Erick Sermon Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2)

LL Cool J f/ Redman, Method Man, DMX, and Canibus “4,3,2,1” (1997)



Album: Phenomenon
Label: Def Jam
Producer: Erick Sermon

Erick Sermon: “That record was originally done by Trackmasters. But I didn't like that beat. The beat was a club record. So I said to Kevin Liles, 'Give me the record. Let me do something with it.'

“Nobody was in the studio when I made that record. The rhymes were already down. But the order of the rhymes was wrong. I put Red and Meth together, then DMX afterwards.

“I used the same beat as Busta Rhymes 'Put Your Hand Where My Eyes Can See.' All I did was change the bass line. The shaker, the high hat, the kick, the snare, is all 'Put Your Hands.' Everything was moving the same way. None of the Trackmasters beat is in mine. Their beat was a loop of an old '80s record.

 

I used the same beat as Busta Rhymes 'Put Your Hand Where My Eyes Can See.' All I did was change the bass line. The shaker, the high hat, the kick, the snare, is all 'Put Your Hands.'

 

“I tell people to this day that I made that beat because 'Put Your Hands' was hot. I tell them to go listen to both of them back-to-back today, like, 'How can you not hear that?'

"But until somebody tells you, you don't know. Everything comes from something. The human brain can't make nothing up. That's a jewel. You can't make anything up [from scratch]. If that's a cup holder, it came from the idea of a cup.

“Then, after I remixed it, and LL heard Canibus' verse, he did a different verse. He had another verse before that. That was part of the record, as far as them battling, but I just put it together how I thought it should sound. And it became a smash hit record.

“DMX was dangerous. I heard him already on the Cam'ron record. I knew him, but I met him and Ja Rule afterwards. I knew Canibus, because he wanted to be Def Squad. He used to say 'Def Squad' in all his interviews. He was down with us. He's on Murray's album. Before he got with Wyclef, he was with me. But it never went. The Lost Boyz had him under contract, and there was a whole big thing. But he was shouting Def Squad for a long time in the beginning.”

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