DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Wale "Legendary" (2011)


Album: Ambition
Label: Warner Brothers Records, Maybach Music Group

DJ Toomp: “I met Wale for the first time through Jason Geter (T.I.’s manager). Prior to this I had sent him a track once, I think when he first got signed to Warner Music—I had replayed the song 'Bittersweet,' and he had put the song to it. He leaked it out on the Internet and it got pretty good views, but at the time we still hadn’t met.

“One day Jason and me were hanging out at Ludacris’ spot Straits, which is Luda’s restaurant. Wale happened to be there and me and him finally met. Wale be moving around like that, that’s how he ran into Ross [the first time]—just hanging out in Miami. Ross saw him a few times and was like, 'Dang man, let’s just hook up.'

“Dallas Martin, an A&R at Warner Bros. who was over the [Ambition] project use to always tell me that I was one of his favorite producers and now that he had a position at a label, he wanted to do some business. That’s how me and Wale ended up working together. I cut at least four songs for Wale, two of which made the album. Which was cool— two out of four ain’t bad. But the first song we did was the song 'Legendary.'

“'Legendary' was a track that I had originally made for Jay-Z. When Jay and Kanye were working on the Watch the Throne album, I sent 'Legendary' to Jay but the track never got to him because I thought I was sending it to the right person but nothing ever happened. After that situation, Rick Ross chose it but he ended up not ever using it. So with Wale being Maybach Music, he ended up picking it, and when he heard it he fell in love with it. Matter-of-fact, the first person Wale wanted to get on it was either Jay-Z or Nas. He was like, 'Yo, I either want Jay-Z or Nas…I want somebody legendary.'

“The Ambition album was going at a pretty fast pace and we were getting a whole lot done, so we didn’t really get too much time to get all the stuff cleared, we just wanted to finish the album. So Wale just went on and took 'Legendary' on his own without Jay and Nas, and when he started laying it down we were like, 'Dude, you don’t need anybody on it—you got this on your own.' And he killed it.

“As far as the beat itself, there was this song I chopped up, it was like the original of 'You Got Your Hooks In Me.' You know the O’Jays version, but there’s another one, Barbara and the Vandelles I think. I just took it there, I stretched the samples out and just chopped it up and everybody fell in love with it.”

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