Diddy f/ Christina Aguilera “Tell Me” (2006)

Producer: Just Blaze

Album: Press Play

Label: Bad Boy, Atlantic

Royce Da 5’9”: “I went in there and wrote at least 40 verses. Diddy is really a huge perfectionist. He’s one of those guys that knows what he wants to hear, but he’s not the best at explaining what he wants. So he doesn’t really know it until he hears it. He had me write verse after verse and he picked different pieces. It was an interesting process and I’m thankful for that because it actually made me be a little more nit-picky and start rewriting my own stuff. I learned a lot from that process.

“I think Diddy wants to be lyrical. I think that he wants to fuse those two worlds together. He knows he’s capable of making big hits—he’s done that in the past—and then I think he feels like he wants to maintain lyricism too. A lot of times people separate hits from lyrics. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that, I mean, look at Eminem. I think he just comes to the table in the same mind-frame. It can be lyrical and a huge hit.

“I would lay references down. Every time I wrote a verse I laid down a reference vocal. So what he would take it, live with it, memorize it, and then go do it. I was working in his studios, but some of them I would write and lay in Detroit. He would tell me over the phone what to change, what he likes, what he doesn’t like. He would lay his vocals later, but I wasn’t there when he laid the vocals.

“There could be people out there that live strictly off ghostwriting, based off of the amount of people that actually need a ghostwriter. I wouldn’t be able to make a living off of it, but that’s not to say that someone isn’t getting approached left and right couldn’t.”