Noreaga: “At the exact time that we was dropping the record, it was really Puff Daddy’s shiny-suit era. Everybody wanted to 'wave their Rollies in the sky.' We were the exact opposite. We had on army fatigues, Timberlands, and hoodies. The craziest thing was we were in direct competition with the shiny-suit era, but the person who actually produced it was a Bad Boy producer, Nashiem Myrick and Carlos Broady. It was actually recorded in Puff Daddy’s house! 

“The dude Nashiem Myrick, he’s from Queens. Tragedy Khadafi knew him. When we found out that he produced 'Who Shot Ya?' we were fans of his. But it was definitely weird when Nashiem suggested we record in Puff’s studio. It was weird because we were used to going to the studio and leaving Phillies papers on the floor, drinking and throwing the bottles, and throwing cigarettes everywhere. But this was very much a controlled environment. There was a very strict no-cigarette policy, very strict no throwing things on the floor. And we were straight off the block and we didn’t know no better. Back then, we didn’t know less is more. We thought more is more. I would bring all my dudes from Lefrak, Tragedy would bring all his people from Queensbridge, and Capone would bring all of his people from Queensbridge. It was just ridiculous. 

“In the studio, that’s when I realized Nashiem is an excellent drinker. We would be in there from eight to eight and he would drink Hennessey the whole time, maintain his composure, and make a hit. Yo man, I call myself a drink champion, but I haven’t hung out with Nashiem lately so I don’t know if I deserve that title. But I didn’t care about the drunkenness, I cared about the hit. 

“This is the totally honest story: They was like, ’Nore you got to do the chorus.’ I said, ’No problem! I love doing hooks.’ [But] I had absolutely nothing for the chorus. I simply looked to the right and to the right was a reel that said T.O.N.Y. Nashiem and Carlos Broadway had a company called T.O.N.Y., which meant Top of New York. So I was looking at they reel, because back then we had the two-inch reel, and the reel said T.O.N.Y. And I just took the words, 'T-O-N-Y, invade NY, multiply.' This was not genius. I did not think of it ten years prior. I just looked at the reel, I saw the T.O.N.Y., and I thought that sounded dope so I added to it. Years later people would be like, ’Yo that was so genius!’ But in all honestly it was just so random. 

“At the time, 'T.O.N.Y.' was Biggie’s favorite record. I think Nashiem just did an interview where he stated that. Nashiem’s story was that he played the record for Big and Big didn’t like it. But then we took it and laid the vocals to it, Big loved it. I believe 'T.O.N.Y.' was Big’s record, I’m not sure.

“[Biggie] called me [from LA] and he played 'T.O.N.Y.' and he said, 'The minute I get home I’m going to lay my verse for the remix.' And to tell you the truth, me and Big knew each other but we didn’t know each other on the calling level. I never called him, he never called me. It was weird to get that phone call out of the blue. He didn’t even ask me if it was okay, he just told me he was going to lay his verse for the remix. But instead of being hyped about Biggie Smalls being on my record, the first thing I said was, ’How did you get this record?’ Because we hadn’t put 'T.O.N.Y.' out at the time. He was like, ’Soon as I get home I’ma lace this.’ But he never got to lay the verse. 

“The crazy thing is, in the Notorious movie, they show him when he was in L.A. and he was making those phone calls. One of those phone calls he made, I swear I was one of those calls. I actually went to go see the movie and I got chills when I seen him making those phone calls. I would say the 100 people he might have called, I was one of those people.”

Capone: “That song actually came about in a way where we was trying to mess with Bad Boy and get a great big buzz going because Puff was the man at the time with production and everything. No matter how shiny-suit Puff was, he still had the hardest artist in Big. Big was doing shiny suits too. So what the fuck? Big is soft? Nah, it was just the era. But we knew in that era you had to fuck with Puff Daddy to win. You had to fuck with Puff some way to get that co-sign. Puff was so major. 

“Then the reason why we wanted to work with Puff also was just how we came in the game. We made the song 'L.A., L.A.' for a Bad Boy mixtape that Puff said he didn’t want to use because of the beef. But he said, ’I’ll never forget the fact that you came to the table and tried to hold it down.’ So when we needed a favor, there was no problem for us to get Nashiem on the track. Not saying he owed us, but he knew where our heart was and we knew where his heart was. His heart was in great music. We hollered at Nashiem Myrick and he came through with his boy Carlos Broady and they put the beat together. 

“The funny shit about it is that the original beat to 'T.O.N.Y.' ain’t the beat that made the album. The beat that made the album had a little bit of Big’s insight, a little bit of Puff’s insight. When they was doing the beat after we did the record and recorded the vocals, all of us liked it but didn’t think it was as powerful as it could have been. So Nashiem took the beat to Puff and Puff kind of went in and was like, ’Yo add this! Add that!’ And that’s where you get the dude Sean Brown who say, ’Allah Akbar.’ And then it became a banger. It became undeniable.”