Trackmasters Tell All: The Stories Behind Their Classic Records (Part 1)

Mary J. Blige "No One Else" (1994)

Album: My Life
Label: MCA

Poke: “That was more of being in the Puff camp. A lot of it was, Puff had a lot of talented producers and writers. I didn’t even call them producers. We called ourselves producers but now in hindsight we weren’t really producers. We were more like beat makers who learned how to produce.

“Puff had a lot of talented people around him and he knew who to get certain things [out of them]. Every time he was going to make what he considered big records, our names would always come up. We would go in and fix whatever he needed fixed and deliver whatever he needed to deliver. So we were like his go-to guys when he needed ‘that joint.’

 

You look foolish walking in and not having a capable executive or a capable manager speaking on your behalf. Somebody has to play the good cop, somebody has to play the bad cop. The bad cop was always the manager. Let the artist be the artist. - Poke

 

“That’s how we got really on top. Terry Robinson used to write for him a lot and used to always want [us]. ‘If Poke and Tone is doing it, I’m in.’ That’s how Puff used to get it together. ‘Yeah I’ll go get them. That’s nothing. That’s my boy. I get Poke right now.’ So we got in and just made the record."

Tone: “We were just getting more hip to the business, understanding that we were also artists and not just beat makers. We had our first manager, Steve Stoute.”

Poke: “We were always afraid of management because we always heard the horror stories of what managers do, like taking publishing away from you. Those Teddy Riley horror stories. We never wanted to fall under that umbrella.

“All the different things we heard, we were just like, ‘Fuck a manager, we’re going to try to do it ourselves the best way we can.’ But it comes to a point where you’ve got to have somebody to represent you.

“You look foolish walking in and not having a capable executive or a capable manager speaking on your behalf. Somebody has to play the good cop, somebody has to play the bad cop. The bad cop was always the manager. Let the artist be the artist.”

Tags: mary_j_blige
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