Album: Candy Rain
Label: Uptown

Poke: “The whole Soul For Real experience came out of Heavy D trying to experiment and see if he can create an act that was viable in the marketplace. Hev was like, ‘I like the shit that you dudes do. I got this R&B group and I want to make them like the Jackson 5. We should go in and make records together.’ So we were like, ‘Yeah, Hev. Let’s go.’

“We locked into the studio—similar to what we are doing now with LL Cool J—and stayed in the studio for two weeks and made Candy Rain. It was us, Heavy D, and Terry Robinson. We just locked in and started coming up with ideas. We became really good friends with Hev while making that whole Soul For Real album.”

Tone:“We were in the studio making records. There was no record deal for the group, no future plans. We were just creating. Hev’s thing was that he was going to make some songs for this group, bring it in, and see how [Uptown Records founder] Andre Harrell felt about it.”


When Andre Harrell came into the studio and was like, ‘Yo this is nuts!’ Puffy came in the studio too. Puff was on some real competitive, whisper sh*t like, ‘Why you giving this ni**a Hev hits? What are you doing? Yo, I’m working with Mary ni**a. You wanna do Mary? What are you doing? You doing music? Come on, B.’ - Poke


Poke: “Andre felt like it was the best shit he had heard in a long time. Andre linked it up and started putting the marketing plan together for them. It was crazy because it was summer time when we made the record and they came out in the fourth quarter. Which is unheard of, an act coming down in the fourth quarter. The single was out in September. It was fast.”

Tone: “At that time, we were still just 22 or 23 years old—kids having fun. We were appreciative of the work and the artists that was coming in. It was never ever about money in the beginning. It was, ‘Hev said he wanted to work? OK.’ We never said, ‘If you get a deal for these kids, how much will you pay us for tracks?’ It was never about that.

“That was with everything we did, even with all the work that was done for Bad Boy in the beginning from ‘Juicy’ to ‘One More Chance’ to ‘Be Happy’ for Mary. A lot of that stuff was just because we just loved doing it...”

Poke: “—And we loved working with our favorite artists. There were levels of business that we didn’t know about. At that time, the level of business was, ‘I’m getting a check so I can pay my rent.’ That’s all we wanted to do, let me pay my pager bill and my rent and I’m good. We would get the check and we would pay our pager bill for five months. Like, ‘We good for five months!’”

Tone: “We used to get a check, go to the bank together to deposit it, wait the three days, go back to the bank to take money out together. Then we’d go shopping and buy sneakers and shit.”

Poke: “We didn’t know that we were making hits. We were just making records. But when Andre came into the studio and was like, ‘Yo this shit is nuts!’ Puffy came in the studio too. Puff was on some real competitive, whisper shit like, [Does Puff Daddy impression] ‘Why you giving this nigga Hev hits? What are you doing?’

“That’s when Puff was like, ‘Yo, I’m working with Mary nigga. You wanna do Mary? What you want to do? I’m doing Mary and Usher. What are you doing? You doing music? Come on, B.’ So that’s when we started going to work with Usher and Mary right after that.”