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

Method Man f/ Mary J. Blige "I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By" (1995)

Album: Tical
Label: Def Jam

Poke: “That song is us. [We produced it] all the way. Everything. Big record, but the credits got twisted out. It’s listed as Puff Daddy as producer and drum programming by Poke, or some shit like that. But it was us, all the way. It’s fucking ridiculous. A soon as the record comes out, we seen the credits like, ‘What the fuck!?! We just got dicked.’

“It was a big deal. You come in the studio, you’re making hot records, and you know that this shit is fire. You’re going home thinking, ‘Oh, I’m good. I’m about to have this record come out.’ Then the fucking record winds up winning a fucking Grammy and you’re like, ‘Holy shit, I did that record!’

“But when lawyers get involved, credits get fixed. It may not get fixed on the actual records though, because if you got a record that sold a million copies, there’s a million copies with wrong credits out there. It’s not like you can tell them to retract all the copies. All they do is fix it moving forward on the second or third shipment, so maybe 300,000 copies have the right credits.

 

That song is us. [We produced it] all the way. Everything. Big record, but the credits got twisted out. It’s listed as Puff Daddy as producer and drum programming by Poke. But it was us, all the way. It’s f**king ridiculous. - Poke

 

“Stuff like that was going on all the time. There’s a million records out there with wrong credits that nobody knows. That happened not just to us but to Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, and a lot of guys. Large Professor went through that big time.

“What happened was I was in my crib and Puff was like, ‘Yo, you’ve got to do this remix for Mary and Meth.’ Okay, I’m on my way. I jumped on the train and came down to the studio. I went into the studio. Mary didn’t get to the studio yet and then Meth came in.

“This is the situations that Tone and I hate: there was like 50 niggas in the studio. It was Wu-Tang’d out like it was crazy. I’m there trying to make this fucking record and I’m looking back at all these smoked-out dudes.

“I’m like, ‘How the fuck am I gonna make a hot record in front of all these guys?’ I asked Puff, ‘Can you tell these niggas to go wait in the lounge?’ He was like, ‘Nigga, you want me to tell all these niggas to go get in the lounge? You’re bugging.’ So I’m like, okay.

“They played me the original version of the song, the one that RZA did. No disrespect, but I said to myself, ‘This shit is wack. What the fuck am I going to do?’ I was sitting there and then Puff was like, ‘We’ve got to keep the melody, we got to keep the whole vibe.’ I was like, ‘What?’ Puff was like, ‘Just do something. Let’s grab one of the loops, it’s gonna be easy. Mary’s going to do her thing on it. We’re going to put them in the club!’

“I was like, ‘We’re going to put them in the club with this record? How the fuck are we going to do that?’ The engineer was looking at me like, ‘What are we doing?’ I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ Puff was like, ‘We need to just make them bounce like one of them Slick Rick records.’ I was like, ‘You got any Slick Rick beats with you?’ So he told the intern to go get a Slick Rick album. The intern gets the Slick Rick album.

 

I said, ‘Puff, you my dude and all but we got to like, have a conversation with Steve about how we’re going to move forward with all this stuff.’ Puff is like, ‘Ni**a what? I gotta talk to somebody? Ni**a, I got you on speed dial! How you going to tell me I got to call somebody?!?!’ After that, we didn’t make any more records with Puff. Just like that. - Poke

 

“He gives me the Slick Rick album and we’re playing it.’ I was like, ‘OK, I can use these drums.’ So I chopped up the kicks and snares and I put the beat on and the beat was on for like at least 15 minutes, just the beat.

“The strings were on the track, I said we can keep these strings. It was just the strings on the hook and I was like, ‘So what are we going to do?’ Then I took the M1 and I got to the favorite bass that we liked on the M1 and added that. I was just going, ‘Dun dun, dun dun.’

“Puff start going crazy. ‘AHHHH! THIS IS IT! THIS THE SMASH!’ He started doing all the shit that he does. So I’m looking at him like, ‘Really? This shit is hot?’ He’s like, ‘This is hot.’ So Meth does his Meth shit and I track it.

“But then Steve Stoute came and grabbed me out the studio and was like, ‘Yo, we’re not doing this no more.’ I said, ‘Let me just finish this record.’ Steve walks in and has the biggest argument in the world with Puff about me being in the studio. That’s when Steve was like, ‘Yo, we can’t let this shit happen no more. If Puffy calls you, don’t even go back to the studio because this is bullshit.’”

Tone: “At the time, Steve was trying to straighten out our business. Puffy was being resistant and was like, ‘I got my own deal with Poke.’ Steve was trying to be like, ‘Man, you can’t just do that.’”

Poke: “I finished making the record and went home. Next day, Puff calls me and is like, ‘NIGGA WE GOT A SMASH!!’ I’m like, ‘Really? Alright cool.’ But then I say, ‘Puff, you my dude and all but we got to like, have a conversation with Steve about how we’re going to move forward with all this stuff.’

“Puff is like, ‘Nigga what? I gotta talk to somebody? Nigga, I got you on speed dial! How you going to tell me I got to call somebody?!?!’ After that, we didn’t make any more records with Puff. Just like that.

“[In the end] I got the Grammy for that record, but it’s upsetting that the audience can’t acknowledge or appreciate the true career of a marquee production team in retrospect. You say to yourself, ‘Damn, if they would have known everything that we had done, they would have looked at us differently than they look at us now.’

 

It’s upsetting that the audience can’t acknowledge or appreciate the true career of a marquee production team in retrospect. You say to yourself, ‘Damn, if they would have known everything that we had done, they would have looked at us differently than they look at us now. - Poke

 

“Not to say that people look at us and don’t think that we’ve done great work. I just think that they would have looked at it like instead of us being let’s say top 10 producers, we would’ve been top 7 or something. It’s cool. We move on. We make mistakes in life and we move forward.

“There were a lot of different situations where we influenced or directed a situation or put our stamp on something and didn’t get credited for. And then it wound up being the best shit at the time. We just look at those situations and know what not to do next time.

“We seen Puff all the time [after falling out over ‘All I Need’]. It was just, if you want to hire the Trackmasters to make a record for you, you’re going to hire the Trackmasters to make a record for you. That was the mentality. It wasn’t no more of, ‘They’re going to come in, you’re going to get all the credit, and you’re going to get all of the money.’ No. These are the Trackmasters. You are hiring them to produce a record.”

RELATED: METHOD MAN BREAKS DOWN THE STORY BEHIND "I'LL BE THERE FOR YOU/YOU'RE ALL I NEED TO GET BY"

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