Fabian Marasciullo
The Man Behind TC3

Tha Carter III is finally here, leaked online and now in stores, too. The overall reception has been favorable, though there’s been some rumblings over whether Lil Wayne properly delivered considering the sizable buzz he built. According to his engineer, however, Young Money/Terror Squad family Fabian Marasciullo, TC3 is even better than intended.

Plenty of songs leaked to the Internet that could have made the cut. New songs were added literally days before the product was shipped. But the end result, he says, is a quality album.

Here, Marasciullo, who rode shotgun for the entire making of the album, speaks to XXLmag.com about the records that didn’t make the album, mixing and mastering the album, and the pesky leaks that slowed down the project in the first place.

On meeting Lil Wayne…

I’ve been working with Wayne since the 500 Degreez stuff. I was working with Rodney Jerkins and we were doing shit like Michael Jackson and stuff like that. I was Rodney’s exclusive engineer and I met the Cash Money guys including Lil Wayne and we hit it off well. I didn’t really start working with them until Tha Carter, the first one. The first record I mixed was “Go DJ.” So I been with Lil Wayne as an artist for a while now.

When we started with Tha Carter III and seeing all the leaks, there was frustration because we had been working on this for years. When it came time to mix, the first record that we mixed was “Lollipop.” In the past, Wayne was never involved in the technical process before this album. He just gave us the songs and we mixed it, compiled the album, and put it out. We, meaning Slim, Baby, and me.He would give us the songs he wanted, and Baby and Slim had more input on the original albums. But Wayne always gave us the records. And then we would mix, put the spacing and do all that shit. But this album was really more hands on for Wayne. The first record we mixed was “Lollipop” and it was kind of a weird situation. It was Wayne’s first time really being involved in the mix process and at the time there also was a couple different version of the record, so there was confusion getting started. We might have mixed that record three times before you guys even heard the final product; there were three different versions of where we were going. From that point, me and Wayne had a meeting about the vibe he had and what he wanted it to be. We kind of pushed the envelope as far as rap stuff goes. He kind of did it a little funkier, wild, and far out for rap shit, as opposed to the typical straight up, rap album. His manager left me with Tha Carter III drive and they left overseas to do some shows. They were gone like a month and while they were gone I just started mixing stuff.

On getting started on Tha Carter III

When it comes to Wayne it’s always been more of a family thing so I always go in a little bit different for him than for anybody else. So they left me with that and we started going in. We did “La La,” the David Banner record. I mix records every day, but then you get someone like Wayne and just because you know it’s a more anticipated thing, not to mention it’s my brother, so you have to go in a little bit more different and you got to think about things differently. When we were working with Michael Jackson, it was like, it’s Michael, we got to go in. So we’re looking at Wayne in the same light nowadays, really, because he’s who everyone is looking to. So to go in on that means to just give things a 10th listen instead of 9. We go in with more passion and more heart, just because it’s a family thing. And we knew this was the most important one so we had to make it perfect. So we did “Lollipop then we did “La La,” then we did the Alchemist record. From there, I did a record called “Phone Home,” which was produced by Cool and Dre. And it was dope, because I kind of took Wayne’s lead on that. In the first verse he said, “We are not the same, I am a Martian.” And he sounds crazy, like a Martian when he says that word. So in the intro, the record didn’t have any of that computer shit, the space and all that stuff. So I listened to the record and I was like, We need to take this up to the next level. I got a bunch of sound effects, I created the countdown at the beginning, the spaceship taking off, that’s what I mean by going in. The next step. So I went in and added all those sound effect and Wayne heard it and was like, ‘You’re retarded.’It was great.

The whole time it was just so stressful. We had a safe in the studio. Because I knew I was the only person that had a copy of these records at the time. So it was so stressful we literally had a safe. I locked everything up every night, leave. No one had the combination. Nobody had access to this thing, not even Baby and Slim. In fact, I got married in the middle of the process and went on my honeymoon; I was in Italy for two weeks. They were calling because they needed a record to send over for clearance. And they couldn’t even get it, because I had the key on me. It was funny. This shit was literally under lock and key. They were like, ‘Damn, we can’t even get to it.’ From there, we mixed a couple of really dope records that didn’t make the album. I’m sure they’ll be out on mixtapes or on the Internet in the next month or so, you know how that shit goes?

Fabian Marascuillo mixes records for Young Money and Terror Squad.

On leaked records…

The way I look at it, everything happens for a reason. As far as the stuff leaking, I was always Cash Money’s mix engineer. And Andrews Correa was the tracking engineer. There was always two guys that they could always go to. Baby and them were still in old-school world and Wayne was never too into the technical process before. They would have to come to us to burn a disc, do this. It was always more of a pain in the ass for us, but it was good because no one had access to things and you didn’t have to worry about much. So now Wayne blew up, he goes all over the world, he goes here, he goes there. So of course now there’s more margin for error. As opposed to being in the studio in New Orleans, we record here, or we’re in Atlanta, you send it to me and we mix it in Miami, then it goes to mastering. But now he’s all over the world, so there’s 10 engineers doing 10 different things. So of course there’s more of a margin for the shit to get leaked. But anybody that hears this stuff can tell you that the records that got leaked were always super dope. But the final album…it’s like, thank God for the leaks. Because the final album is killing what would have been the final album, in my opinion.

On what made the album and what didn’t…

The “Playing with Fire” joint, the Streetrunner record. That originally was a Rolling Stones sample that they used and there wasn’t no way it was gonna get cleared and everyone was tripping about it. Streetrunner went back in, unbeknownst to Wayne, got Betty Wright, replayed the guitars on the record. Up until the day before mastering it wasn’t on the album. We were in New York paying the album and I was like, What about “Playing with Fire?” It was one of the records I really enjoyed listening to the whole thing. Wayne was like, ‘We can’t get it cleared, We can’t use it.’ I told him he re-did it and Wayne was so excited. It cost Universal so much money because the artwork was done already; they printed almost 2 million copies of the album to ship out. And Wayne was like, ‘No, make it happen.’ I was watching people from the label scrambling to put the shit on there. But that was another thing that people probably don’t know about. Literally we were mastering and adding songs. Like Jay-Z, I didn’t get that verse until the day we were mastering. So I mixed that record. I was in New York and I had to go over to Quad and mix Jay-Z’s vocals into the record literally within minutes of completing mastering.

There was this record that Develop produced, and it was called “American Dream.” It had a Mike Tyson sample on there, when he was going crazy that one time talking about I’ll eat your children. They couldn’t get the sample cleared but it was crazy hearing Mike, and then Wayne talking about he’s the baddest and on that level, that eat your children type of shit. It was dope, it was extreme, it was really hard, but obviously they couldn’t get it cleared, they had to call HBO, they had to call Don King, it was like 10 different clearances that needed to be done. So it wasn’t worth putting it on there.

On his favorites…

Definitely my favorite record on the album, there’s two, “Mr. Carter” and “Tie My Hands” is just such a dope record. The ending is so legendary [on “Mr. Carter”]. But it’s kind of like a milestone where we are in the rap community. There was always Biggie and Pac, you got Nas…then you have Jay-Z. That’s the king, but I think people are starting to, if they haven’t already, obviously compare Wayne and Jay, so to hear them together is just so legendary. And to hear Jay give Wayne his props and say, ‘Go ‘head, go get it.’ Just the whole presentation was legendry. And Drew and Infamous killed that beat, it was retarded. “Tie My Hands,” that’s like a movie, its theatrical. He could be talking about the soldiers, the hardships, people trying to make it, and your hands are still tied. So I know we’ve all been there, we all could be doing better but something is holding us back. And the collaboration between them two, that’s something you’ll continue to see. Robin Thicke is an incredible artist and Wayne already respected that. I think that’s a collaboration that you’ll always see from here on out whenever anyone of them puts an album out.

  • Rizob

    I wish somebody would leak that “Eat you alive” joint. the one with Ludacris. i need that

  • http://WWW.MYSPACE.COM/MC585 MC

    mR. cARTER IS A PROBLEM BUT WAYNE SHOULD HAVE gO HARDER ON HIS VERSES..cAUSE jAY-Z STR8T UP KILLED IT…

    • smell me

      mr carter was tight because of kanyes production not because of wack ass wayne. one

      • fool

        kanye didnt produce mr. carter

      • JE

        kanye didnt produce mr carter

        • tmr

          that would be just blaze

        • Spell Check

          actually, I’m looking at the credits now…and that would be “Drew” Correa…FYI

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=22211 MrPresident916

    Didnt even read tha article im fuckin sick of waynes bitch ass.. man kissing anotha man on tha lips who aint evern blood lookin gremlin ass nigga.. see i was a fan but xxl is killin me wit all tha fuckin wayne shit every day.. get of this niggas payroll and write about someone else..
    GO GET THAT NEW PLIES DEFINITON OF REAL.. AND ALSO DA REALEST ON DECMEBER 16 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rizob

      Damn, ignorance is bliss huh? And get the fuck outta here wit dat plies shit, that nigga rap like a sick baboon!

      • ko

        the new plies is way better than the wack carter 3…atleast plies doesnt rap like a crackhead midget called lil wayne

        • nellz

          yea he raps like a grown ass man witha 5th graders vocabulary…plies’ album isnt that bad tho.

  • HollyHood

    The carter 3 is dope besides the phone home! he took a different approach then his usually shit and its a good look for weezy and the SOUTH!!

  • Yo

    can you interview the janitor that worked in the studio too? maybe he can give us some insight also

    • deemar

      who ever said can interview the janitor>>> are you hater or what? what do you do thats so special????

  • geed’up

    this album is so versatile go cop that shit if you didnt already, C3 Baby.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Yo says:

    can you interview the janitor that worked in the studio too? maybe he can give us some insight also

    ^^^^^

    Hilarity.

  • Paulie

    Did Wayne give XXL $75,000 to 100,000 per day to suck his fuckin’ dick?? I can’t believe you’re writting so much shit about this insignificant prick!!!

    • Simba

      Damn! Paulie Shore on the website snappin, calm down

  • BIGT

    WELL WE WILL SEE WHO IS INSIGNIFICANT WHEN THE ALBUM SALES #’S COME OUT ON WEDNESDAY U DUMBASS. WAYNE IS KILLING THE GAME RIGHT NOW AND THATS WHY XXL IS COVERING HIM SO MUCH. FUK THA HATERS!

    • Paulie

      I know this whore is going #1 cuz all you douchebag teenage brainless bitches are gonna buy it! Still insignificant though!! Big sales don’t mean quality bitch ass motherfucker!!

      • Black

        According to bitch ass 50 it does

  • Bobby Son

    IMO Mr Carter wasnt really a lyrical slugfest between two greats. I think we do the song injustice when we state who killed who. This was bigger than that. This was Jay passin the torch! “As I share/Mic time/ wit my heir”!!!
    Come on guys, wake up, this was history! This is what this Hip Hop shit should be about, niggas respected different generations, puttin egos to the side and showing real love. Wow. Shit deep y’all. Wake up.

  • Pingback: XXLmag.com | Hip-Hop On A Higher Level | » Let’s Face It, The Carter 3 Is Just “Ok”

  • ThaRealBoiWonder

    Songs that are on the album and leaked songs which would have made this album a classic.

    Keep…
    3 Peat
    Mr. Carter
    A Milli
    Dr. Carter
    Tie My Hands
    Lollipop
    Let The Beat Build
    You Ain’t Got Nothin
    Playing With Fire
    Misunderstood

    Add…
    Need Some Quiet
    Trouble
    I’m Me (as the intro)
    I’m a Beast
    Love Me or Hate Me
    Gossip
    I Took Her

    (SMH) Only if these tracks never leaked..
    Sigh***

    • DevilintheFlesh

      Great List.

      I feel like Gossip (BET award performance) is waynes best song ever. I didnt like the way he recorded it though, sounded too calm.

      • nellz

        lol..u must be that new breed of lil wayne fan. gossip live best lil wayne song ever?…really?

  • tje009

    The dude who said that Plies is better then C3 is a retard!

  • 11KAP

    his name should be changed from “the best rapper alive” to the “only rapper alive”, the way you all are over-reporting him, like there are no other rappers in this world to talk about. give me a friggin break already with this little wayne yungin. I’m still not a critic, so fuck it.

  • corey

    When Cash Money first came out i did like Wayne as a rapper , but when i heard the The Carter I he was in my top ten, now i heard the the Carter III, its back to the same old feeling. I dont know maybe its just me, but isn’t ironic that after Gilly and Cash Money had a falling out the The Carter builing doesn’t seem to have the same foundation. But fuck what a nigga say!!! That nigga did 400k in one fucken day respect them numbers if you cant respect the product.

  • Ryan

    This Fabian guy is a piece of trash.

    Did anyone else notice that the mixing on Tha Carter III was downright awful?

    This album sounds so terrible in my car. On almost every song, this bass is ridiculously distorted. Elsewhere, it is not loud enough…with most albums, I turn my volume up to 18 to bump it – with the carter III i have to turn it up to 21 or 22 – I don’t know the technical term, but something is wrong here.

    Next time Wayne, get either Phil Tan, Jimmy Douglas or Marcella Araica to do your mix.

    On album of this caliber shouldn’t sound so awful.

    • http://xxl.com jsouth

      time to upgrade ya system homie

    • http://xxl deemar

      you sound so ignorant….if you dont know the “technical term” dont comment….you sound like a damn idiot!! maybe you need to listen to it elsewhere and not in ur piece of shit car..

    • Seeyaaround

      Reading through these comments is usually good for a laugh and this one definitely not lacking humor. You state you dont know the terminology then you name a few of Fabian’s colleagues. If you are gonna be a hater come out and hate dont try to hide it. First let me put you up some game if an entire album sounds too low or has too much bass then you should say whoever mastered the album didnt do such a good job. Now back to fabian check the credits homie fabian mixed more number one records as well as top tens last year then all three people you mentioned put together. You may be saying wow this guy is on fabian’s dick. To be honest i see fabian daily at the hit factory in miami pulling up in one of his incredible rides and just going to work, if you want to get a mix from him get on the waiting list (its about 3 months long). He is a great guy who is respectful as well as gives credit where its due and you wont hear him say a bad thing about anybody. So to sum it up i am a young intern at a studio and i am someone who daily strives to get in the room to even write a note down on something that fabian did on a song. so check yourself and your facts. p.s. incase you didnt know jimmy douglas mixed a record called elevator by florida and the label promptly had fabian remix it to perfection. and another record named cocoa baby on fat joes album was mixed by marcella and remixed by fabian. So have a nice day and keep hustling you will eventually get to where you want to be in your career you dont have to hate on someone who is killing the game.

      • Ryan

        garbage mix, garbage mix, garbage mix…you should have seen wayne at his san diego concert last week, everybody was looking at the in-house engineers and thought something was wrong, lol…even the chicks knew that something was up. The funniest part is that we were riding in my homies car last week – who has an amazing system – and my friend Mike asked my friend who’s car it was if there was something wrong with his speakers. You must have a terrible ear for music if you can’t tell that something is wrong…ex: listen to snoop’s recent album “ego trippin” (mixed mostly by dj quik) notice the sound quality, and then listen to carter 3…that’s sick that you’re an intern at the hit factory though…I used to intern at Atlantic, I worked on TI “king” and Juvenile “reality check”…hopefully i’ll get back there someday…holler at me, very few people out there to talk to about the mix of a hip-hop song, lol…

  • tired of wack rap cd`s

    c3 is total bullshit c2 is 10x`s better hell the dedication 2 (gangsta grillz) is better than this & 2 the cat that said its so versatile…..stop dick handling this nigga dropped a dud he need 2 go 2 rehab fab & juelz str8 murdered this nigga on his own shit not 2 mention what jay did… wayne reminds me of kurupt when all his rhymes started sounding like freestyles… anyway no matter how many 1st week sales he does this shit is wack & 1st week sales are only the ppl that been anticipating it.

    • Crispy Bacon

      that’s because you’re scared of evolution. wayne does 5-10 songs a day….but this album is complete. More r&b than I expected, but we can always count on that gutter Weezy shit from the mixtapes, his album is able to reach a wider audience. The mixtapes supply his core, the album takes care of everyone else. I like the album….

  • Plies

    “insignificant prick!!!”

    who sez prick?

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=22211 T.Z

    Not a classic but straight for the summer.

  • gramma gestapo

    XXL ever heard of paragraphs. Reading this is a guaranteed headache man.

  • 4Play

    a-millionaire im a young money millionaire,
    tougher than nigerian hair :-)

  • 4Play

    and there are paragraphs stupid fuck

  • http://yahoo.com drop1

    pass the mu’fuckn haterade! the album wasn’t wat i expected but still had some good shit on there. take the good wit the bad kids. just like kanye…late registration was a fckn classic then he droppd graduation and that shit fuckn suckd giv or take like 2 tracks outta how many…13 lmao

  • gramma gestapo

    yeah they fixed it you fucking spaz.

  • GOD

    “wayne reminds me of kurupt when all his rhymes started sounding like freestyles”

    Anyone who compares Weezy to Kurupt needs to be shot dead in the middle of the street.

  • ThaRealBoiWonder

    After throughly listening to the album front to back, I at first began to think that this album is good just not a classic. But after just “listening” to the album it is indeed better than I thought and it could be classified as a classic. No lie. It grows on u.

  • Young Block

    just because ur the only rapper that is winning at the moment does not make you the best rapper alive.the streets, the fans, and true hip hop heads have to appoint you the best rapper not yourself. wayne has had it easy since the TC1 there isn’t direct competiton for him to display his skills so technically he’s been appointed by default by little kids and adults who don’t really know the true meaning of hip hop or what makes a a rapper the best.

    wayne is the hottest no doubt but not the best

    if the the truth hurts… get so peroxide

  • crispy Bacon

    This album needs to be listened all the way thru at least three times to appreciate the creative and artistic expression…

  • avenger xl

    XXL please stop sucking lil Waynes Dick.

    1. This album is not a classic it is a typical lil wayne joint a little growth but not much. so if you like wayne great you get new material if you hate wayne great you got something to hate on.

    2. This kinda media makes ya’ll looke like th fox news of this rap shit. You pub every angle of this album as if it is the gospel or something like he changed the game with it. Wayne is just the right now rapper not the greatest rapper alive.
    3. I know he sales magazines like he sales records but try and show some shame fuckers. Jean Grey just dropped where is her interview. I hear Tech n9ne is doing something hot hell 50 is going to release terminate on site he sales mags too. Ya’ll are some pole jocking shameless bastards XXL I am glad I canceled my subscription.

    peace out

    FUCK Boys

  • KSA1001

    ThaRealBoiWonder says:

    Songs that are on the album and leaked songs which would have made this album a classic.

    Keep…
    3 Peat
    Mr. Carter
    A Milli
    Dr. Carter
    Tie My Hands
    Lollipop
    Let The Beat Build
    You Ain’t Got Nothin
    Playing With Fire
    Misunderstood

    Add…
    Need Some Quiet
    Trouble
    I’m Me (as the intro)
    I’m a Beast
    Love Me or Hate Me
    Gossip
    I Took Her

    (SMH) Only if these tracks never leaked..
    Sigh***

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    you would keep You Ain’t Got Nothin and not shoot me down?
    Shoot me down is my fav..plus Juelz verse on ain’t got nothin is the same as a “can’t feel my face” joint…”1st rule..never repeat it”

  • http://www.myspace.com.yungstorm yung storm

    i feel like dying
    get out
    prostitute fling
    pop dat pussy feat. cassidy
    burn this city feat twista
    gossip
    trouble
    did it before

    those tracks i liked more. but the album is fire. i’m happy for wayne he derserves all the accolades he gets. because wether you like him or not he’s making people talk about him. and that’s what hip hop is all about.

  • cjae

    how the fuck are you grown ass men sitting around hating on ppl doin shit with thye lives un til you niggas can get up off the futon and trade your food stamps for some actual money and get your won flashing lights women champaing pent houses chains whips and taking trips goin on tours in 15 million dollar tour busses then you can say soemthign util then your jsut stupid ignorant ass niggas talkin shit about sumbass topics that dont matter your opinion doesnt make a difference or have any significance this is too all the people hating on wayne by the way you cant compare wayne to plies plies doesnt sell what wayne sells plies is nice dont get me wrong but wayne is not the best ever ever he can touch jay no homo he cud battle jay if he wasnt drunk like he was on hot 97 i bet he cud touch jay if they had a battle jay even said hes a ver very talented young rapper this was before carter 3 i loved the carter 3 except he degraded women in some ways liek he kept sayign hoe he said i dont listen to a lady shit liek tht. tht pissed me off a lil but the ebst rappers right now are definetely common kanye nas lil wayne jay z lupe this is my opinion my opinion actually will ahve some people who agree with me and unliek some peoples it ahs some thought and some intelligence behind it but we haters hate niggas with money look down on them and laugh and if it was me up there id spit on them or make it ”rain” on them cuz thats what haters do they try rain on the winners parade but w.e the only thign is the winners have some support haters aint got shit they just have hate to kepp em going and hate never sleeps and haters are quick to judge

  • http://MYSPACE.COM/JEALOUSYEARNED BRYAN SILVESTONE

    THANKS TO THE MAN ABOVE I WAS ON STAGE WITH WAYNE AND WAS IN THE VIP CHANGIN ROOM BE4 THE CONCERT AND ON THE BALCONY DURING AND THE STAGE AND FABIAN IS WHO THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DONT TAKE HIS WORDS OUT AN TAKE THEM OUTTA CONTEXT THIS MAN IS MAKIN MONEY PROVIDING FOR THE FAMILY HE JUST STARTED THIS IS WHAT HE LOVES THIS IS WHAT HE DOES AND WHAT U DONT REALIZE THIS MAN PROBABLY MIXED YOUR FAVORITE RECORD BET MONEY ON IT SHIT I AINT GOT THE MONEY BUT ID BET MY TOWNHOUSE