Album: Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life
Label: Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Producer: Erick Sermon/Rockwilder
Erick Sermon: “Well, my boy Pop had the idea to use the Isaac Hayes record. He took the record to Rockwilder, and Rockwilder put whatever he thought was dope on there. Then, they brought it to me. Then I went to Mirror Image [Studios] and did my beef-up to it too. So, the original came from really all three of us. I gave it to Jay [so they put my name in the credits].
“I was in the studio across the hall from Jay-Z. My boy Bernard went over there and said, 'Yo, Erick made something for you last night.' Just lying to him, whatever. And there were two records of mine that he did.
Hov was already frustrated about what happened to his last album. He was mad. So that 'Hard Knock Life' record took him to where he's a billionaire now.
“One was a Maxwell beat that was looped, and that one. He rhymed on both of them. The other one [never came out] because Maxwell didn't clear the sample. So there's a record out there that's dope that we never heard before. I don't have it, because that studio—I forget what studio it was, but it's shut down. Doesn't exist anymore.
“Yeah, I was there for the session. That's why he's saying at the end [to me], 'Put some more beat on that joint!' But the song was already five minutes long. Nobody makes records like that anymore.
“I didn't know everybody. I didn't know The LOX, or any of those people like that. But it sounded dope that way that it came out. They just kept playing it over and over and over again. I didn't see everybody rhyme, just Hov.
“Nobody knew that was going to be a big album. Nobody. People were very skeptical about that record blowing. 'Hard Knock Life' blew Jay. Jay even said on the intro that he was going to pass the torch to Bleek. Hov was already frustrated about what happened to his last album. He was mad. So that 'Hard Knock Life' record took him to where he's a billionaire now."