Producer: The RZA
Label: Def Jam
Method Man: “Wonderful story behind [the record]. I was recording my album on the road and we lived in San Francisco for about three weeks. We had little apartments out there. Being out on the road so long, I was missing my girl so I used my money and flew her out.
Being out on the road so long, I was missing my girl so I used my money and flew her out. Me and RZA had joining rooms. So he’s in there making the beat and I swear on everything I love I wrote that record right there while she was laying next to me, asleep in the bed.
“Me and RZA had joining rooms. So he’s in there making the ‘All I Need’ beat and I swear on everything I love I wrote that record right there while she was laying next to me, asleep in the bed. I hadn’t seen her in a month and I was just so happy to see her. I wrote the record, recorded the record, and wrote the hook. That’s why the original is on there like that.
“After Def Jam pops off with the album and ‘Bring The Pain’ was big, they wanted me to do ‘All I Need’ as the second single. [I said], ‘No, no, no! I won’t do ‘All I Need’ as the second single.’ RZA agreed. He said we were gonna do, ‘Release Yo Delf.’ I didn’t want to do ‘Release Yo Delf.’ RZA picked that [as the second single]. I don’t even do the shit at my shows but this Smokers Club tour, I’m gonna do it.
“We go and do the ‘Release Yo Delf’ video that Steve Carr shot. I was mad at him because I didn’t like the look and the feel of the video. It was like he was trying to recreate ‘Method Man,’ and that wasn’t gonna happen. Then the ‘All I Need’ shit pops up again.
“Lyor Cohen, Kevin Liles, and people in the office were like, ‘You need to pop off with this record.’ This time they had RZA down with it. I’m playing with them so I’m like, ‘I’m gonna need some money to do this record.’ [They asked], ‘What do you need?’ and I said a new Lexus. I was just playing, I had a car already. But they shelled it out.
The first time I met Mary. I got invited to Biggie’s gold party at the Roseland Ballroom. They got footage of that on YouTube. I had the big afro and the brown leather coat, we was bums. We ain’t give a fuck. [That’s] Staten Island for you. I met Mary that night and she told me she wakes up to ‘Bring The Pain’ every goddamn day. I was like, ‘Well shit, I love the shit out of Mary J. Blige!’
“Russell or Lyor had the brilliant idea to get Mary on the song. But to get Mary, you gotta go through Puffy. So now here comes the dilemma: RZA’s a producer and Puffy’s a producer. Puff wants to do his version and RZA want to do the track too. So what do we do here? How do we compromise?
“Man, I must’ve went in there and did four different versions of ‘All I Need,’ Same beats but different verses. The Puffy one and the RZA one sound completely different and the original sounds completely different than both of them.
“When we did it, it was just me, Mary, and Puff. I was spitting blood during the recording of the ‘All I Need (Remix).’ [Going in the studio with Mary], I was having all these fucking tooth aches. Right after I came out the dentist office, numbed up and everything, I went to CVS, got my pain killers prescription, went up in the studio, and was spitting blood in-between takes.
“I remember the first time I met Mary. I got invited to Biggie’s gold party at the Roseland Ballroom. They got footage of that on YouTube. I had the big afro and the brown leather coat, we was bums. We ain’t give a fuck. [That’s] Staten Island for you. I met Mary that night and she told me she wakes up to ‘Bring The Pain’ every goddamn day. I was like, ‘Well shit, I love the shit out of Mary J. Blige!’ She ain’t have to say that shit to me.
“That shit was bananas because when it dropped. When we was coming up, when all that club shit was popping, if you couldn’t dance and wasn’t on your pretty boy shit, them chicks was not fucking with you. I hate pretty boys. Pretty boys got this obnoxiousness about them. It make you want to beat the pretty off them, like scar them up or something.
Then we got the Grammy. That was cool. Mary got a few after that but I got that one. I am very proud of that award. It was Mary’s first too, so I can always say I was her first.
“I felt that song was putting me in that light. What I didn’t realize was, niggas was respecting that song as well as chicks was. The way I presented that song didn’t feel like a love song. Plus, with me in the background saying, ‘It ain’t a love song!’ trying to beat that in people’s heads helped.
“We coming in the same vain as Snoop Dogg when he said, ‘We don’t love these hoes.’ Yeah, we don’t love ’em either! Niggas could be like, ‘Fuck that bitch! Fuck that hoe!’ but in the back is his baby moms or his wife that he treats with the utmost fucking respect. We don’t treat every chick like that. Nobody wants to be treated like that, but the ones that act the part—hey, if it’s a fucking spade I’m gonna call it a spade. And if nobody holds our black women high, I do.
“I remember the phone calls and getting called up to the office. I watched how we started from doing college tours to bars to theaters to outside venue festivals to arenas off this one fucking record.
“Another thing I realized, at first there were nothing but grimy niggas at my shows. Once that record dropped, it was blond hair and silver outfits all in the front! There were a bunch of little Mary J. Blige’s running all through the damn party.
“Then we got the Grammy. That was cool. Mary got a few after that but I got that one. I am very proud of that award. It was Mary’s first too, so I can always say I was her first.
“At the end of the day, we got the record done. Puffy was happy, RZA was happy, people that got it were happy, and Lyor sat back with his cigar like, ‘See, I told you! You should’ve done this record when I told you to. You would’ve been outta here!’”