Album: Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders’ First Lady
Label: Ruff Ryders, Interscope
Swizz Beatz: “‘Gotta Man’ was written for Aaliyah. At that time she was with Black Ground and I remember Timbaland being a part of it. We were really cool and she wanted to work with me super bad.
“So I was like, ‘Yo, I made this song. It’s called ‘Gotta Man,’ I’m trying to get it to you,’ but our schedules and labels didn’t permit it. We were going back and forth between price at that time.
“But it fit the vibe of the Eve album I had started working on. I was trying to keep her as the ‘pit-bull in the skirt’ and still appeal to the young female audience. We were trying different things, and it became one of the biggest records ever. It’s up there with ‘What Y’all Want’ and ‘Love Is Blind.’
“We were sending a message to the female youth so I thought that was a great angle. It separated her from a lot of artists of today and of our generation. Back in the day, Queen Latifah set that tone. Eve took a little bit of that and advanced it so that this generation could relate. We still did songs like ‘Tambourine’ but we did it for fun.
“Being with Eve it’s like being with my sister—cracking jokes, bugging out, making music, reminiscing on stuff. It’s like, ‘I’ve still got some of your outfits. Don’t try to get fresh, I’ll show you what you used to look like.’ We have a lot of fun, man. She’s a real person and if she needs me to support her I’m always there.
“I’m there for everybody. I might not be able to be on deck and on call, but it’s an open door policy with me. I might surprise Styles with something this week. Sometimes when you get busy, people think that you’re too busy and that you forgot about ‘em. I didn’t forget about anybody.”