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

Method Man & Redman “How High”/“How High (Remix)” (1995)



Album: How High 12 Inch
Label: Def Jam
Producer: Erick Sermon

Erick Sermon: “'How High' came from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's 'Natural Born Killaz.' If you play 'How High' and you play that, it's the same beat. I didn't use the same sounds, but the melody and the way the bass line is going is the same. I used the melody of 'Natural Born Killaz' to make 'How High.' It was incredible.

“I played the beat over. At that time, I was using a Roland W-30 station. It was like an ASR-10, but by Roland. And I played the bass line. That's what I do. I play keys. Since '89, this is what I was doing.

“Me and Russell hooked them up, for The Showsoundtrack. They were in the studio, and I walked in, and I couldn't see shit. There was so much smoke in the room. They're the most consistent blunt smokers you will ever meet in your life, besides Snoop and them. Nobody smokes more blunts than Red and Meth. The room, you can't see in it.

 

That song came from Dr. Dre and Ice Cube's 'Natural Born Killaz.' If you play 'How High' and you play that, it's the same beat. I didn't use the same sounds, but the melody and the way the bass line is going is the same.

 

“So I come in there with that beat, my version of 'Natural Born Killaz.' And they start writing to the beat. And that was them saying, 'How high,' because they're in there smoked out of their minds!

“So I had the original record, but it was street to me. But my mind is saying, 'I got Red and Meth' on a record. I'm not going out like this. I'm making something bigger.' So I go and remix it.

“I had a Crusaders sample, and then in the studio, somebody had an acapella of some band that had done the vocals for that classic 'Fly Robin Fly' part over. It was the weirdest shit. So I took it, and put it in the key of what my Crusaders loop was in. Fuck it.

“And then, I took the vocals, and took the parts that I liked, and put them in the remix. The original version was longer, and had different, longer verses. So I was chopping them up the way I liked them.

“They didn't like the remix at first when I made it. They hated it. When they got to the video shoot, and saw they were [using the remix instead of the original version], they were pissed. They were expecting to go and shoot the video to the hard version. They were like, 'This isn't the one we want.' They thought it was too soft. But I told them, 'Trust us.'

“At the end of the day, it sold one million records. And to this day, they still thank me for that. Like, 'Yo Erick, thanks so much for doing that remix.'”

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