Large Professor Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Nas f/ AZ and Biz Markie “Understanding” (1995)

Album: N/A

Label: N/A

Producer:  Large Professor

Large Professor: “I was involved in an earlier version of [‘Life is Like a Dice Game’] where he didn’t actually name it ‘Dice Game.’ We did it over the same sample as Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s ‘Get Money,’ the original [version]. It was earlier though. I had hooked it up. Everyone was [still] going to those record conventions, so records would come in waves. And I was catching a lot of those records earlier, and knowing to freak them early. But it never [was released with that beat]. I think that’s the same session we did 'Understanding.'

 

Biz called me one day, and was like, ‘Yo! You know what would be dope? To get Nas to rhyme over that Grover Washington joint.’ And I was like, ‘Word? You think so?’ And then I called Nas, and was like, ‘Yo, this is what Biz said.’ And he was like, ‘Then we gotta do it.’

 

“That [sample] was Biz’s idea. Biz called me one day, and was like, ‘Yo! You know what would be dope? To get Nas to rhyme over that Grover Washington joint.’ And I was like, ‘Word? You think so?’ And then I called Nas, and was like, ‘Yo, this is what Biz said.’ And he was like, ‘Then we gotta do it.’

“So I hooked the beat up, and we went to the Greene Street Studios, and knocked it out. We never mixed it or took it through the whole process, it was just a flinger. But Grandmaster Vic was there, Biz was there, AZ. Raekwon came through [to hang out]. Nas was just starting to work on It Was Written. Those were sessions between Illmatic and It Was Written. That was one of the first sessions when he started getting in the swing of working again.”

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