DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

T.I. "Got Your Back" (2010)


Album: No Mercy
Label: Atlantic Records, Grand Hustle Records

DJ Toomp: “When I made the track 'I Got Your Back' I was thinking about Beyonce. I’ve sat in the studio with her before, and played some music for her in New York. She loved my sound, but I haven’t been on one of her albums yet.

“I’ve learned though that when it comes to R&B projects you really want to turn in songs more than just an instrumental. People need a guideline or that bouncing ball to be like, 'Oh okay, I get it now.' If you submit an R&B track, you want that song to have a guideline so you can show the artist where you’re really going with it. Cause take Beyonce’s song, 'Single Ladies': if you would have just heard that beat by itself, it ain’t too many writers who would know how to jump on that because it really don’t have too much music. You would have to have a real creative artist to be able to create your melody over a beat driven track.

“But 'Got Your Back' was very musical. I was in LA for some award show when my man G. Roberson heard the track. He fell in love with it and was like, 'Yo, I think I can get Beyonce on it,' and I was like, 'Damn, that’s who I was thinking about being on it anyway.'

“G moved that track around because he was in love with it. He wound up putting it in The-Dream’s hands, and The-Dream wrote to it. T.I. liked the track a lot too.

“Keri Hilson ended up on the track with T.I., but she wasn’t T.I.’s first choice. T.I. originally wanted to get this female artist that Grand Hustle had over there at the time, but the label wanted Keri Hilson. So Keri got on there and she performed pretty good, but prior to Keri’s voice, it was the other girl’s voice on it. Keri did a great job. But it was a little tug of war for a minute. Me and Keri are real cool, and I didn’t really know the other girl anyway, but I knew Keri because she’s a Georgia girl.”

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