"Doin' My Job"
Producer: Kanye West
T.I.: “That’s my favorite record I’ve ever made. Those kinda records have a special place in an artist’s heart because they’re pulled from our lives. Rapping about some of that shit on records, that’s a way of us re-living those circumstances. There is no way I can say some of that without thinking about what happened and my relationship with my thoughts— good, bad, or indifferent.
“It’s real-life shit that went in that song. We was 14, 15 years old, and we used to cut school, hustle in front of the apartment, all day, all night. We kept a low profile. But there were a lot of old ladies, moms, and people who were there. They would see us dealing, breaking the law. While we was back there, there were break-ins, there were stolen cars, we out there doing what we doing, but [we weren’t doing that]. We wanted shit to run smooth too because we need this to operate.
That’s one of the most special records because I knew there was so many people who were willing to say the same thing, they just didn't know how to articulate it. It gave me great pride to be able to convey that message. -T.I.
“That song was me being able to clear up a lot of the ways I felt. Even though I was removed from that environment by then, I got an opportunity to speak on it. On a song, there is no interruption. It’s gonna force you to listen and think. That’s one of the most special records because I knew there was so many people who were willing to say the same shit, they just didn’t know how to articulate it. It gave me great pride to be able to convey that message. That opportunity doesn’t come often in music, especially the kind of music that I do.
“'Doin’ My Job,' that was my very first time working with Kanye. He came down to Atlanta to the studio. I remember hearing 'Jesus Walks' and I was like 'Oooooooh, I don’t know—that shit sound risky.’ That shit popped though. When I was telling Kanye, 'I don’t know, bruh' my homeboy was like, ‘That shit go.’ Kanye and my homeboy were absolutely right.”
DJ Toomp: “We figured like, ‘OK, we’ve got the Toomp feel. We’ve got the down South stuff, let’s get some different producers.’ We decided to reach over to Kanye. It blended perfectly. Kanye definitely brought balance to the project.
We introduced Kanye to Atlanta for real. -DJ Toomp
“We kicked it hard [with Kanye]. We went to the strip clubs with him. They had female wrestling and everything. We introduced Kanye to Atlanta for real. It was great to show somebody around Atlanta at that time. There was so much to do.
“That’s when Kanye was still trying to develop as an artist. He had already established himself as a producer, but he was playing demos like, ‘What do y’all think about this?’ It was the beginning of his career as an artist, and that’s the interesting part about him being infatuated with us for about a good week or so.”