Clipse “Grindin’” (2002)
Produced by: The Neptunes
Pusha T: “People don’t understand that after ‘The Funeral,’ we had already shot a video for 'Virginia.' So in our eyes, we’d already won and we were already platinum. We got some money when we got off Elektra, so we got to shoot a video. We were being seen. Yeah, we lost the record deal, but we got some money and we just took it to the street. Pharrell was like, 'Come to the studio, let’s make some more records. Let’s make another album.' And it was like, 'Aight, whatever.' That was the mentality [for a while].
“I remember being at home and Pharrell saying, ‘Listen, I got this record and if you don’t come to the studio right now I’m gonna give this record to Jay-Z.’ And he just knows that it would burn me up inside if he did something like that. I’m very territorial about Neptunes’ production. I’ll leave text messages, voice messages, and emails of pure disgust and disrespect when they give away records that I feel like I should have had.
“But when I heard ‘Grindin’’ I was like, ‘How do you rhyme to this?’ I think I wrote that record at least three times. It’s only record I’ve written three times. It was was so unorthodox that I couldn’t really catch it. The other verses [I wrote] were good, but they weren’t in pocket. And I was like, ‘Man, this isn’t really like a mixtape verse, you can’t mixtape verse this.’
“It took nine months to break the record. People don’t understand that I did every $5,000 show with every drug dealer in the United States of America behind that record. Things start in the streets and the hustlers of the world resonated with that record so well that they were just booking us. It was an underground cult kinda thing. It was like, ‘Come to Detroit, five racks, wear a bulletproof vest’ and ‘Come to Milwaukee where you need armed security.’ And this isn’t a radio-driven thing. This is something that’s basically brewing in the streets.”