DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Nas "N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave And The Master)" (2008)


Album: Untitled
Label: Def Jam Records, Columbia Records

DJ Toomp: “I met Nas through J. Brown, Jay-Z’s right-hand man. We were in Miami at a studio, I think Hit Factory, but I forgot whose project I was working on at the time. J. Brown happened to be at the studio as well and he was like, 'Yea, Nas is down here too.' J. Brown introduced me and Nas and I played Nas a few joints. Later on we ended up hooking up in New York. We didn’t do too much in Miami but in New York we got a lot of stuff done.

“I think I might’ve recorded about four songs with Nas in that New York session. Matter-of-fact, I got a few Nas songs tucked away. I’m supposed to be putting an album together on every unreleased song I’ve ever done on every album. Nas got about two or three of my joints on his hard drive right now.

“When I made 'NIGGER,' I was basically just going through tracks. The song itself was just based on some of the stuff Nas was talking about [in the studio]. Nas is a quiet dude, but once I let him see how I was he started loosening up. Me and him were in the studio talking about political issues, conspiracy theories, and a lot of stuff that people don’t understand yet, like UFOs and shit.

“That 'NIGGER' record was kind of a no-brainer. Cause when he hit the booth with it, he just started rapping and I heard the hook and I was like, 'Damn dude, that shit fits.' I heard it was very rare for someone to be in the room with him while he record. A few A&Rs were asking me, 'Damn man, he did the song while you was there?!' I was like, 'Yeah, shit, he felt comfortable around me.'

“He definitely got his point across on that song— and I didn’t have any problems with it. Controversy has never been a problem for me, especially in the entertainment business. Only controversy that can really hurt your career is if you done something like messing with some kids, some kind of sick act, but controversy is a good thing, especially if it’s based around you making a statement.

“You got people saying, 'Ah, that word ‘nigger’ man, get that out of your vocabulary!' But I be like, 'You say that’s what they called us when we were slaves. But now that you’re making money, you want to take this word out your vocabulary but you eating all this bullshit, so you basically eat like a nigger, but you just don’t use the word...'

“Nigga: Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished. People sometimes change things to acronyms to shift the energy of that word. Sometimes we can be too sensitive.

“I wasn’t disappointed when Nas changed the name of the album though, because the fact that you even know that name was changed lets you know that the people still knew what the original title was. People still call it the NIGGER album. Period. Like, I don’t know anyone who call that album anything else. So the fact that people had a chance to see that original title, made a statement. It’s the reason why we even talking about it. If the original title of the album was never seen or known, then it would be like, 'Ah, it didn’t really do what it was supposed to do.' But that song is still on the album. I feel good about producing that record.”

Tags: dj_toomp, nas, nigger
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