Producer: DJ Toomp
T.I.: “That one, we were just really kicking slab with the cats that I respected in the game and felt were most important. We didn’t want to try and go get a big feature. I'm not saying they weren’t big because they were huge in my eyes, but I'm saying we weren’t going to run around saying, ‘OK get him, get him, get him, get him,’ I wasn’t with that. I went through that the last album.
“I was like, ‘Listen, I don’t need anything. The motherfuckers around me respect me enough.’ So 8Ball, MJG, Bun B, were major figures in the culture. They cultivated my career and they were some of the first Southern lyricists along with OutKast, Scarface, and Goodie Mob.
I knew the booty-shaking music wasn't for me. I listen to it, watch girls dance to it, but I can’t do that. I would listen to a lot of New York music; Eric B. and Rakim, LL Cool J, Das EFX, Leaders of the New School, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian. - T.I.
“Usually motherfuckers from the South were known for booty shaking and crunk music, but they were some of the first actual lyricists. I knew the booty-shaking shit wasn’t for me. I listen to it, watch girls dance to it, but I can’t do that. I would listen to a lot of New York music; Eric B. and Rakim, LL Cool J, Das EFX, Leaders of the New School, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian.”
Jason Geter: “Tip is from Atlanta, but a lot of people don’t know his father lived in New York. Growing up, Tip would go to New York for the summer time. Tip will tell you about Harlem like, 'Growing up, I would always go here and there.’ You’d be surprised, like this dude really knew Harlem. That’s how I think a lot [New York rap] influenced him.”
Bun B: “I’d known about T.I. for a while in the Atlanta rap circles. I’d watch him come up and grind, especially through all the mixtapes he had been doing. I was really impressed by his lyrical game. I was definitely down to support him doing that album.
“He said, ‘I want to make sure that I get a really raw song for you to get on.’ I said, ‘Cool. Let’s do it.’ That was the track he came back with, he told me, ‘It will be me, you, 8Ball & MJG on the song’ I said, ‘That’s a great lineup, it makes a great statement for you as an artist linking up with guys like us.’ When I heard the track and I heard how he was coming on it I thought, ‘Okay, I'm going to have to really deliver on this track.’
Tip will tell you about Harlem like, 'Growing up, I would always go here and there.’ You’d be surprised, like this dude really knew Harlem. That’s how I think a lot [New York rap] influenced him. - Jason Geter
“T.I. has always been a really mature person. He’s always known exactly what he wanted to do. So my only advice was to keep doing what you’re doing. There was a direction that they were trying to send him in with his first album, and he realized that it wasn’t the way he needed to be going, so he put forth the effort to try to bring together something that was more representative of him. I told him, ‘When this music comes out it’s going to represent you. You should definitely make the music that you feel is a true reflection of you.’”
DJ Toomp: “Boy I wish we had made a video out of that one. We were basically done with the album and I was in the studio just playing around. The sample that’s in that record is from one of Tip’s records called 'I’m So Tired.' I produced 'I’m So Tired' for I’m Serious but it didn’t make it, so nobody had ever heard it. There's a part on that record where he says, 'You saw the drop top like the bezel in my watch.' I took that line, chopped and screwed it, put another beat around it.
“When I put that track together, I called him. I was like, ‘Hey man, I know we might be done but I got one more track that y’all need to hear before this album is done.’ When I came down there and played it, everyone was all thumbs up, like, ‘Yup, that’s a go.'”