Heltah Skeltah f/ Buckshot “Operation Lockdown” (1996)

Produced by: E-Swift

Sean Price: “That was the last song that we did for Nocturnal. Our first hit was gonna be ‘Understand’ off Nocturnal and ‘Understand’ to the Nation of Gods and Earths is three. We had an idea for the video of a big three, so we had a big three carved out. We got old school photographer [and former photo editor of The Source] Chi Modu, he took pictures, and we were ready to go.

“But then Starang wanted to work with E. Swift because he was a big Alkaholiks fan. Swift was in town and they did a song with O.G.C. I asked, ‘You got something for us?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna come through the next day.’

“E-Swift got to D&D Studios late and Rock made him do push-ups because we had a rule: If you’re late for anything you do push-ups. Either that or we dock your pay, so which would you rather choose? E-Swift probably did like 50 push-ups. [Laughs.] We had other rules too. Like if you wear fatigues, you gotta wear boots. No fatigues and sneakers. What kinda army you in with sneakers on? That’s why you see us with Timbs all the time.

“So Swift did the push-ups and then played the beat. He had a drum and a fucking beeper noise. I’m getting confused. I ain’t saying nothing, but in my mind I’m like, ‘Is this guy playing me? A fucking drum and a beeper noise?’ I’m getting kinda like, ‘This nigga trying to play us yo.’ But we still did the song. I was so pissed off that I heard a drum and a beeper noise for five hours that when I did the song I was like, ‘Lemme get the fuck outta here. Duke played us.’

“Dru called me like, ‘Buck called me and said that’s your first single.’ I hung up on him. Bong! Like, ‘Get the fuck outta here.’ Dru called again like, ‘Yo, this your first single.’ I’m like, ‘Get the...’ Bong! I hung up. I called Rock like, ‘Did you hear from Dru?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I was like, Bong! I hung up on him too. Fuck is he talking about?’

“Then we went up there on a Monday and he was like, ‘Listen, this is really the single right here. Listen to your verse, you're telling the dope story. Once he started talking it was really like, ‘True. Yeah, it makes sense. Let’s do it.’ So I love it now, but it was just the process of going through it that day, I was pissed. But big up to E. Swift. I love E. Swift.”