Album: Mr. Smith
Label: Def Jam
Poke: “We locked in with LL for two weeks at Chung King and just went in. I remember we played him the ‘I Shot Ya’ beat. At first we didn’t even want to give him the beat because we wanted the beat for Biggie. But Chris Lighty was like, ‘No! You’re giving him the beat!’”
Tone: “It’s funny how the name came up because it was a beat for Big but it reminded everybody of ‘Who Shot Ya?’ And somebody in the room said, ‘This is not ‘Who Shot Ya? It’s I Shot Ya.’ And that’s how the title came up. So L was writing rhymes and we were like, ‘Ohhhhh.’ It’s crazy because Prodigy was in the other room writing.”
Poke:“I know we went and got P to get on the record. Somebody else rapped on the record and we took them off. I can’t remember who it was.
It’s funny how the name came up because it was a beat for Big but it reminded everybody of ‘Who Shot Ya?’ And somebody in the room said, ‘This is not ‘Who Shot Ya?' It’s I Shot Ya.’ And that’s how the title came up. - Tone
“Chris Lighty was managing Fat Joe at the time. Joe really wanted to be on an event record and that would have been the staple for him. He was like, ‘Yo, lemme just go on. I promise you the rhymes are gonna be amazing.’ So we were like, 'Okay.’ So he got on the record.
“There was a big thing about putting Foxy Brown on the record. They were like, ‘We’re not putting no new artists on the record.’ Until she went in the booth and spit and they were like, ‘Holy shit, we gotta keep her on this record!’ That spawned Foxy.
“Tone grew up with Foxy and her brother Antwan. Foxy used to have a record deal at Capitol—she was AKA at that time. Then she was outta that deal.”
Tone: “She was basically gonna be our artist.”
Poke: “So when she got on the beat and murdered it, everybody was like, ‘Yo, this is it.’ So we did the Def Jam deal and then immediately we started on that record. Everybody knew that we had to seize the opportunity because this was the record that was gonna launch her.”