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

The Notorious B.I.G. "Juicy" (1994)

Album: Ready to Die
Label: Bad Boy/Arista

Poke: “This goes back to the whole block party thing. Puff said, ‘Yo ‘Juicy Fruit’ is a hot record to jack.’ OK. I went home, we put the shit together, came back to the studio, Biggie rhymed, and that was it. That’s the whole story.

“I don’t know where Pete Rock came from [saying he did the original version]. Maybe Puff tried to get Pete to do it and maybe it didn’t come out the way he meant it. That could have happened prior to it coming for us to do. But that’s really what it was.

“You know what it is also? Because of what we knew about how to chop records up, people had ideas of using things, but they could not get the proper elements they needed to make a verse, a hook, and a bridge.

 

I don’t know where Pete Rock came from [saying he did the original version]. Maybe Puff tried to get Pete to do it and maybe it didn’t come out the way he meant it. That could have happened prior to it coming for us to do. But that’s really what it was. - Poke

 

“But we had the Fadies formula on how to just take anything. I don’t give a fuck what the record is—we can make it happen. We did that and that’s how ‘Juicy’ came about. Like I said, maybe they tried to do it prior to that and it didn’t work out, but that was the end result. That was the second time [we felt successful]. Working with G Rap was the first.

“The other thing about the business that we didn’t know is the viability of having a Top 10 record on the charts. We didn’t know what the fuck that was. People were like, ‘You know you got a Top 10 record?’ We were like, ‘So what?’”

Tone:Billboard didn’t mean anything to us.”

Poke: “We in the fucking arcade playing video games.”

Tone: “There used to be an arcade around 47th and Broadway and there used to be a basketball video game called Run and Gun. We used to go in there and play it all the time. One day, Steve Stoute was in there playing.

“We started playing Run and Gunagainst each other for hours. We got to talking and it turns out he was down with Kid 'n Play. We were absolutely not interested in Kid 'n Play, but we maintained a relationship with each other.

 

We knew Steve Stoute, we were friends, so we had a meeting at RCA Records. While in the meeting, Steve said I’ll be right back and went to the other room. He came back like 15 minutes later and said, ‘I just got fired. Do you guys need a manager?’ And that was it. RCA let him go from that day and he became our manager. - Tone

 

“One day, I seen him in the studio. He was working with an artist called Bass Blaster. I went up there playing some tracks for Bass Blaster. We knew each other, we were friends, so we had a meeting at RCA Records.

“While in the meeting, Steve said I’ll be right back and went to the other room. He came back like 15 minutes later and said, ‘I just got fired. Do you guys need a manager?’ And that was it. RCA let him go from that day and he became our manager.”

Poke: “Steve just wanted us to understand who we were and where we were in the game. We didn’t understand any of that because we didn’t really understand the business like that. He was trying to make us aware of our value.

“When we got with Steve Stoute and he became our manager, he showed us the viability of what that was. At the time, we had Soul For Real, Mary J. Blige, and Biggie all on the Top 10 charts. Steve was like, ‘Do you know who you niggas are?’ We’re like, ‘What are you talking about, man? Let me finish playing fucking video games. I don’t fucking care.’”

Tone: “He’d be like, ‘You know how hot you guys are?’ We’d be like, ‘No.’ When Steve came in, he was able to capitalize on the success that we were having. The success that we were having wasn’t being celebrated by anybody. It was kind of just, ‘You can go get those guys any time you want. They’re right there. They’ll be here tomorrow.’”

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