Trackmasters Tell All: The Stories Behind Their Classic Records (Part 2)

Discovering 50 Cent

Tone: “We were working on our group Black with Nas and Slick Rick up in this little studio called Bearsville in upstate New York. We used to go up there just to get out of the city. It’s surrounded by nothing but trees so all you can do is work. The studio is actually inside of a barn and we used to bring artists up there just to keep them focused.”

“We were up there working and [former senior executive vice president of Sony] Cory Rooney had dropped off a cassette tape of a kid from his neighborhood named 50 Cent. He said, ‘When you guys get a second, just listen to it see what you think.’ So we put it in and it was all bullshit except for one song, a song called ‘The Hit.’ He had so much swag on this record, it was ridiculous. I couldn’t stop playing it. I was like, ‘Get this kid up here.’

 

He always used to start with this little melody thing and we would say, ‘Yo that’s the hook! What are you doing!’ And he would be like, ‘Really that’s the hook?’ ‘Yes! Put that in the hook, double it, do this, and do that.’ And he’d be, ‘Alright cool.’ That’s how he developed his whole singing, it was from that. - Poke

 

“So we got him, he drove up to Bearsville, and we had a long conversation. We really thought we could develop this guy into an artist just based on that one song. He was doing shit where he was sounding like Bone Thugs on one record and we were like, ‘You don’t wanna do none of that. You wanna sound like this guy right here, you wanna be this record right here.’ He said okay and we were up in Bearsville for maybe two more weeks.”

Poke: “We did maybe 80 records with him. He did so many that we ran out of beats. He rapped on every beat we had, it didn’t matter what it was. He was a beast, he didn’t stop. To the point where he was rhyming and all we had was drums, and he just went in.”

Tone: “He just rapped and rapped and rapped. He rapped on everything. Just lot of it bullshit, some of it was good but he was just learning and developing. We knew we had a monster on our hands.”

Poke: “He always used to start with this little melody thing and we would say, ‘Yo that’s the hook! What are you doing!’ And he would be like, ‘Really that’s the hook?’ ‘Yes! Put that in the hook, double it, do this, and do that.’ And he’d be, ‘Alright cool.’ That’s how he developed his whole singing shit, it was from that.”

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