DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Rick Ross "Valley of Death" (2009)


Album: Deeper Than Rap
Label: Def Jam Records, Slip-n-Slide Records, Maybach Music Group

DJ Toomp: “I wasn’t in the studio with Ross when he wrote 'Valley of Death,' but that beat was a collabo between me and this guy name Murder Mark [Kevin 'Khao' Cates], another producer, who actually chopped up the Berry White sample on the song. Thing about it is, when you put songs together a lot of times you don’t know who’s it’s for until it’s done. And then sometimes you may be too far ahead of time. You can make a real futuristic sounding beat, and be like, 'Okay, this year [the artist] may not get it.' But you play that track next year and it might fit right in. I got about a hundred of them like that. Five of them were chosen recently by this new artist name Chris Webby, out of Connecticut. He’s incredible.

“But I met Ross through the late Shakir Stewart in 2006. I use to be in Miami as much as Atlanta, from ’88 to ’95 basically. I was halfway living down there (a lot of people still think I’m from Miami just from my starting off with Luke and stuff). But in spite of that, Ross and I had never met. I knew Ross’ CEO Ted Lucas around that time, and it was wild because every time me and Ross are around each other we talk about different events where we should have ran into each other and met sooner. Our conversations were always like, 'Damn man, I’m surprised I didn’t meet you then!'

“When Shakir finally hooked us up, I liked his energy—he was on some Florida shit. I’m saying, Ross is cool as shit. He got a sense of humor, he can be silly at times. He’s real good peoples but he’s a businessman at heart. He loves R&B, so me and him like to sit around and talk about a lot of ol’ skool records.”

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