DJ Khalil Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Game f/ Chris Brown, Diddy, Polow da Don, Mario Winans, Usher, & Boyz II Men “Better On The Other Side” (2009)

DJ Khalil: “[Me and Game] were in the studio working on The R.E.D. Album and we were there for four or five days. The second day is when Michael Jackson died. Game called me and was like, 'Yo, we gotta do something for Michael Jackson. I have this vision. I'm putting in some calls and pulling some favors.' We were at Westlake Recording Studios in L.A., [which is where] Michael Jackson recorded Bad and a few things for Thriller. As soon as we went in, we all kinda talked about it, and then we just started making the track. We started laying the pianos and as soon as Game heard the pianos, he was like, 'Aight, that's it.' Laid the drums and put live strings on it.

“I have footage of this whole thing. I have an actual movie, I just never put it up. Boyz II Men, they were in the studio right across from us and came in. Randy Jackson from American Idol was there. All these people were in the room. We were just talking about Michael Jackson. It was just a crazy day. Through that whole time, we're getting the track together. We gave the track to Boyz II Men and they laid their parts to it in their studio. Game took the track to Record Planet where Chris Brown was. He already kinda had a hook. He had a writer do a hook, he took it to Chris Brown, and he cut the vocals. Sent it to Puffy—he was in New York—he did his vocals, and sent it back. We assembled it and then Game already had his verses. We mixed it that day and then released it the next morning.

"I remember I got out of [the studio] at probably like seven in the morning. Game went to Power 106 and they played it right away. I remember driving back and they were playing it. I'd never been a part of anything like that in my whole time making music. I thought it was a perfect tribute song to him and I thought it was tastefully done. It was good to be a part of it and have all that talent on one song in homage to one of the greatest to ever do it. I'll never forget that day. It was just one of the craziest experiences of my career.”

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