Busta Rhymes Reflects on the Making of “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” Track and Video

Busta Rhymes’s “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” remains one of the most colorful and creative singles and videos that hip-hop has ever seen. After releasing his ninth studio album, Year of the Dragon, earlier in the week, XXL asked the Cash Money rapper to reflect on the making of his smash single 15 years later. Here, Busa Buss talks about how the record came about and why he patterned the video around Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America.

“At the time I recorded that song in 1997, it was at Soundtrack Studios, 936 Broadway between 20th and 21st [Streets]. I had a road manager at the time, whose name was Fab. He was staying in Queens by some homie’s crib that I actually started with when I was with Leaders of the New School. It was a brother named Shamello, who used to rhyme and his partner’s name was Buddah. His DJ was named the Epitome of Scratch Grand Cut…we used to call him Pit for short. The niggas were making beats; Shamello stopped fucking with the rhyme shit and got into production. So, when the nigga Fab heard the beat, he lost his mind. He told them niggas that they need to bring that beat to me right now. He brings the beat to the studio and right off the top, I lost my muthafuckin’ mind. I was so happy with the nigga Fab bringing that beat through that I told the nigga, ‘Go in the booth after I finish writing and spitting and you’re gonna do the P. Diddy to it.’ At the time, Diddy had all the ad-libs. So, the nigga you hear in the intro like, ‘Flipmode, 9-7′, that’s Fab, the road manager. So, he goes and he does that and it’s super exciting. We know we’re going with this record as the first single. At the time, the method was you throw out a leaked record first on some B-side shit, when they do A and B-sides, the 12-inches, and then you get your buzz up and then come with the single. Well, we didn’t have to do that. We knew…this shit was so crazy that we didn’t need no buzz record. ‘Let’s just go!’ So, when we were mixing the record, the TV in the studio is on, but no sound is coming out. So, when we were mixing the song, Mobb Deep was in one room. We were in the other room. We mixing the song and Coming to America came on…no audio. So, when you mix records—sometimes it’s an eight, nine-hour process to mix the record properly—the movie was playing the whole time with different scenes. The record sounded like some African shit and the movie was some African shit. I bugged out when I looked at that shit. I said, ‘Nigga, I’m going to call Hype [Williams]. So, I called Hype and I told Hype that, ‘I want to do Coming to America all over and I want to be the Eddie Murphy nigga. I’m gonna send you this song and you gon’ understand why I’m telling you this shit.’ So, I sent Hype the record and we started speaking back and forth about what scenes I wanted to do, what scenes I don’t want to do and he told me what scenes I might want to do. We did it and that was it. It remains one of the most historical moments in hip-hop today. That video was $800,000, maybe $900,000. We shot that shit in a municipal building Downtown [Manhattan in New York City], actually the one on the corner of Chambers and Centre Street. It took three, four days to shoot. To this day, it’s one of my favorite songs and videos. —As told to Mark Lelinwalla