DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Rick Ross "Prayer" (2006)


Album: Port of Miami
Label: Def Jam Records

DJ Toomp: “I didn’t do 'Prayer,' but that was my music. 'Prayer' was originally a track that Rick Ross had gotten from me, but [another producer] played it over—basically another producer had almost reproduced the whole track. And I really took offense to that. [Me and Ross] almost took it there as far as lawsuits and whatnot, but we just decided to go ahead and keep the work relationship going. We ended up straightening it out. I can’t remember if I ever got any credit for that song, but I think I got a little publishing [money] from it.

“I mean, you’re going to have people who bite. Even when I came with Jeezy’s 'I Luv It,' about three songs came out that sound just like 'I Love It' within that quarter. When I did 'You Don’t Know Me' for Tip, some producer out of Texas or Louisiana had basically replayed the whole track for Juvenile. And with [T.I.’s] 'What You Know,' the way I went in on those cord progressions, and the way I arranged those synthesizers, a few people grabbed that concept too.

“If anything it’s flattering. I feel somewhat like a trendsetter when I hear people actually biting my style. Some producers get offended and take it personal but my whole thing is, 'It’s mine, so if anybody gon’ get paid for doing it first, it’s gonna be me.'

“People still respect the original version of stuff though. They can tell when somebody’s biting. I get a lot of phone calls where folks be like, 'Man I thought that was you, they biting your style!' But I’m someone who’d still go on the internet and show how I put stuff together. Ultimately, people can do whatever, even buy the same equipment, but they still can’t get that original cuisine.”

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