Longtime Nipsey Hussle producers Mike & Keys have stepped up and cleared the air about claims that rapper Tito Lopez made about Nipsey’s verse on “What It Feels Like” initially being for one of his songs. The song appears on the soundtrack for Judas and the Black Messiah and has been getting more attention than some of the others because of Nip and Jay-Z's joining forces.
“I’m going to keep it 100 percent and not leave anything out,” Keys told HipHopDX. “We used to do a lot of work with Tito Lopez. He had a Billboard song we produced with him called ‘Mama Proud’ so we was with him almost every single day, making beats with him. We was even working on his album when he was signed to Capitol Records. One of the tracks that we did, Nipsey was the first person to rap on ‘Feels Like,’ but the thing is with that hook, we had sampled a Tito Lopez hook.”
Mike continued, explaining that Tito’s song with Nip’s verse on it was originally meant for a Mike & Keys album back in 2012, and they just sat on the verse at the time.
“Tito wasn’t the only person. There’s like four or five other people who rapped on that beat,” Mike clarified. “Like I said, that beat is from 2012. Tito was trying to get on the song because Nipsey was on it from the jump, but that was never his song. If he did a version to it, we never had it or heard it.”
Mike & Keys also revealed that almost immediately after Nipsey’s murder, Tito wanted to release “Feels Like,” but they were able to persuade him not to because the moment wasn’t right.
“When Nipsey died, because Tito had a copy of it, he tried to put it out a week or two after he died, so I had to stop him from doing that,” Mike said. “When you do right, you get your recognition in the correct way, but when you do it like that, you’re not going to no recognition for that. The funny thing is the original version of what we had, we couldn’t even find the vocal, so we had to change it regardless.”
“When he wrote, it was always from a long-term perspective,” Mike & Keys said.