Eric Sermon “React” (2002)
Label: J Records
Just Blaze: “There's actually someone singing on that. I had a dude, I have no idea where he is now, but he came in and sang that. I had to learn a little Hindu to put it all together. It was inspired by something else, but we chopped it and made our own thing out of it.
“That was a record that I had, and I chopped words out of it to make it say that. Then I had the dude sing it, not knowing it was the whole thing about suicide.
Then I had the dude sing it, not knowing it was the whole thing about suicide. So, they had the whole thing where Eric had to jump out the window and people were like, 'Was that record a cry for help?' I was like, 'Nah, it was just a coincidence.'
“So, they had the whole thing where Eric had to jump out the window and people were like, 'Was that record a cry for help?' I was like, 'Nah, it was just a coincidence. It wasn't premeditated.'
“That came out at a time when doing that Middle Eastern sound was hot. The funny thing is that I had done that beat about three or four years before. I had given it to this girl named Filayan Knight. I had done it in my house years before and just thought it sounded cool.
“There was a girl that was A&R'ing an album for Redman, and she asked me for some beats. I remembered that I had that old beat sitting around, and I thought that Redman might have sounded good on it.
“I never heard anything back. She called me two years later and was like, 'Jermaine Dupri wants to cut you a check for that beat that has a weird Indian sound associated with it.' Like I said, that sound hadn't become popular yet.
“So I was like, 'Yeah, tell him to hit me.' We emailed back and forth and his thing was, 'Yo I love this beat. I think you're onto something, but I don't know what I would do for a hook.' So I said, 'Alright.'
“It never happened. Two years after that, I'm sitting in a hotel in L.A., and I get an email from Angie Martinez. And I know Angie, like if I see her we'll speak, but we weren't like that to where we were just talking.
They had a cassette and recorded the record on a Karaoke machine. That's what went up to the radio. Then, they sent me the Pro Tools files to mix the record.
“She emails me like, 'This Eric Sermon record is crazy.' I was like, 'What do you mean? I've never met Eric Sermon in my life.' She's like, 'The joint...Me and Enuff just played it like four times in a row.' I'm like, 'I'm not in New York. I'm in L.A.'
“Ten minutes after I had gotten that email, I started getting mad emails like, 'Yo this record is crazy.' I had no idea what anybody was talking about. A manager hits me like, 'So, Eric Sermon just did a record to a beat of yours that he found. And J Records wants to pay for it immediately.'
“So I'm like, 'What is the record?' Finally, I get wind of what beat it is, and I guess what happened was that Eric was working on his album. He still didn't have what he thought was a strong single, so Redman was like, 'Yo, I got this old beat from that dude Just Blaze, listen to this.'
“They had a cassette and recorded the record on a Karaoke machine. That's what went up to the radio. Then, they sent me the Pro Tools files to mix the record.
“It was one of those instances where, when you're mixing and you take it apart and put it back together, you lose that initial spark that was there when you made the beat. I thought the mix was cool, but when I sent it back to Eric at the label he was like,'There's something missing, it doesn't feel the same.'
I ate pretty nice off that record, because they put it out without permission. I know Eric was going around saying that was the first big check I had ever gotten.
“I fought them on it at first, but I went back and listened to it and realized there was a certain element missing. It wasn't a specific sound, but the gel wasn't there in the mix. So we took the karaoke version, and we mastered that.
“That's what went out to the radio, and that's what made the album. It just goes to show that sometimes you don't have to over-mix and over-think a record. Sometimes that initial spontaneous spark is what matters.
“Eric was like, 'Go ahead and get your money.' So, I ate pretty nice off that record, because they put it out without permission. I know Eric was going around saying that was the first big check I had ever gotten.
“That wasn't the first big check I had ever gotten, but it was probably the biggest check that I had ever gotten up until that point. They knew they had a hit on their hands, and they knew it was unauthorized.”