Produced by: Mobb Deep
Prodigy: “We were in Staten Island one night with Ghost and Rae and we were just chilling. We had just met them. Schott Free wanted to bring us to his hood in Staten Island and he was like, ‘Yo, I want to introduce you to the Wu.’ The Wu was the new group that he had signed to Loud. He was like, ‘Y’all niggas should do music together.’ So he brought us out to Staten Island one night.
“We was just chilling with Rae and Ghost, smoking bud, drinking 40s, just wilding in they projects and shit. And when we were out there chilling with them niggas, Rae was like, ‘Yo, introduce us to Nas. We want to do some music with Nas.’
"So we were like, ‘Alright, we’ll line that up.’ Rae actually he drove us back to the projects that night and we were like, ‘Yo, tomorrow we’re going to get Nas’ number for you and we’re going to make some shit happen.’ So the next day we told Nas about the situation.
“We told Nas, ‘Yo, Raekwon from Wu-Tang wants to do some music with you. Come to the studio, we’ve got a song for both of ya to get on anyway.’ So he came and did that and that’s how them niggas met. The next day we lined that studio session up and we just made it happen.
“We actually made that beat and everything right there in the studio. We was in there for like four hours and knocked that whole song out. Back then it wasn’t no sequence, you just did what you felt like doing. You could make the song as long as you wanted to make it. It was just creating.
"‘Eye For A Eye’ was one of the last songs on that album that we did. The song happened and that’s when Rae did ‘Verbal Intercourse’ with Nas. That was probably like a week after ‘Eye For A Eye,’ they did that."
Havoc: “I made the beat, Prodigy came with the hook, and then everybody followed those guidelines. We went in there, wrote our lyrics, got busy, and it became one of those classic underground songs.
“In the studio, we were smoking mad weed, drinking mad liquor, and talking shit. We were definitely drinking Seagrams Gin, Hennessy, and E&J. [Laughs.] It was priceless. Everybody just had mad love for one another.
“I knew Nas since I was six or seven because we both went to the same daycare after-school in the projects. And growing in the neighborhood, everybody knew everybody. Then as a teenager I got a little closer to Nas before me and him even had a record deal. So we were always there, but just running separate courses.”
Corey “Raekwon” Woods: “They called me in and the beat was already playing. I think Nas was in the booth already doing [his verse]. We was just getting high, drinking a lot of Hennessy, just popping shit about how we were going to take over the game. And next thing you know, when they threw their verses down, I just came in and put the cherry on top. I did my shit right on the spot.
“We all had our personal relationships with one another, because we all was repping the same record company, Loud Records. Even though Nas wasn’t [on Loud], they was repping Queens hard at that time.
"We was like, ‘All them niggas is nice.’ Capone, Noreaga, Mobb, they had the Firm crew, all at the same time. So we just wanted to support them, because they was supporting us.”
Matty C a.k.a. Matt Life (Executive Producer and A&R for Loud Records): “‘Eye for an Eye’ was one of the last songs we did and I knew we were already over budget, and spent too much on samples.
"And here comes Hav with a straight Al Green hook [but I forget which song]. In the middle of the session, I was like, ‘Yo, the sample is straight Al, yo.’ And we weren’t even sure Al Green would clear it. So that’s when Hav fucked with it, started chopping it some more. He was literally playing the sample out, key for key on the pads.
“The way he flipped it there was nothing to clear and we were all happy. For a while, there were different versions going back and forth. Then when Nas’ verse comes in, it goes back [to the original beat]. It’s hot, but I think in hindsight it was the right thing as far as pushing the envelope for creativity. I think Nas did two different verses."
Schott Free (Executive Producer and A&R for Loud Records): “Once we had everything straight with ‘Eye for an Eye,’ Ghostface came in and did something [on it]. We were talking about coming with an ‘Eye for an Eye (Remix)’ and we were gonna put Ghost on there.
"On the strength, I hit him up one day like, 'Yo, come through.' He was more than happy and he came with this rhyme and killed it over that beat. I wish to God I woulda just paused for a minute and put the shit to that. But nobody did. The rhyme Ghost used on [‘Real Live Shit’], he wrote that to the ‘Eye for an Eye’ beat.
“I remember Havoc basically had caught an Al Green loop [of ‘I Wish You Were Here’] which later on became Nas’ ‘Shootouts.’ I actually have a couple different versions of that shit on cassette. P had like two or three different rhymes he tried out for that shit and all of them were fire.
"He had an entirely different rhyme when it had the Al Green loop on it. I think Tip might have touched it a little bit, but for the most part Hav kinda did a wonderful job on that one in terms of just chopping up the loop [so we didn’t have to clear the sample].”