Produced by: Stargate
Wiz Khalifa: “I recorded that in New York with Stargate. I went into that session with an open mind trying to make some big records. But I was also trying to let loose and make the first thing that came to my head. Not trying to think about it too much, if I thought of something I would just completely go with it.
”[When I got there] Stargate had a selection of beats set out for me. I went through a couple beats and I think I did a hook that day. When we got to the point that they played the ‘Black and Yellow’ beat, the first words I thought of were, ‘Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow.’
“I leaned over to my homie and was like, ‘Man, I got an idea but it might be corny as hell.’ I don’t know why, but it was a split second that I thought it was corny. I was like, ‘Am I doing too much right now?’ I told him my idea and he was like, ‘Nah man, just do it.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I’m here so let’s just work.’ I sat down, recorded the hook, and the next day I did the verses and the hook part and that was it.
“The idea [to work with Stargate] was presented to me by Atlantic. The people at Atlantic, they pay attention to me and how I work, how I create my music, and how I have different parts to songs. They thought it would be a good idea to work with Stargate because of how musical they are. On top of that, Stargate makes huge records. So it’s the perfect combination. I just had to be open-minded about it. I had to be like, ‘Okay, this is what I’m doing and this is how I’m gonna put my spin on it and make it unique to me.’
“It doesn’t sound like me jumping on some manufactured bullshit. I made it mine and identifiable to me. I even made that sound identifiable to me and Stargate to the point where others are now looking for that. They want that rock, pop, and hip-hop [sound].
“When I [originally] did ‘Black and Yellow,’ on the hook I said a different part. [Stargate] ended up taking it out and just repeating another part based on their knowledge of what’s catchy and what goes. When they did it, I was totally with it. They told me how a lot of artists have problems with it when people edit their music. But I do so many different parts that if you wanna take something out or move it to the end then I’m with that. It’s all about the end product and everybody has to be happy. It’s not one-sided at any point.”
Mikkel S. Eriksen Of Stargate: “‘Black And Yellow’ was the second song we wrote. Even back then, just listening to the hook and the beat, we could tell that this was something great from the beginning.”
Tor Erik Hermansen Of Stargate: “He came with his crew, and they all had a blast. The whole Taylor Gang. There were people in and out of the room, but he had a good sense of himself. When he needs to work, he’s on. He stayed here all night and finished up his verses. We stayed, and made sure that the hook was 100%. We worked three or four days I think.
Benjy Grinberg (Executive Producer and CEO of Rostrum Records): ”We did probably about three or four songs the first session, and then two or three others the second session. ‘Black And Yellow’ took probably about a day. 12 hours. He wasn’t in the booth for 12 hours. He wrote everything there. I don’t think he even went back and re-recorded anything. What you hear is what he did.
”The one interesting thing about that session was the hook was actually one line different from what it ended up being. When he says, ‘Uh huh, you know what it is. Everything I do, I do it big.’ And then what everyone knows is it goes back to ‘Uh huh, screaming that’s nothing.’ But before, there was actually a whole different line then ‘You know what it is.’
”The first line didn’t repeat on the second line like it does now. Stargate thought it would be catchier if they repeated that part again, instead of doing that other line. It actually turned into a little bit of a thing, because Wiz really liked it the way it was, but Stargate was pretty intent on doing it that way, and so we agreed that we would sit with it for a little while with the way that they liked it, and then we ended up getting used to it, and liking it a lot, so we ended up going with that version.
“Also, It used to have like a telephone voice, or a telephone EQ that said like, ‘What you doing over there?’ It said something like that. It was like, ‘Uh huh, you know what it is. Everything I do, I do it big.’ And then it was like, ‘What you doing over there? That’s nothing. When I pull off the lot, that’s stunting.’ Where they didn’t repeat the ‘Uh huh, you know...’
“Also, the hook used to be dirty. Instead of ‘Screaming that’s nothing,’ it says ‘The N-word, that’s nothing.’ When we were making the clean version Wiz changed it to what it is now, and ended up liking the clean hook better than the dirty hook. So we actually used the clean hook for both the clean and dirty versions of the song.
“There was one other word in there that he had to change where he says, ‘Repping my town, when you see me you know everything black and yellow.’ It was, ‘Repping my town, when you see me, N-word, everything black and yellow.’ Like, there were two of them in there that got taken out for the clean version, and we just thought it made a much stronger statement when he kept them out, and put in the other words. So we just kept it 100% clean for both the dirty and the clean version.”
Zvi Edelman (Vice President Of A&R, Atlantic Records): “I remember people trying to tell me, ‘It’s gonna be too regional. No one’s gonna care about a record where he’s talking about Pittsburgh.’ And I was like, ‘Listen, when you have that kind of conviction you could be talking about your silverware or your toilet.’ I remember, having Bruno Mars’ A&R, Aaron Bay-Schuck, in my office who I really really respect and we kinda bounce records off of each other. We were half asleep and bored in the middle of the day and I played him that shit and he was dancing around in my office and I was just like, ‘Okay. This is a special record.’”