DJ Clark Kent Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2)

The Notorious B.I.G. f/ 112 "Sky's The Limit" (1997)

Album: Life After Death

Label: Bad Boy

DJ Clark Kent:“LL had it on a tape, Sauce had it on a tape, Jay had it on a tape. You name it. If they were around at that time. They all had heard ‘Sky’s The Limit.’ The only artist that wanted it was Akinyele.

 

LL had it on a tape, Sauce had it on a tape, Jay had it on a tape. You name it. If they were around at that time. They all had heard ‘Sky’s The Limit.’ The only artist that wanted it was Akinyele.

 

“So I’m talking money with Akinyele, and the money talk is just not going right. And B.I.G. hears it, and we’re doing the Junior M.A.F.I.A. project, and he’s like, ‘Yo, I want this for my album. Clark, you gotta hold it for me.’

“But I was like, ‘Hold it for you? You’re not working on a new album. This got to go.’ And I was almost at the point where Akinyele was going to get it, but he just didn’t want to pay for it the way I was supposed to be paid. And B.I.G. was like, ‘Fuck that. I’ll pay you now. I need that record.’ And just that enthusiasm alone made me be like, ‘You don’t have to pay me, it’s all good. You can have it.’ So I never played it again for anyone else.

“Then, when we went to go do it, I go to the studio, and he’s got the the verses laid, and he sang the hook [himself]. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, this shit is crazy.’ He’s like, ‘I’m gonna get 112 on it.’ I’m like, ‘Oh wow, this is gonna be insane.’ So 112 does the hook.

 

We’re mixing the song all night, and the mix is finally done. And Biggie goes, ‘This is the best song I’ve ever done. This is my favorite song.’ And he was super happy.

 

“Then, it comes time to mix the song. And we’re mixing the song all night, and the mix is finally done. And he goes, ‘This is the best song I’ve ever done. This is my favorite song.’ And he was super happy.

“It wasn’t until after he passed and I’m listening to it and I remember his words distinctively, and I’m like, ‘Oh shit. Dude said this is his favorite song.’ And it was a narrative about him coming up. And I got it. It’s not any over-the-top rhyming, it’s just a narrative.

“The intro was added after because he had passed, so they put that there. But to me what made the record so crazy was that they used kids and they made the video happen. The fact that it was a single fucked me up for like eight, nine months. I think it was that it was the one, and that [they were trying to honor that it was his personal favorite] too, but it was pretty undeniable. It was just one of those records.

“At first I thought, ‘Oh, it’s because he passed that they’re going to use it as a single, so people can see the other side of him.’ But no, because if he was alive they would’ve used it. It would’ve had 112, it would’ve had him in the video, it would’ve looked crazy! And the story was perfect.

 

There were never any [The Commission] records made, but there would have been. It would’ve been me, Jay, Sauce, B.I.G., and Charli Baltimore. I know Sauce would’ve probably been a part of The Commission.

 

“To me, that’s the best song I’ve ever made. I’ve produced a bunch of records, but to me, that’s the best song I’ve ever produced. I’m talking track-wise, hook-wise, composition, the whole picture. It’s perfect. And, hearing it makes my heart do shit. It touches me.

“B.I.G. would have been crazy. He would have gotten better, and he would have been making music still. He would’ve been the consummate artist. Jay’s the businessman. He would have been rich regardless, but B.I.G. would have been the best recordmaking artist, like how Eminem is. Yes, Em’s got businesses, but his focus is on making unbelievable art. Like, Kanye’s a consummate artist. That would have been B.I.G. Like anytime B.I.G. would have dropped a record, motherfuckers would have been scared.

“But I still feel like Jay would have been on what he was on, because he likes to make records and he likes to make money. There were never any [The Commission] records made, but there would have been. It would’ve been me, Jay, Sauce, B.I.G., and Charli Baltimore. I know Sauce would’ve probably been a part of The Commission.”

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