If you were around in the mid-to-late ’90s, it’s likely that your life was soundtracked by Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence. The producer was a key part of Bad Boy Records’ crew of beatmakers, known as the Hitmen. Ron, along with his partner Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie, was behind some of the biggest records of the era, including Biggie’s “Hypnotize,” “Money, Power & Respect” by the Lox, and JAY-Z’s unforgettable tale of life in the Marcy projects, “Where I’m From.” He also helmed hits by Mase, Brian McKnight, Faith Evans, and many more.

Lawrence, who recently beat cancer and is now back to making music with a whole new batch of artists, sat down with Complex to share the real story of how he came up with Bad Boy’s classics. From emergency last-minute trips to the studio to negotiating with David Bowie, watch the video above to get the inside scoop on how the sound of an era was made.