No I.D.: “That was the first beat I did when I went to Atlanta to work with Jermaine Dupri. We’d always been cool, but then we were establishing a working relationship. I wanted to work with him and learn some things—things that weren’t in my repertoire. I knew what I was doing, but he was winning and I couldn’t understand it. He’s just winning. So he’s like, 'Dion come by and let’s see what’s happening.'
I wanted to work with [J.D.] and learn some things—things that weren’t in my repertoire. I knew what I was doing, but he was winning
“So they were finishing up the Bow Wow album, and they needed one more joint—a single. Jermaine was like ‘Bring some samples over.’ Truthfully, I was a little hesitant to bring my best samples, so I brought my samples that weren’t as ‘diggin’ in the crates’ or important to me. Why would I pull out a Luther Vandross sample?
“So I pulled out the sample and J.D. was like ‘That’s it right there!’ And I was like ‘Word?’ We started playing around on the CD turntables and Jermaine was telling me to do the record a certain way. In my heart of hearts, I thought it might fall in corny territory. But I decided to put my mind in the hit place, thinking like a producer who makes hits. What would I need to make this huge?
In my heart of hearts, I thought it might fall in corny territory. But I decided to put my mind in the hit place, thinking like a producer who makes hits.
“Maybe a half hour later I played it for him and he was like ‘That’s it.’ Then a few weeks later the record was done and Omarion was on it and I was like ‘Oh man, Omarion is on this?’ [Laughs] And not to diss Omarion, but I didn’t like the hook, I thought it was wordy. I didn’t think it was a hit, I felt everything was going wrong with the record. Then I said to myself ‘Dion, humble yourself. Get out of the real hip-hop world and accept the fact that you don’t know everything.' Who am I to front? And that was actually my first record that went No. 1. It was all over the place, on 106 & Park, on the radio and then it went No. 1. “It changed my whole way of thinking and how I produce. I had been making it so hard for myself, so I’m like, 'Damn—this isn’t that hard at all. I can do these types of records and it’s okay.’”