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Album: Vol.2... Hard Knock Life
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
Swizz Beatz: “That song started as a joke with me sliding my hand across the keyboard, just bugging. Then I did the drums to the joint. I had this pattern where we would follow the beat and follow the lyrics with the melodies. So you would hear the beat playing the song.
“The hook was Jay’s idea but the concept of following the beat was my thing. I played him the joint and he was like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy. I’m trying to figure out what to do with it.’ I told him to just follow the keys. He told me, ‘I want to put DMX on this and I was like, ‘Oh shit, it’s outta here. Let’s go!’ I don’t think Jay and X were ever in the studio together for that.
“The crazy part of that song is X never got to perform it. He never gets to perform that verse, the people do it for him and X just stands there. All the ‘What!’ ad-libs that you hear in the beat were from X live. I wasn’t sampling the ‘Whats’ until way, way later. That’s just what X would always do.
“A lot has been taken away from DMX because of his personal problems. When they look at the situation they think, ‘Aw man, X is locked up again.’ They don’t understand that people couldn’t come on stage after X—the biggest of the big. We were on tours with everybody. Nobody could follow up after X.
“He prayed with his people at the end of the show. He had 50,000 people crying—grown thugs. You couldn’t compete with the power he had. He’s been battling personal issues since day one. X has always been X.
“When I hear the top fives—top this and top that—I think X is up there. Lyrically he’s up there—battle-wise and content-wise. But why don’t I see him up there? Because his publicity isn’t on tack? Or is it that people aren’t doing their homework and don’t understand? I find myself going through that.
“If you want to compare, black and white to black and white, my track record goes around the corner two times quietly. A lot of people are more bent on hype than facts. So I’m like fuck it, this time around, I’m about the facts.”