You were talking about the collection of dope people working on it. From Dame and Biggs to Clark and Premo.
Premier, Clark, Peter Panic.
Yeah man, it was stacked, was there any collaboration or competition between what was being created by everyone?
It was always a competition. We would be in the studio and I remember when I played the beat for “Politics” and Premier came into the room and he was like “Yooo…Dude!” When Premier gave me his approval I was like I know I have something cool right here. Premo was the guy. I would walk in the studio and stay by the door and watch him make, what’s that shit for Biggie? “1, 2, 3,” “The Ten Crack Commandments”. Just standing there listening to this nigga is incredible. For him to come in my session like “Yo, that’s amazing.” It was for me to realize “Yup, I’m good.”
One of the greatest joints ever, you created, “Dead Presidents II.”
Yeah man, yeah.
When you look at it, you got tracks like that from back then that are mentioned, covered and rerecorded. When you hear someone hop on it like fifteen or more years later – like when J.Cole hopped on it twice – what goes through your mind?
It’s a timeless hip-hop beat. The beat is the essence of hip-hop. It’s just one of those musical things that you will never get tired of. It’s not dated, it will never feel dated. That’s my thing when I’m creating, I didn’t want to make a certain sound or copy another sound that was popping at the time. I wanted to make my shit more musical and more organic. You can never actually pinpoint my style because I don’t have a certain one. If you listen to my catalog from “Luchini” [Camp Lo’s “Luchini (AKA This Is It)”] to “Streets is Watching” [Jay Z’s 1998 single] it’s totally different type of beats. It was certain people back in the 90s you could tell it was their style. Oh that’s a so and so beat or a so and so beat, I didn’t want to get into that. When you dealing with music composition, music never really dies. Think about it, twenty years from now you think people going to be doing trap music man?
Not at all, the same as when we had snap music.
Exactly, it’s a trend. I didn’t want to get into a trend. I wanted to be like Quincy Jones, like Stevie Wonder. I wanted to make shit you could feel.
You wanted to make something timeless.
Exactly. That’s why that beat stands the test of time. Its music and everybody likes music.
You are standing the test of time. You did Doubt, some work on In My Lifetime flipped to working with Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, and Proof and now with the new generation with the Jay Electronica, the Mos Def, and the Curren$y joints. What do you feel like your grown work from back then did for your career today?
I built my brand. It enabled me to work with the Curren$ys and the Stalleys and the Jay Elects and the Mos Defs because I was steady with my work. Curren$y actually sought me out. He met Dame and asked him did he know where I was and at the time I was fucking with Dame. When me and him connected it was magic.
You did joints on the Pilot Talk joints and I’m like damn Ski still killing them.
It’s not me, it’s the music. Like I said all that shit is musical. Look at Dre’s albums. All Dre albums is just dope ass music. You can play that shit in the club today regardless of what people is listening to and it hits. It got a groove man. You can’t deny a dope groove.