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

Erick Sermon f/ Marvin Gaye “Music” (2001)



Album: Music
Label: J Records
Producer: Erick Sermon

Erick Sermon: “My homegirl Carolyn was overseas in Europe. She found the acapella of 'Midnight Love.' She calls me all excited, so I drive to Brooklyn to get it.

“I get back here at like one o'clock, and I've got to make a beat for the acapella. And I've got to get the right key because it's an acapella. I know that song, because when I was twelve years old, I knew it. But it sounded different on the acapella.

“So I played the melody on the beat, and when the part came up, I was like, 'Oh shit, I'm gonna loop that up right there.' And I'm in the W-30 sampling machine, so I only got fifteen seconds [of space to loop]. So I loop it.

“The rhymes I'm putting on there was just something for me to have to see how it sounds. But my friend Bernard stole the CD and brought it to L.A., and next thing you know, it's a hit record. That record wasn't supposed to leave my house. That was just for me to listen to Marvin Gaye on a beat with me rhyming on it. It was a reference, and they used it.

 

I paid for the sample. I went to go meet Jan, [Marvin Gaye's] widow, who had the estate with her kids. I paid $150,000 to her, and the attorney $50,000. The whole sample cost me $200,000. But it was already out, so I had to do what I had to do. They kind of stuck me up. But they did give me 30% of the publishing, which they didn't have to do. That's the biggest part.

 

“Then, [the Martin Lawrence and Danny Devito movie What's The Worst That Could Happen?] came out, and Jimmy Iovine called for it. Then Clive Davis called for it, and next thing you know, I signed to J Records.

“I gotta thank [Bernard] because that record was never made to get played. I wasn't gonna get the sample cleared. I was like, 'Nobody else is gonna feel this shit.' It was a fun thing.

“I paid for the sample. I went to go meet Jan, [Marvin Gaye's] widow, who had the estate with her kids. I paid $150,000 to her, and the attorney $50,000. The whole sample cost me $200,000.

"But it was already out, so I had to do what I had to do. They kind of stuck me up. But they did give me 30% of the publishing, which they didn't have to do. That's the biggest part.

“$200,000. That's the chance you take. But Clive Davis gave me $4 million. I had a 50/50 contract with J Records. It was unheard of. Pull that contract. Never in the history of music was a contract written like mine.

"I made money when he made money. That's how amped he was on me. And it was all off of 'Music.' He said, 'Anyone who can create something like that is a fuckin' genius. I'm going into business with him.' And he had Alicia Keys coming in the same year.

“I sampled Marvin Gaye for the Juice soundtrack in '91 for EPMD's 'It's Going Down.' I sampled 'I Want You.' Then I did 'Music' in 2001. And now I got some new Marvin Gaye shit I made in 2011 coming out in 2012. The shit is crazy.

"I didn't want to do it, but my boy's gonna be like in the beginning, 'Yo, make some more of that Marvin Gaye shit.' I got this loop that's ridiculous. Wow. And I don't give a fuck, my new record out with Jimi Hendrix is on fire.”

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