When we decided to give XXLMAG.COM’s readers the chance to choose the 2006 anthem of the summer, we expected the winner to be one of the year’s Southern smashes, from “It’s Goin’ Down” to “Shoulder Lean.” But no, the rest of the country can keep snapping their fingers, ’cause The Game ain’t going away. The Compton MC’s street single “It’s Okay (One Blood)” won by a landslide, capturing 39% of the total vote. The next closest was Young Dro’s “Shoulder Lean,” with 16%.
The overwhelming response to “One Blood,” seemed to surprise some of you, eliciting comments like, “Didn’t that just come out last week?” But since the song first leaked in late July, it has been steadily rising from mixtapes to pop radio. To celebrate the song’s victory, we caught up with Black Wall Street’s man behind the music, DJ Skee, who let us in on the secrets behind the song’s success. Skee is currently putting the finishing touches on the new Game mixtape, which is expected to drop in October just before Doctor’s Advocate. They’re also working on a remix to “One Blood,” which is expected to unite some elite MCs from across the country—all this for a song that ain’t shit but a warning till the album drops.
Listen & Watch:
The Game feat. Junior Reid “It’s Okay (One Blood)” (video)
You seemed kind of surprised when I first told you “One Blood” won by a landslide.
It’s crazy, because it came out so late in the summer. It’s a good thing though. I think we leaked it in July or early August. That shit just knocks your neck off when you hear that.
Did you speak a lot with Game when he was recording the album?
Yeah, I’m in there every night. He actually recorded that shit and I wasn’t there, and he was saying, “I got that song.” I went to Encore Studios out in Burbank [to hear it]. When it came on, I heard the sample and it wasn’t what I expected. I expected something more typical, like a “Westside Story” or something real West Coast, not something with a reggae influence. When I heard the sample I was like, “Oh shit, they flipped it!” I knew this was gonna be crazy because it’s different from what people expect. It broadens your market but you still don’t lose anybody. You’ve gotta keep it authentic.
Do you know if he was looking for a specific sound for the street single?
It just happened. He was going through beat CDs and he just happened to go through that one. It came down to the last song and he just had it on, he wasn’t even listening to it really and it was all of a sudden like, “Whoa, this is it.” Then he went and recorded it.
How did you go about breaking the record?
When I got the okay from everybody, it was like, “Let’s make a move. Let’s make it real big.” We did a simultaneous thing across the country. We gave it to Clue in New York, Khaled in Miami and then over here we went to DJ Reflex at Power 106 and we brought it to Mr. Choc. He played it eight times in a row during the five o’clock traffic jam. We shut LA down during that time. Nobody expected it. We got it all on tape. Clue and Khaled both premiered it at the same time, so literally it was simultaneous throughout the country. My phone was off the hook [after that]. Everybody was calling. And then of course the label was calling because they weren’t even happy that we leaked it that early. I don’t think the sample had even been cleared officially. But we were like, “Fuck it. It’s time to go.”
Street singles are usually just on mixtapes and mix shows. How did you end up doing a video?
Originally, we weren’t even gonna do a video. It was literally just the street single. It’s tough to get a song called “One Blood” on radio. That first night at Encore, they were like, “We want it to be the street single,” and we were all concerned that we wouldn’t get any airplay with it because of the content. So then I started calling some different stations and they were like, “No, we can roll with it, it’s cool.” But that’s why we changed the official title from “One Blood” to “It’s Okay.” And then it just caught on so big from there. The weekend that we leaked it, I’m not even sure how many spins it got on BDS, but it was ridiculous. After that, the label was like, “We gotta do a video for it.”
First it was gonna be an even smaller budget street video, but I think they increased the budget for the video like three times just because the song kept taking off. That’s what happens sometimes when you throw out a great record. And now we’re getting commercial airplay out here on Kiss FM, which is a pop station. For that to happen to a street song is just ridiculous. You would expect that for the Scott Storch “Let It Ride” joint that’s out right now, but for a street single to be on Kiss FM? That’s when I was like, “Wow.” And then Jonathan Mannion came in and did a great job with the video. The reason that the video is winning so much too is that it’s different than everything else out there. There’s no girls, the only car in there is a fuckin’ low rider. It’s not on that floss shit, it’s just gritty and raw.
What are some of your personal favorite summertime songs of all time?
Wow, the whole Dre Chronic album. That’s what’s in my changer right now. I got that, I think I got Ice Cube’s greatest hits on right now. Being in LA, I got DJ Quik’s greatest hits. Any of the Jay albums, from Reasonable Doubt to The Blueprint. Taking it way back, when you think of summer, the first song that really comes to mind is Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime,” just because you’ve got that Kool & The Gang sample. Summer music is my personal favorite because that’s my favorite time of the year. And I think the energy of it, you can just feel a summer song. That’s when the best music comes out.