ve got to keep the melody, we got to keep the whole vibe.’ I was like, ‘What?’ Puff was like, ‘Just do something. Let’s grab one of the loops, it’s gonna be easy. Mary’s going to do her thing on it. We’re going to put them in the club!’

“I was like, ‘We’re going to put them in the club with this record? How the fu*k are we going to do that?’ The engineer was looking at me like, ‘What are we doing?’ I was like, ‘Holy sh*t.’ Puff was like, ‘We need to just make them bounce like one of them Slick Rick records.’ I was like, ‘You got any Slick Rick beats with you?’ So he told the intern to go get a Slick Rick album. The intern gets the Slick Rick album.

“He gives me the Slick Rick album and we’re playing it.’ I was like, ‘OK, I can use these drums.’ So I chopped up the kicks and snares and I put the beat on and the beat was on for like at least 15 minutes, just the beat.

“The strings were on the track, I said we can keep these strings. It was just the strings on the hook and I was like, ‘So what are we going to do?’ Then I took the M1 and I got to the favorite bass that we liked on the M1 and added that. I was just going, ‘Dun dun, dun dun.’

“Puff start going crazy. ‘AHHHH! THIS IS IT! THIS THE SMASH!’ He started doing all the sh*t that he does. So I’m looking at him like, ‘Really? This sh*t is hot?’ He’s like, ‘This is hot.’ So Meth does his Meth sh*t and I track it.

“But then Steve Stoute came and grabbed me out the studio and was like, ‘Yo, we’re not doing this no more.’ I said, ‘Let me just finish this record.’ Steve walks in and has the biggest argument in the world with Puff about me being in the studio. That’s when Steve was like, ‘Yo, we can’t let this sh*t happen no more. If Puffy calls you, don’t even go back to the studio because this is bullsh*t.’”

Tone: “At the time, Steve was trying to straighten out our business. Puffy was being resistant and was like, ‘I got my own deal with Poke.’ Steve was trying to be like, ‘Man, you can’t just do that.’”

Poke: “I finished making the record and went home. Next day, Puff calls me and is like, ‘n*gga WE GOT A SMASH!!’ I’m like, ‘Really? Alright cool.’ But then I say, ‘Puff, you my dude and all but we got to like, have a conversation with Steve about how we’re going to move forward with all this stuff.’

“Puff is like, ‘n*gga what? I gotta talk to somebody? n*gga, I got you on speed dial! How you going to tell me I got to call somebody?!?!’ After that, we didn’t make any more records with Puff. Just like that.

“[In the end] I got the Grammy for that record, but it’s upsetting that the audience can’t acknowledge or appreciate the true career of a marquee production team in retrospect. You say to yourself, ‘Damn, if they would have known everything that we had done, they would have looked at us differently than they look at us now.’

“Not to say that people look at us and don’t think that we’ve done great work. I just think that they would have looked at it like instead of us being let’s say top 10 producers, we would’ve been top 7 or something. It’s cool. We move on. We make mistakes in life and we move forward.

“There were a lot of different situations where we influenced or directed a situation or put our stamp on something and didn’t get credited for. And then it wound up being the best sh*t at the time. We just look at those situations and know what not to do next time.

“We seen Puff all the time [after falling out over ‘All I Need’]. It was just, if you want to hire the Trackmasters to make a record for you, you’re going to hire the Trackmasters to make a record for you. That was the mentality. It wasn’t no more of, ‘They’re going to come in, you’re going to get all the credit, and you’re going to get all of the money.’ No. These are the Trackmasters. You are hiring them to produce a record.”

LL Cool J f/ Boyz II Men "Hey Lover"

Tone: “LL was managed by Chris Lighty at the time.”

Poke: “Chris Lighty was the A&R at Def Jam and we’ve known Chris for forever.”

Tone: “He basically came to us and said, ‘Y’all gotta fix LL.’ We were like, ‘Cool.’ We were just in Chung King Studios that night working on some other project. We played LL the ‘Hey Lover’ beat and he lost his mind, like, ‘Yo, this is the record! This is the joint!’ In that conversation we said, ‘Who’s the rapper and who’s the singer?’ Because we always wanted to make event records.

“LL wanted Boyz II Men, which was unheard of. Like, Boyz II Men is not singing on anybody’s rap record. Somehow they got Boyz II Men on the phone and they were shooting a video in Philly. Right there we said, ‘Let’s get in the car, go down, and play them the track.’

“We drove down to Philly with a cassette tape and ran up on Boyz II Men. We got into Wanya Morris’ white Range Rover, played the track, and LL started spitting the rhymes to him. He was like, ‘I love this, let’s do it right now!’

“We went over to their studio in Philly. We didn’t know that we were about to record a record that night. We were not prepared. I just had the track on the cassette. We went into the studio and I went looking for my disk and I was like, ‘I don’t have the files.’ It wasn’t a Pro-Tools era, you couldn’t email sh*t. I just had the cassette.

“I fu*king put the cassette in the tape deck and looped it. I looped it into the MPC, they bounced it to a 2-inch reel, and that’s what you hear on the radio now. We didn’t touch it after that. That’s the record.

“After that, LL was just like, ‘I like you guys, I like how you lock in. I just wanna lock in with you guys and make a record.’ That record was like a blur to me.”

LL Cool J f/ Fat Joe, Foxy Brown, Keith Murray & Prodigy "I Shot Ya (Remix)"

Poke: “We locked in with LL for two weeks at Chung King and just went in. I remember we played him the ‘I Shot Ya’ beat. At first we didn’t even want to give him the beat because we wanted the beat for Biggie. But Chris Lighty was like, ‘No! You’re giving him the beat!’”

Tone: “It’s funny how the name came up because it was a beat for Big but it reminded everybody of ‘Who Shot Ya?’ And somebody in the room said, ‘This is not ‘Who Shot Ya? It’s I Shot Ya.’ And that’s how the title came up. So L was writing rhymes and we were like, ‘Ohhhhh.’ It’s crazy because Prodigy was in the other room writing.”

Poke:“I know we went and got P to get on the record. Somebody else rapped on the record and we took them off. I can’t remember who it was.

“Chris Lighty was managing Fat Joe at the time. Joe really wanted to be on an event record and that would have been the staple for him. He was like, ‘Yo, lemme just go on. I promise you the rhymes are gonna be amazing.’ So we were like, 'Okay.’ So he got on the record.

“There was a big thing about putting Foxy Brown on the record. They were like, ‘We’re not putting no new artists on the record.’ Until she went in the booth and spit and they were like, ‘Holy sh*t, we gotta keep her on this record!’ That spawned Foxy.

“Tone grew up with Foxy and her brother Antwan. Foxy used to have a record deal at Capitol—she was AKA at that time. Then she was outta that deal.”

Tone: “She was basically gonna be our artist.”

Poke: “So when she got on the beat and murdered it, everybody was like, ‘Yo, this is it.’ So we did the Def Jam deal and then immediately we started on that record. Everybody knew that we had to seize the opportunity because this was the record that was gonna launch her.”

 3 weeks ago '14        #3
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Nas "The Message"

Tone: “Nas had always been a friend of mine since ‘Back To The Grill’ with MC Serch. At the time, I was a rapper and Nas was a rapper. There was kind of like a rivalry thing between us. I think there was a small part of just getting used to that. Also, me not being a rapper anymore and producing now, and Nas trusting me producing tracks for him. That was big on his part to look past that.

“At the time, we were managed by Steve Stoute, who was also looking to manage Nas. In the conversation Steve had with Nas, he said, ‘You know, once you’re in with Trackmasters, it tends to produce the record.’

“That didn’t really sit well with Nas because Nas was known as an underground rapper and we’d had a lot of mainstream success. In the beginning it was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. But Nas agreed to give it a shot and we were all excited.”

Poke: “We felt a lot of pressure because Illmatic was a benchmark in hip-hop. The thing about Illmatic wasn’t the records themselves or the album, it was the movement behind it. So how do we make it that?”

Tone: “We both managed to ignore the criticism that people started to give us because here we were going in with Nas and we were going to make radio records with him. But Nas didn’t really know what we knew, which was that we come from the underground. We come from Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane, The Real Roxanne. We come from that era. That’s what we do.

“So what happened with 'The Message' was I was at home watching the movie The Professional one night. The movie went off and the song ‘Shape of My Heart’ by Sting came on. I jumped up and said, 'Oh my God.' At the time, there wasn’t no Internet so I ran down to the record store, found out who made it, went home, and chopped it up. That was different for hip-hop at the time. It was actually the first time we experimented with Latin-feeling guitars.

“'Shape Of My Heart,' that’s a love song. You don’t get any more pop than that. Using that sample with Nas, it was like, 'Wow. Where are they going with this.' So it was a very popular sample, with a pop artist, and now you’ve got Nas rapping on it.

“I brought the beat to the studio one night. It was at the end of a session, at Chung King, and they were like, 'What do we work on next?' I threw the cassette on and the intro had Nas really stuck because we got the intro from Scarface, which was really big for him. He was listening to it but when the drums kicked it he went bananas. He jumped up like, 'Oh my God!' Instantly, he knew the rhyme for the record.

“It took me a minute to really realize the picture he was painting. I was so caught up in the flow that he was putting on it that I didn’t even listen to what he was actually saying. The picture he on 'The Message' that was incredible.

“There was some undertones with him taking little jabs at other rappers in that record. [Laughs.] The 'Lex with TV sets, the mininum,' that line was directed right at Jay-Z. I’ll say it since they’re friends now. Jay was fronting hard with the Lexus, at the time, in his videos and there was a little rivalry brewing. It hadn’t really started yet, but it was brewing.”

Poke: “He definitely was referring to New York as a whole with that one king line. And I know 'Lex with TV sets, the minimum' was definitely at Jigga-man. Nas is very subliminal. You would have to read into it to know that he was even talking about Jay.”

Nas "Street Dreams"

Poke: “At the time, Tupac had come out with the same sample. We had no idea he was doing that. Some people ask, 'Did Tupac take that idea from Nas, or did Nas take that idea from Tupac? What’s the deal with that?' They were just being creative on the West Coast and we were being creative on the East Coast, it just so happened to play out like that. That was a total coincidence.”

Tone: “You’ve got to understand, Nas is used to dealing with producers like Large Professor, Q-Tip, Premo, where they’re giving him raw hip-hop. Our whole thing was raw hip-hop is good—and we love it—but it has to have enough of an appeal to get the people in the stores to buy your record. Not just your homeboy on the block.

“One of the main things that we thought about was producing Nas and making it so that he doesn’t lose credibility. The word ‘sellout’ was a big word, back then. If you got labeled with that word, as a rapper, you were finished. So we had to make sure that we could get him stuff that was middle-of-the-road—that radio could understand and that the hood could understand.

“Once Nas got comfortable and we had a gameplan on how to make this album, things started to magically come together. We knew that, in doing this album, we were going to have to bring in other people, like DJ Premier, to make it a broad enough album so that people don’t say that we tried to make this guy a commercial rapper.

"A lot of people don’t realize that Nas was really one of the first rappers who opened that door and made it okay to sing. On Big’s very record, he was singing the hook. Nas opened the door for that. Nas is a very melodic guy. He always loved to do things like that. Even on 'Black Girl Lost,' that has nothing to do with us or Steve Stoute, that’s just him being creative and bringing out who he really is.

“We also tried to incorporate original hip-hop. If you listen to original hip-hop—like Crash Crew and all those guys—they were all singing. So we tried to incorporate that type of feel on record. It isn’t that they’re trying to be Luther Vandross, they’re just harmonizing. They’re giving melody to the record. So you can sing along when the hook comes, as opposed to just being on stage and pointing the finger and trying to just rhyme. You get the audience interaction when they can sing the record along with you.”

Nas f/ Lauryn Hill "If I Ruled The World"

Poke: “The first track we played for Nas was ‘If I Ruled The World.’”

Tone: “We didn’t have a singer on it at first. We played it for him and I don’t think he got it at first.”

Poke: “He was definitely resistant. The thing about Nas is that he’s pure hip-hop. We were trying to cross him over, trying to give him a broader appeal in the marketplace. He got flack for that because everybody was saying that we were trying to water him down. So when we played him the record, he was like, ‘I don’t know.’

“The strategy became lets give him harder records first, so that we can ease him into the radio records. We also tried to make sure that on the harder records, the hooks were sing-along enough that they could cross over to the mainstream. That was the strategy.

“It was kind of like a spoon-fed system to get him comfortable with the strategy that we had and put him out there. After three or four records, he was like, ‘We’re in the zone, right now. Let’s get busy.’

Tone: "But we were still looking for someone to sing 'If I Ruled The World.' We had to find that person that had hip-hop credibility. Do we get a pop singer? No, that’s not going to work. We had a get a singer that was suitable on the hip-hop side of the arena.

“The only other person that could have sung that was R. Kelly, but at the time we didn’t start working with him yet. But 'Killing Me Softly' had just popped. It started catching on and Lauryn Hill was the one."

Poke: “Nas did a couple of those verses over because it just didn’t work in the concept of the record. Some of the lines didn’t work with some of the records that we were doing, across the board. But sometimes it was just magic and everything worked.

“As an artist, sometimes you get tunnel-vision and you don’t see every other aspect. Nas would always ask, 'What do you think about this? What do you think about that?' and we would give him our real opinion, like, 'Nah, I don’t think that verse will work' or 'I don’t think that line works.'"

Poke: “The song has a Whoudini sample and then we just took the 'If I Ruled The World' hook from Kurtis Blow. Nas came up with the 'If I Ruled The World' title, and that’s when we were like, 'Yo that should be the whole hook.'

“We were one of the pioneers of, 'Yo lets make block party records.' Like, what DJ’s used to do, back then, they used to just put on instrumentals of an R&B record and emcees used to just rap over it. So we had that whole mentality of let do that. That’s when everybody started going sample crazy because we started doing that stuff and it was working at radio.

“[The whole ‘sellout’ label] made no sense to me. Like, if you sell more than the regular album, than you’re a sell-out. That’s what the mentality was.I think the stigma about selling out is how many records you sell because if you listen to all the beats that we made, they weren’t sell-out beats. They were hip-hop beats or they were R&B records that a rapper would rap on.

“I don’t think it came from what beats you made or if a person was singing because in the beginning of hip-hop, that’s what it was. It was singing with R&B records like 'Another One Bites The Dust' or 'Good Times.' All of those records are the records rappers used to rap on at block parties and DJs used to blend and mix. That’s what we used to do at block parties.

“We took the same concept and tried to put it on wax, and now all of a sudden we’re sell-outs because the record sells a lot? It made no sense. I would think that you would give it up to us because we’re paving the way for rappers to sell more records than they ever sold before. Prior to that, for rap acts, it was like, 'You’re going to sell platinum? That’s not going to happen.'”

Foxy Brown f/ Jay-Z "I'll Be"

Tone: “That was a record that was just another record on the album. The thing about the Foxy album was it was basically our creation. It wasn’t like working with LL, where we did it in conjunction with him. We’d put a track for him, if he liked it then he’d rap. With Foxy, it wasn’t like that.

“With Fox, it was like, ‘Rhyme.’ We had our whole vision. For that song we wanted Jay-Z to rap so he basically went in, spit it, he pinned it. Then she came in and did it. It was just another routine record. It wasn’t a long process, we played it, we had it at that and then we went to Hit Factory, where Jay laid the vocals. And that was really pretty much it.”

Poke: “He wasn’t supposed to even really be on the record.”

Tone: “That’s right he wasn’t supposed to be on the record.”

Poke: “He wasn’t supposed to stay on the record, we kinda just opened up his vocals, and we just kept them. Then he decided, ‘Yo this is a hot record, I’ma stay on it.’Then he wrote his part. She writes herself.”

Tone: “Our whole thing was that we tried to make her Foxy Brown—the uptempo s*xy bi*ch. That’s what we wanted to make her, the hard, uptempo bi*ch.”

 3 weeks ago '14        #4
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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The Firm f/ Dawn Robinson of En Vogue "Firm Biz"

Tone: “I never looked at that album as a failure. I always looked at that project as innovative. It was the first of its kind. No ones ever put a rapper from this label, this label, and this label and said lets make a record. I'm not pointing blame but I'm gonna be honest with you, The Firm flopping had a lot to do with the players.

“You had Nas, AZ, Foxy, and Nature. There was something between Nas and Foxy because Foxy was rolling with Jay-Z so it was a tug of war. Then you had Nature who was the new artist we were trying to break. He wanted to be bigger, faster. He wanted to be hot overnight.

“Then you had AZ who was looked at as Nas’s right hand man but didn’t have the success that Nas had. And you had Nas, and ultimately it was a Nas album. So it was just a lot of little things going on.

“The reason it failed was because they tried to apply music business equations to a street album. We made the album and the hottest records were the street records, so we should have lead with a street record. But at the time radio was the thing so you had to get a record on radio and ‘Firm Biz’ was our attempt at radio.

“We never should have made that record. We should have just let it be a street record and it would have been ridiculous, it would have been hot on the streets to this day. If you take that one record off the album, it’s a street album. It was just our attempt to get out there. And what happened was it was everything wrong with the music biz.”

Poke: “We should have lead with ‘Phone Tap,’ that’s still hot. If we would have lead with that the perception would have been very different.”

Tone:“We went with everything wrong with the music business. We went with a radio record, we went with the most expensive video director there is, and the most expensive video ever made. After that it was like, ‘fu*k that we ain’t spending no more money on this project.’ That’s kinda what did it for that album.

"And the label you’re on dictated how the streets felt about you back then. So the group shouldn’t have been on Aftermath because it was all New York rappers. So we did everything wrong.

“I don’t care what Jay-Z says, I don’t consider the album a flop. I don’t even know who did an album like that afterwards. The album has made its mark in the industry, you can always reference The Firm album in terms of what to do and what not to do. That’s a good album to me.

Poke: “If you take out ‘Firm Biz,’ that album is joint after joint. The presentation was just wrong.”

Jay-Z f/ Sauce Money "Face Off"

Poke: “They had the Nas battle thing going on.”

Tone:“Jay and Steve Stoute had a relationship after they found out that they were related somewhere in their family bloodline. We were always trying to figure out how to work with Jay-Z.

"The two artists who we always had a problem working with were Jay and Lil’ Kim cause we were Nas and Foxy producers and it’s just the way the industry was cut. Jay had always wanted a record from us and one day so we just said let’s do something.

“Jay was in the office with Stoute and they were playing Madden. The bet between Jay and Stoute was that Trackmasters had to do a record for him if he won. Jay won the bet and we went in to do ‘Face Off.’

“Jay came in, we put up the Soul Makossa record, the sample, he had Sauce Money in there, and they went in together. It was hot. It was simple, nothing major. It was a one off. We weren’t gonna be in the studio for 2 weeks. It was just one session, he came, he spit, and it was over. It was never a friendship.”

Poke: “We were loyal to Nas at that time. It was like, ‘Aight were gonna give you a joint but we ain’t just going in with you like that.’ But we were always friends with Jay, he used to live in the building as Tone [at 560 State Street].”

 3 weeks ago '14        #5
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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Will Smith "Gettin' Jiggy wit It"

Poke: “Monster hit. That was bigger than ‘Men in Black.’”

Tone: "We did that album in 2 weeks.”

Poke: “I was at home we were trying to find records. So I call Will and I say, ‘I'm on my way I got it.’ He's like okay. So we get there, put the record on, and I started to do this dance move. Me and Will were doing [the ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ dance].

“I said, ‘Yo we gonna do it like this! You’re gonna do this in the video and we’re gonna call it ‘Getting jiggy.’ It’s gonna be jigged out, we’re gonna get jiggy with it.’ And Will was like, ‘Yeah! We’re gonna get jiggy with it! This sh*t is hot. Let’s do it,’ and he went in the booth.

“The whole thing comes from a Brooklyn term, people would say, ‘n*ggas is jigged out.’ That’s what it is, so we got jiggy. That’s the premise of that record. That’s how we came up with the whole thing, just doing the dance.

“When you're making these records, you don’t think about that it’s gonna be this big of a thing. You're just making another record. It took a lot of conversations, planning, and back and forth of, ‘Which song is the single on this record?’ As we kept playing it, it took a week before we decided that this is the record that we're gonna go with.

“When it was at radio, we were having a slight problem because ‘Men and Black’ was still on fire. So if you're trying to get another record playing then you're battling against yourself, we were undercutting ourselves.

“And they were having issues and at black radio where ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ wasn’t working. It was like, ‘Nah, this ain’t gonna work.’ But ‘Men In Black’ was already Top 40. We were already eight million records sold with the Men in Black soundtrack when ‘Getting Jiggy With It’ came in. When it reached Top 40 radio, that’s when it started snapping and started moving up and everyone was like ‘Wow.’

“I remember someone coming to me and saying, ‘You know what’s going on with your record?’ and I was like, ‘fu*k you talking about?’ They were like, ‘Yo, this record is gone! You don’t even understand what’s happening right now.’ We had a certain amount of spins for one audience and this and that.

“Next thing you know, by the Christmas time the Men in Black album and the Big Willie Style were doing like 250,000 each. per week. It was crazy. It was like, ‘Get the fu*k outta here. Who is this guy? What’s going on?’”

Will Smith "Miami"

Tone: “‘Miami’ is funny because we were almost finished with the damn record and we wanted a Spanish girl to say ‘Bienvenidos a Miami’ which means ‘Welcome to Miami’ in Spanish.

“We were at the Hit Factory so we went downstairs, right outside the studio, and I'm standing outside basically asking girls, ‘Do you want to be on a song?’ I was just asking Spanish girls and they thought I was crazy. Finally, I found one. They knew who Will Smith was and they came upstairs.”

Poke:“They didn’t believe that Will Smith was there.”

Tone: “That whole album was an eye-opening experience because we didn’t realize how irresponsible the music business was. Say we got a session that starts at six o’clock. In the music business that means eight or even nine o’clock.

“But Will wanted to work one to six or seven o’clock and that was it. He would be in studio waiting for us at 1 o’clock. When 7 o'clock hit he was like, ‘Okay, guys I'm out.’ So it was kinda tough because it was like we’re not gonna get any work done [but we made it work].

“That was a fun album to make. When it was lunch time it was lunch time. He would stop like, ‘I gotta eat lunch.’ And we are big, we ate like kings with Will. I think that was the eye opener to how Hollywood operates and how the music biz operates. But it was a great time we had a good time with Will.”

Will Smith f/ Coko of SWV "Men in Black"

Tone: “Will had hooked up with Steve Stoute and Tommy Mottola. We were making pop hits at the time and they basically wanted us to work with him. We didn’t want it. We looked at it like, ‘What is Will Smith?’ His last hit was ‘Summertime,’ When they asked us to do it we got on the phone with Will and had a conversation.”

Poke:“When Will walked in the door he had some tight, white fu*king pants and a choker on. He was coming from some event and he was like, ‘Yo, listen I'm corny and I know I'm [dressed very] tight right now. I know I'm corny, but whatever you need me to do to make me cool, I'm in.’”

Tone: “We spoke about the record, and it being for a soundtrack, they paid a lot of money. So we did the record. I didn’t understand it until I saw the movie. I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on like, ‘What is this guy talking about?’ Even after he told us what the video was gonna be like. When you look at the music video, it’s the movie. You have the aliens dancing in the video. Back then, no one used that kind of technology in a music video.”

Poke: “Homegirl from SWV didn’t even want to be in the video. She was like, ‘Will Smith? fu*k outta here.’ She sang the record but she was like I'm not doing this video. That was the worst mistake of her life.”

Tone: “We understood what the record was supposed to be, but we didn’t know that it would be as big as it was going to be. We did the record but I think the best thing to come out of it was the friendship with Will. We really hit it off.”

Tone: “We got along so well that right after that song, we started talking about doing Big Willie Style.”

 3 weeks ago '14        #6
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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50 Cent f/ The Madd Rapper "How To Rob"

Poke: “‘How to Rob’ was our street record to lead up to the single that we were about to put out with him and Destiny’s Child. It was just a street single.”

Tone: “That came about because he had another song where he made a reference to robbing someone and we said why don’t you make a whole record out of that. We did it in one night, we came back and were like this is fu*king crazy.

"We had the Mad Rapper signed to Columbia at that time and adding him was a good way to make it a fun song that wasn’t so serious. It was too serious and there were rhymes that we had to take out.”

Poke: “We took some people out of the record, like we took out the Mariah Carey disses. He did it much iller [than the final version] but it was like, ‘Nah, we can’t do that.’”

Tone: “I seen Jay-Z in a club one night. We were friends by this point and he said ‘Yo whatsup with your man?’ I said, ‘Aww leave him alone. He's just playing around.’ He's like, ‘Naaah I’ll give him half a bar.’ And that’s what happened at Summer Jam.”

Poke: “He knew that 50 was an artist of ours so he said, ‘I gotta say something.’ A lot of people took offence to that record. We told him to diss Trackmasters on the song because we didn’t want people to think that he's just going at people, we wanted them to think that he's having fun so he's even robbing his own dudes.”

Tone: “It was his dream of fu*king an R&B bi*ch except it didn’t go over as smooth.”

Poke: “It was an immediate shock at radio because when they played it on Hot 97 it was over, everybody was talking about this record. It immediately got him noticed and that’s what we were looking for, attention.”

50 Cent "Ghetto Qu'ran (Forgive Me)"

Tone: “Since I’m not from Queens, some of the stuff that he was talking about on that song was educational for me. I didn’t even know some of the stuff that took place. He was managed at the time by a Queens gangster [Ed. Note—At the time, 50 Cent was managed by Chaz "Slim" Williams] who kinda said it was okay [from him to say that stuff].

“Soon after [50 and his manager fell out], we pulled the record off the album because he was no longer managed by him. A couple of [street] guys were like, ‘We were cool with it but if he's not running with [Slim], we’re not cool with it anymore.’ So we actually pulled the record off the album so he would stay out of trouble because we didn’t want no drama. Years later, it got out because sh*t just leaks.”

Poke: “Labels had this whole thing about risks. There are labels that take risks because they are edgy, i.e. Interscope. Jimmy Iovine has no problem with risks, he wants the drama, he’s gonna embellish this fu*king drama and sell records. Columbia was so corporate and so niche, the whole Sony family is very much like that.

“So when 50 got shot, we were like this sh*t is ridiculous. An artist gets shot, we know how big this artist could be, and you guys want to drop him? But by then, we were really on our last leg of even being at Columbia. We were just like, ‘Yo, this sh*t is stupid.’

"Then they started coming and telling us sh*t like, ‘Yo we should drop Wyclef.’ We’re like ‘What?!?!’ Prior to that, they just dropped Alicia Keys. We were like, ‘You people are fu*king ridiculous.’”

Mya f/ Jay-Z "Best of Me Pt. 2"

Tone: “Another good record and another good story. Steve Stoute was head of black music over at Interscope and at the time we were still his guys. He wanted a remix so we went in and knocked the remix out. I remember Mya couldn’t cut the vocals properly and it took forever. When it was done, we wanted Jay-Z on it.

“So Jay came to the studio that night at The Hit Factory. He got it right away he understood what it was but he didn’t like Mya’s vibe in the room. He looked at her like she was a spoiled brat because she was. He looked at her like, ‘I'm about to rap on your record, you're about to have a hit, and I don’t think you really appreciate it.’

“She was like this new artist on Interscope, she didn’t even really understand what was going on. So he didn’t do the record when he got there. Once again, he gave a preview of what it was gonna sound like, but he didn’t do the record because he didn’t feel like it.

“So he left and we had to tell Mya like, ‘Yo Mya, Jay wants to do the record but he feels like you’re not even giving him any love, like no thank you or none of that.’ But that’s just her personality. So we went to L.A. for some music awards were around that time and we had one more shot at getting Jay to come to the studio.

“And obviously Jay came in and Mya was more cordial towards Jay. He laid the rhyme down, Steve asked for a shoutout, and that’s basically it. That’s a good record and Jay-Z charged her through the nose for it.”

2Pac f/ R.L. "Until the End of Time"

Tone: “I was actually consulting at Interscope at one time and they had just built their studio inside of the Interscope offices in L.A. Nobody had worked in the studio yet and Jimmy Iovine was like, ‘Tone why don’t you come out and work in the studio? You can let us know what you think about it and help us tweak it?’ I said cool.

“When I get out there, we have the conversation about the 2Pac record and what I could work on in the studio. They had a bunch of 2Pac acapellas, so there was that and there was one other record, ‘Letter to My Unborn.’ They gave me the acapellas, I went down into the studio and we just created the music to go behind Pac’s acapellas.

“RL was just a cool friend of mine who happened to be in L.A. and I called him over to the studio, not necessarily to do that but just hanging out. When he got there, it just so happened that it’d be perfect for him to sing the hook. He sang the hook on the record and that was just it, we spent about two days on the record. It was pretty cut and dry but that record was the first record created in Interscope studios.”

Nas "Blaze A 50"

Poke: “We went in [in the late '90s] and Nas made like 60 records. There was a batch of 15 to 20 records that got leaked and hit the streets as a Nas mixtape. Nas got upset and was like, ‘I'm doing all new records.’ It was like, ‘Oh sh*t.’

“Steve Stoute had to calm him down like, ‘We can't do that. You can't just go in and make all new records. Let’s just keep the records that you have.’ Those records became I Am.... And the ‘take those other records’ later turned into The Lost Tapes. That’s pretty much, it came out of that batch of records.”

 3 weeks ago '14        #7
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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R. Kelly f/ Jay-Z & Boo & Gotti "Fiesta (Remix)"

Tone: “We did the remix to the track and we wanted to get Jay-Z on the record. Jay-Z was really hard [to get on a record]. You had to really have a smash to get Jay on a record.

"Jay and Steve Stoute were really cool at the time and we told him, ‘We want to get you on this record’ and he said, ‘Alright, I'm thinking about it.’ Rob was a spoiled brat, he's like, ‘Just get such and such on the record,’ and then it’s supposed to be done. Meanwhile, Jay was not that type of guy.

“Eventually, he wanted Jay-Z on the record, they had know each other. So they flew down and Jay gets to the studio and R Kelly isn’t there, obviously because he does his thing [where he disappears for hours].

"Jay is in the studio and the beat comes on and he's instantly like, ‘Oh my God! This is a monster.’ In the studio, Jay will have a conversation with you and be talking but he's writing the rhymes [in his head]. I'm on the boards, I was next to him, and I'm like, ‘Yo let’s just put it down.’ He's looking at me like, ‘Where’s Rob?’ He was like he's not gonna do nothing until Rob gets there.

"So Rob doesn’t show up for a while and Jay gets aggravated, and he's like, ‘I'm out. I'm leaving. I gotta go.’ We’re in Chicago and we’re like, ‘Where the fu*k are you going?’ But Jay’s tight and he was finished. So, he gives us a preview of what its gonna sound like. He starts spitting the rhymes like, ‘After the show it’s the after party.’ He starts going all the way in and me and Steve Stoute are like, ‘Oh my God! This is gonna be crazy!’

"But Jay leaves the studio and he's got a flight because he's going home. So we had to convince Jay to stay one more night, we made up some excuse. I don’t even know why Rob didn’t show up.

“Rob showed up later for Jay looking for Jay. Jay had moved his flight to the next morning because he was supposed to fly right back out that night. When Jay comes back to the studio, has a conversation with Rob, and they talk like, ‘Yo, where were you at?’ Then Jay goes in and he puts the famous rhyme down. [Laughter.] But the real story to that record is after we got the vocals up.”

Poke: “Oh this is good.”

Tone: “We partied in the studio to ‘Fiesta’ till the next morning. We played it on loop. We had girls and liquor and we were just getting it in the studio. Just that one record, on repeat. It be like, ‘Rewinnnd!!!!’ That’s how we knew that sh*t was a hit. We knew what it was from the moment Jay put it down. That lead to the Best of Both Worlds album.”

Jay-Z "Jigga That n*gga"

Tone: “It was actually one of the first records he recorded for the album. Jay used to do a thing called ‘I Survived Beat Wednesday.’ Producers would go to Baseline studios and they would play beats. If they liked anything on your tape, they would give you a t-shirt. I was the first candidate.

“‘Jigga My n*gga’ wasn’t done for Jay. It was done for, MC Lyte. When we finished it, I thought it was more for Jay. When I was recording it, Shaka Zulu and his wife were in the studio. His speaks French so she came in and did that little intro in the beginning. Then I ran over to the studio and Jay loved it as soon as he heard it.

“Jay vocaled that record twice actually. He vocaled it the first time and I thought it was a hit. Then I left and three days later and he was like, ‘Yo I did the rhymes over, you’re gonna love it like this. I promise you.’ It wasn’t a single, we thought it would be but it wasn’t.”

Jay-Z & R. Kelly The Best of Both Worlds "Album"

Poke: “Everything that could have went wrong with that album did.”

Tone: “Listen, just so you know, everything went wrong in the 12th hour. We were done with the album, we were talking about shooting the video.”

Poke: “Listen, if he didn’t catch a charge, they woulda done the tour and the video, and that record woulda sold 10 million records. Hands down.”

Tone: “That album came about because I lied. I told Jay that Rob wanted to make an album and I told Rob that Jay wanted to make an album. They were fans of each other. Working with both of them, I knew how they felt about each other. So I said it to each of them and then just played the dumb middle guy. Then they spoke on the phone and they wanted to do it. All I had to do at that point was get tracks.

“They made the entire album without ever being in studio together. They were in studio one time together between both albums and that was for press. Other than that, it was me out in Chicago.

"Rob was going on a cruise to like Africa or some crazy sh*t. He was going to be gone. I was like, ‘You can’t be gone. I gotta finish this record.’ We only had like three records done with both of their vocals. Rob sat in the studio the night before he left on his cruise and put lyrics and choruses on like nine records.

“I took those songs, went back to New York, and went to Jay’s studio. Jay was like, ‘Let’s go.’ I played him the songs and one by one he did his rhymes for every one of those songs. That was it. He was like, ‘This is easy’ because he only had to put one verse or sometimes two. But they never stepped in the studio together.

“Later on, we were getting ready to shoot a video. I went to the studio with Jay and he told me, ‘Yo, your boy...’ I was like, ‘Who are you talking about?’ And he was like, ‘Your boy...it’s not gonna happen.’ I was like, ‘What’s not gonna happen?’

“Then he starts going into the story [about the s*x tape]. At that time, it didn’t even hit the media yet. Jay got a heads-up call early. He said, ‘There's a tape with your boy.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’

“Basically, someone gave Jay a heads-up that this tape was out there and that someone was about to leak it. Jay turned to me and said, ‘Yo, I can’t be attached to that.’ He didn’t know nothing about it, he didn’t know the girl. But he just said, ‘If that tape exists, I can’t have that.’

“I couldn’t believe he got the call beforehand. He got a call like, ‘This is about to go down.’ Jay had someone in Chicago that was going to verify the tape for him because he didn’t see it himself. He was just like, ‘Go verify it for me.’ Like, is it real? And he got the call back and he was like, ‘Told you.’ There's no music video for that or Unfinished Business but both sold a million.

“The weird thing was that they were fans of each other. They admired each other from afar, but they came from two different worlds and they didn’t understand each other. Jay is the true definition of a New York guy and R. Kelly is the true definition of a Chicago guy. [Kanye is from Chicago] but is Kanye truly a Chicago guy? I see him being more someone who is very New York-ish in the style of music he listens to and his swagger.

“Jay and R. Kelly are two totally different people and they just couldn’t coexist. In his defense, Jay was actually okay because New York guys can adapt even if you’re a little weird. R.Kelly, he just couldn’t adapt. It just didn’t work. It was ugly.”

Tone: “[The relationship between Jay-Z and R. Kelly] fell apart on tour. But it fell apart before [the infamous mase incident at MSG], that’s just when everyone got wind of it. It was doomed from opening night in Chicago.

"In fact, it was doomed before opening night when Jay would go to rehearsals and R. Kelly wouldn’t be there. They didn’t rehearse together at all for the tour. The very first time they stepped on stage side by side and looked at each other was opening night. It was the stupidest sh*t ever.

“Me and John Manilli were like, ‘This is gonna be a disaster.’ They had these two busses that came on stage, but they had never stepped foot on the bus. They didn’t know how the trick was gonna work. It was like, ‘So what do I do? I step on the bus then what?’ They didn’t know how to get off the bus. It was just a clusterfu*k. The whole first part of the tour was them rehearsing.

“The first night of the tour, R. Kelly shows up one hour and a half late for opening night. Opening night! There's not enough time in the arena, the guys are like, ‘You’re not gonna get the show off.’

“The people are going crazy and Jay is in his dressing room. He’s getting dressed in his all white outfit. He calls me into his dressing room [while looking in his mirror and adjusting his hat] and he goes, ‘I don’t know why I let you talk me into this sh*t.’ I just left I walked out. He was so mad.

“The defining moment of the tour was when Jay got the call that R. Kelly was there. R. Kelly is coming off his bus—he didn’t even go to the dressing room—and he's coming down the stairs that lead to the stage. Jay-Z is [on the other side] coming out of his dressing room that leads to the stage. So they were coming together at the same time.

“This is when I was like this is over: R. Kelly and Jay both come down and R. Kelly [puts out his hand] to Jay to give him a pound and Jay just gives him this look [and walks past him]. And R. Kelly was like….he didn’t say another word to him. That was it it was over.

“The show was fu*ked up in Chicago because Jay ripped it. R. Kelly felt like the show was sabotaged, he felt like the lighting guy kept him in the dark and all the light was on Jay. It was this whole thing so Jay was like, ‘Okay, let’s just change all the people. Who do you want to work with?’ R. Kelly changed the entire crew to his people.

“Two nights after that, R. Kelly is complaining again. Jay is like, ‘What are you complaining about now? You hired him!’ It was just like that type of thing, they didn’t get along the entire tour. The only time R. Kelly was in good spirits was when they got to the Midwest and Jay-Z’s sh*t was just not hot over there and R. Kelly was.

“There was a night when they were in Detroit and the sound was fu*ked up. R. Kelly jumps off the stage, runs to the sound booth, and punches the guy in the face. During the show! It was fu*ked up. There was nothing I could do but watch.

“The entire [MSG incident] was premeditated by R. Kelly to sabotage the New York City show. The Chicago show was [was in R. Kelly’s hometown] and it was fu*ked up for R. Kelly. So I think R. Kelly just stayed on the tour until it got to [Jay-Z’s hometown] New York.

“Nothing happened [at the MSG show]. Zero happened there. I did Jay’s sound for the show, I did his music so I was the que guy. They come out, they do their thing, and Jay comes on and destroys NYC the way he's gonna destroy NYC.

“We’d been doing this so long that there's a que. R. Kelly wasn’t where he was supposed to be. I told everybody backstage, ‘It’s over, it’s over!’ I didn’t even think he was coming on stage because he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.

“The stage was dark and the lights came on, that’s when he came on stage and was like, ‘Somebody in the audience brandished a gun. I fear for my life. I can’t continue this show. I'm sorry.’ And that was the end of it. But no one brandished a gun. Nothing went wrong.

“He had plans on doing that all along. [I don’t know it for a fact] but I know it in my heart. He was just going along with the tour to fu*k it up in NYC. The snubbing and the fact that the show in Chicago was just fu*ked up, it wasn’t a good show. It was R. Kelly being embarrassed in his hometown so I think that he planned it all along.”

 3 weeks ago '14        #8
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 3 weeks ago '06        #9
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I'm so much a fan of hip-hop that when I heard that "Lex w/t.v. sets the minimum", I instantly visioned Dead president video

Last edited by LYTE; 11-18-2019 at 07:09 PM..

Top 10 most slapped recently  3 weeks ago '19        #10
Big Tymerz  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x11
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 3 weeks ago '04        #11
marcchrome  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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Pete Rock Says He Was Jerked Over "Juicy"

September 23, 2008 | 12:27 PM

by*Jake Paine




To many fans of*Notorious B.I.G., his biggest hit was his solo debut single “Juicy.” The memorable verse was attached to a*James Mtume-sample laced creation, with production credited to*Diddy, as well as*The Trackmasters‘*Poke.

After August saw the release of*Ready to Die: The OG Edition*[click to listen], the debut album, released by*DJ Semi, in the form of the album’s demo, fans were able to hear alternative versions of the album that went platinum almost 14 years ago.

Included on the collection was a rare version of “Juicy,” produced by none other than Hip Hop super-producer*Pete Rock*[click to read]. The 20-year veteran’s version, long mistakenly thought to be a remix, predated the*Diddy*version, which featured an alternate chorus and different melody. After a recent interview with*Grandgood.com,*Rock*revealed that he may have been sample-jacked by*Diddy*for one of Hip Hop’s biggest anthems.

“Biggie*and*Sean*came to my house one day and [‘Juicy’] was playing on my
drum machine,” revealed*Pete Rock. “Biggiethought I was making it for*C.L.*[Smooth]. When I told him I
was just making it for myself, he immediately wanted it. I said sure,
but didn’t think much of it. Then, next thing I know, I heard it
playing somewhere. I’m over it now though.“

In the rest of the interview,*Pete Rockexplains more from that recording. He says that to him, the matter was settled when he was paid, for what was billed as a remix.

Asked further about his sentiments of the deal,*Pete Rock, simply stated, “Really though, I just wish*Biggie*was still alive for me to work with him


Last edited by marcchrome; 11-18-2019 at 06:19 PM..

 3 weeks ago '15        #12
Holdino  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x2
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Tone and Poke super underrated, but then again all these mfs wanted to do was play video games

Last edited by Holdino; 11-18-2019 at 08:54 PM..

 3 weeks ago '16        #13
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Great read

 3 weeks ago '14        #14
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 LYTE said
I'm so much a fan of hip-hop that when I heard that "Lez w/t.v. sets the minimum", I instantly vision Dead president video

 3 weeks ago '06        #15
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 Bill Wallace said

Top 10 most propped recently  3 weeks ago '13        #16
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 3 weeks ago '08        #17
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 3 weeks ago '04        #18
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These guys are responsible for so many classics it's Fn insane.

 3 weeks ago '14        #19
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 W24x55 said
These guys are responsible for so many classics it's Fn insane.

 3 weeks ago '14        #20
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 Big Tymerz said

 3 weeks ago '14        #21
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 Holdino said
Tone and Poke super underrated, but then again all these mfs wanted to do was okay video games

 3 weeks ago '09        #22
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gettin jiggy wit it is dead a*s one of the greatest songs ever created

Top 10 most slapped recently  3 weeks ago '19        #23
Big Tymerz  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x11
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Dare i say 'If I Ruled the World' is Nas Greatest track?


 3 weeks ago '15        #24
gemini8686  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x1
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Songs like these will never be made again. Music is so trash now

 3 weeks ago '14        #25
Bill Wallace  topics gone triple plat - Number 1 spot x4 OP
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 slummy said
Great read

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