No I.D.: ‘I Used To Love H.E.R.’, from a production standpoint, was a brainchild of the style I developed on ‘Soul By The Pound.’ I had a bassline sound that I would play with the SP1200—it just had a certain sound and a feel to it. And I was really into the melodies of the George Benson sample [‘The Changing World’], but I wanted to make it harder with that bassline.
“Common came with this incredible story, which at the time we had no idea would be so revered. Common and Twilite Tone talked about the concept before he talked to me about it. My role was refining it into a song and orchestrating the musical changes, and helping Rash structure the bars—making sure he rapped on beat. But once he had the rap in his head, it was just a matter of making it come across the best. I give him full credit on that one. It definitely wasn’t a thing where I said ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea, do this.’
“We shot the video in Chicago. We actually shot two or three videos before it came out right. The version that the world saw was actually the third version, after we wasted a ton of money on the first two [Laughs.].
“I felt like ‘Soul By The Pound,’ started to get us to the next level but ‘I Used To Love H.E.R.’ catapulted us all the way over. It was way more revered. We were respected with ‘Soul By The Pound’ but it was ‘Oh my God this is something special!’ with ‘I Used To Love H.E.R.’
“When I do music, I have a hard time experiencing it like everyone else, because there’s so much thought that goes into it. You can sometimes fool yourself into thinking it’s better than what it is, which stops me from being creative on the next thing I do. So I kind of didn’t know that it was going to be so big. Because when it came out, it’s not like it sold a ton of records. It didn’t happen instantly, it kind of happened over time.
“Maybe it was because I was just in Chicago, and I didn’t get a chance to experience it the way the rest of the world got to experience it. You know, Chicago got on it a little later [Laughs.]. After this record came out, I started to get calls from other artists inquiring about production. Before that I never got calls like that. I’d get a call like ‘Biggie wants a beat’ and I’d be blown away. It was a foreign concept to me. Biggie, Pun, Ghostface—I’d never got calls like that before. That’s the first time when I thought ‘Maybe I’m onto something here.’”