Album: ...And Then There Was X
Label: Ruff Ryders, Def Jam
Swizz Beatz: “I think that’s X’s biggest record to date. That’s our biggest record, globally. ‘Party Up’ was at a time when things were moving fast. X was probably frustrated coming to the studio that day like, ‘Y’all gone make me lose my mind!’ A lot of the stuff we were doing was in the moment. When he says, ‘Y’all gone make me lose my mind!’ it’s probably what he was really feeling.
“So we said, ‘You’re not the only person who feels like that. Everybody feels like that.’ We took that frustration and excitement and put it into a hit song. Capturing those moments as a producer is important. Knowing how to spot that hit element came in play on that record.
“The ‘meet me outside’ part was spur of the moment but it got famous and people started paying me extra to do the outro. I would charge $15,000 extra just for the outro at that time. Even today people want that on their tracks. I just went in there bugging out. I didn’t think they would keep the ‘One, two, meet me outside.’
“That outro came from me DJing and always wanting to control the crowd. Being a DJ was my biggest secret weapon. I was thinking about how people would react in the club. I knew how to control the crowd so I knew how to make records for the crowd. I’d think, ‘When I play this in the club they’re gonna go crazy.’ I still use that.
“That song was made in Miami. We had started recording outside of New York to change up the atmosphere. Being in the same studio can get tired and boring. Sometimes you need to switch it up. We were like, ‘Yo, let’s go to Miami.’ Back then, Miami was exciting—jet skis, drop tops, hot weather, bikinis. So we made a big trip down there to the Hit Factory. We were having fun.
“It was always a late night session. There’s no such thing as an early session. [Laughs.] Although sometimes X would be like, ‘I was there.’ We’d say, ‘What do you mean you was there?’ He’d be like, ‘I was there at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. Nobody was there.’ And then we wouldn’t be able to find him for the rest of the day.
“You’ve got to have communication with X. That’s what kept me in the loop with him. I could call him and say, ‘What are you doing today?’ He’d tell me something like, ‘Sleep, then I’m gonna do this, they think I’m gonna do this but I’m actually gonna do this.’ I’m like, ‘Alright cool.’ That way I knew I could start working on some other shit. He was tricky.