DJ Toomp Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Young Jeezy "Recession" (2008)


Album: The Recession
Label: Def Jam Records, Corporate Thugz Entertainment

DJ Toomp: “I met Jeezy back in 2003. Maybe a little earlier. We met in a Buckhead club called Shadows. I remember Black Mafia Family use to be around there, [Big] Meech, everybody. It was crazy too. Those were those days. That was a whole ‘nother Atlanta around that time. When Buckhead was jumping at its peak? Oh that was incredible. Those were some real days. Jeezy wasn’t there at Shadows with Meech— he was solo around that time, and was working with Lil Jon. So I met him then. But it was another one of those situations where it was just like; I keep running into this dude. I know we’re going to eventually work together. Once he got that deal with Def Jam, he came back around and was like, 'Ay man, let’s go.'

“‘The 'Recession' was a track I originally made for Clifford Harris [T.I.]. Clifford wasn’t really feeling it that much. I was like, 'Yo, let me play this shit again… For real? Check this shit out man! You don’t hear this dude?!' and he was like, 'Ah, go to the next one, that one cool…'

“So one day Jeezy called me and was like, 'Yo man, I’m over in your complex, you at the spot? I’m bout to drop down on you.'

“When he came through me and him just sat in a room and talked about everything, stuff we always talk about, from the streets, to women, to regular conversations just on some playa shit. Towards the end of our conversation he was like, 'Man let me hear some tracks.' So I started going through them. I played about two of them, but when I got to 'Recession' he was like, 'Oh shit!'

“He stood up, started pacing around the room, whispering to himself. Then he sat down next to me and tapped me on the shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, 'Don’t play that shit for nobody else! I got this one man. This the ‘Recession’ one, this for the Recession record!'

“He came up with lyrics on the spot, in like fifteen minutes. I wasn’t there when he went in the booth and laid it down, but by the time he called me on the phone and put the phone to the speaker so I can hear how the song came out, I was like, 'Oh hell yeah, we good.'

“I got a little mini studio at my crib, and when I made that record I was just going through some samples. That song came from 'The Black Knight' by Sir Lancelot. I took the sample, slowed it down, and put my own music to it. I added some more of my strings, my horns and my drums, made sure I could get that sample cleared, and just got creative on it once I got the clearance. I wasn’t going to put a lot of energy into it if it wasn’t gonna get cleared.

“I love the fact that Jeezy made it the intro. I begged him to make a video to it too. I even had the concept, I had the storyboard and all that. I was like, 'Man, you can make that shit look like the LA riots man, the recession!' But he never did.” [Laughs.]

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