Produced by: Mobb Deep
Prodigy: “I remember that clearly. We wrote that in the crib high on drugs. [Laughs.] Probably weed, probably was some dust in there, mad 40s, getting twisted. That was one of the first ones where we were like, ‘Whoa. This shit is ill. This shit sounds crazy right here. This is some other shit right here son. This ain’t normal.’ So we knew we was making some shit with that song. We were in the crib and we were spitting it to each other like, ‘Yo, this shit is some other shit right here son.’
“It was just a remix of the first [‘Shook Ones’]. The first song we had made was cool. Then we made this new beat and I think the chorus was similar. We probably didn’t even intend for it to be a remix, but the chorus was probably similar. It was probably like Matty C and them niggas that was like, ‘Y’all should call this ‘Shook Ones Pt. II.’ So that’s why we did that shit.
“We had a lot of songs. When we first signed to Loud we had a 20-song demo. So all of those songs we wanted to put on the album. But we started making new ones, and through process of elimination, we wanted all the new ones. We didn’t like the old ones no more. [Laughs.]
“We made that beat at my crib in Long Island. Hav found the sample. Hav was down there fucking with the records, he was like, ‘Listen to this.’ I was like, ‘That shit sounds ill right there.’ He did that and then we were fucking with the bass and the drums together. I seen that whole shit where they found the Herbie Hancock shit. That’s crazy. I didn’t know it was a mystery or that it was that serious to people. They were really trying to figure out where that came from.”
Havoc: “A huge chunk [of the album was recorded after ‘Shook Ones Pt. II’]. As soon as we got the deal, ‘Shook Ones’ was one of the first songs we made. We were being tested like, ‘We signed on the dotted line and made a little bit of money. Now go in there and make some songs.’ So we made ‘Shook Ones’ and the response was lukewarm so we’re like, ‘Here go this bullshit again.’ But we knew we couldn’t let it go to waste because it was just a dope concept and we said, ‘Let’s make a part two.’ So we did part two and boom, it was buzzing. And that gave us a boost of confidence.
“I made that beat inside my mother’s house in Queensbridge. That house gave me a lot of inspiration because something could happen outside and I could go upstairs and make a beat. Like, I would have this feeling like, ‘Let me go upstairs and make a beat of how I'm feeling right now.’ So I just popped the sample up and I almost even erased it because I didn’t even really like it too much. [Laughs.] At that time I was always in the house alone by myself making beats and sometimes if i didn’t have somebody to co-sign it I’d be like, ‘Fuck it, whatever.’ But then my friends were like, ‘Nah, this shit is fucking crazy.’ So I kept it. Thank God because we probably wouldn’t be here right now if I had erased that.
“I used to go to record conventions to go buy records and breakbeats. The drums that actually came from this record was called Vinyl Dogs. Vinyl Dogs were actually from the ‘90s and they used to have all these drum breaks. They were these two white dudes that loved hip-hop who would go breakbeat searching and put just a whole bunch of drum breaks on a record for the hip-hop producers to use. I got that and used that for the ‘Shook Ones’ drums.
“[The LA Times only recently figured out the sample] because I used such a small part of a record. And I chopped it up and shifted the tempo a lot, so I put them on the keyboard. I made it faster, then made it slower. People were like, ‘What the fuck is that? What record does that come from?’ because so many producers, they blatantly use a sample. I can’t say there’s no creativity to it, but it’s nothing to figure out.
“Given that ‘Shooks Ones Pt. II” is a classic record, it just brought the curiosity out like,’What fucking sample is that?’ [Laughs.] And I’m not telling anybody what sample it was because I forgot what samples I used. [Laughs.] But that is definitely the sample because I remembered when they brought it out. [Laughs.] But that’s a secret between you and me. It’s good and it’s bad because I was reveling in the mystery of the sample, but if people wanted to know so bad then that just shows how much love people have for the track.
Matty C a.k.a. Matt Life (Executive Producer and A&R for Loud Records): “That’s the most magical shit that happened. It was about that record convention that me and Hav went to because these dudes who were old collectors had made compilations with really rare 45s and one of the tracks on there had the original drums to that song and we took those drums home. It was at the Roosevelt Hotel. There were several things like that that you would see big producers all getting there at six in the morning for, two hours before the shit opened.
“Me and [Rob “Reef” Tewlow] were up at nine and these motherfuckers were leaving, backpacks full already. Pete Rock’s over here spending $8,000, Large Professor’s over here buying records at $600 a pop, the PM Dawn Dude dude is catching all these little breaks and then turning around and making records out of them. It was the first time Hav caught that vibe. I knew about it from the Beatnuts and my man Reef and a lot of other record collectors. But Havoc wasn’t really up on the producer record conventions.
“The patterns on those are very similar to ‘One Love,’ if you listen to the kick-drum-snare pattern. I don’t even know how it happened. We just got charged and made the beat and turned it into ‘Shook Ones Part II.’ We had just dropped ‘Shook Ones Part I’ as the single and we made that and were like, ‘This is so hot! We gotta do it right now!’ I know Hav felt the same way too because we knew we had one of the hottest drum breaks to just come out of the convention.”
Schott Free (Executive Producer and A&R for Loud Records): “Fuck the radio. The radio is all dick riders and I say that about Hot 97 too. They tried to front, but I’m not gonna say no names. That wasn’t the radio hearing lines like, ‘You heard of us, official Queensbridge murderers’ and thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that’s good. Add that to the rotation.’ That was the street saying ‘We fucking with this.’ This is what the 15 year old that lives this shit everyday is playing. If he’s listening to it, then radio ain’t really got no choice. That was ‘Shook Ones.’”