2Pac f/ DJ Quik "Heartz Of Men" (1996)
Producer: DJ Quik
Album: All Eyez On Me
Label: Death Row/Interscope
DJ Quik: “That was the stomp-down funky track—I'll put it to you like this. When I first did that track, I bought a little house in San Bernadino County. Just to get away from L.A., the spot was too hot. I moved away so I could write because my spot was getting blown up in L.A., Compton.
"I shook out there, built a little studio. Started making beats in there. That was one of the beats that would have been on Safe + Sound, but Safe + Sound was already pretty much done, so it was kind of hangover beat, just sitting there. I offered it to 2nd II None, because I knew it was hot.
The outfits we were wearing, the jewelry we chose, the way we felt when we went into the studio. That shit was such a lifestyle, man. It was incredible. And the 'Heartz of Men,' let that be an indicator of just how we was feeling. I felt like nothing could stop us now—only death.
"I hate to admit this, but 2nd II None either they were retarded or bourgie. They was like, 'We don't like it. We ain't feeling it.' I was like, Really? 'Yeah, we don't like that one. Make something else.' This is the same group that, when I look at interviews now, these motherfuckers tell everybody that they made the beats!
"Them and AMG. That's cool. If that's what it is, whatever it takes for y'all to get y'alls celebrity or fame, go ahead, I wish you luck. But they turned it down, declined that track, and I was like, so y'all don't mind if I sell it? They was like, 'Shit, go ahead.'
“So I packed up my MPC, my keyboards. Drove my happy ass to Can-Am studios and recorded it in Studio B with Dr. Dre in the back in Studio A. Motherfuckers heard that track, they was like, 'Damn, Quik funky.' Dre left for a little while so Studio A opened up. Studio A was the big room.
"My friend Warren came through, and an in-house producer over at Death Row Records who played the synthesizers on that record. Warren played piano on it. I played bass. We pretty much freaked the track and made it big. Put a two-track of it up.
"When Tupac got out of jail days later, we didn't even know he was getting out of jail, because Suge did that shit in private. He didn't even tell anybody that he was in New York so we just had the studio running.
"The fuckin' door flies open, we're in the kitchen playing Mortal Kombat, it's Tupac Shakur, hooked up. Fresh outfit and shit. I'm like, 'What the fuck? Nigga you're supposed to be in jail.' Who gets out of jail? That's what let me know that Death Row shit was powerful.
The door flies open, we're in the kitchen playing Mortal Kombat, it's Tupac Shakur, hooked up. Fresh outfit and shit. I'm like, 'What the...? You're supposed to be in jail.' Who gets out of jail? That's what let me know that Death Row sh*t was powerful.
“So I'm like, well, since you're here, I've got something I want you to hear. I played one for him. He's like, Alright, whatever. I play 'Heartz of Men' second. He grabbed a notepad, he's like, 'Quik, let me go back and fuck with Daz. I'll be right back.' An hour later, he finished the song in the back—by this time I switched back to B since Dre came back.
"He came in B, sat down with a legal pad, a fuckin' ink pen, a blunt, lit up. Wrote that motherfucking song right in front of me. This is where I blew it. I didn't have a video camera. I blew it. I took it for granted. I figured, we're going to live forever—who cares? It just doesn't sound as sweet coming from my mouth as it did the experience of seeing him go in there and obliterate that fucking track like he did. You know?
"The outfits we were wearing, the jewelry we chose, the way we felt when we went into the studio. That shit was such a lifestyle, man. It was incredible. And the 'Heartz of Men,' let that be an indicator of just how we was feeling. I felt like nothing could stop us now—only death. I was really wound up into the production back then. I was fucking wound up. I was going for it.
“As fate would have it, I recently went and visited 2nd II None and visited them in their little situation, wherever they're living. No cars; these guys pretty much fucked off their celebrity. I added insult to injury by telling them just a few days prior, my lawyer emailed me and told me his favorite song of the week was 'Heartz of Men.'
'You guys turned down some serious records. And right now, you guys don't look like you're in the position to turn down your collars.'
"So I opened up the email, and he said because it just netted you blank-blank-blank-blank-blank in residual royalties. So I look at this big-ass royalty check, and the first person I think of is Tupac. The second person I think of is 2nd II None. I just tell them, 'You guys turned down some serious records. And right now, you guys don't look like you're in the position to turn down your fucking collars. Y'all should have took all that shit, took everybody's money, and laughed all the way to the bank.'
"Let some of these hip-hop artists who have fallen on hard times, let them serve as a lesson or an indicator or how not to do hip-hop. Whether it's gangster rap, pop, swag, whatever it is.
"Let some of these people be a testament of when keeping it real goes wrong, like David Chapelle says. Them keeping it real just cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties that I collect. I hope you print all this shit.”