“Hold You Down”
With “Hold You Down,” how did those years kind of transition? Where had you guys gotten to in terms of your personal relationship?
P: We was on tour together a lot and we was just in Al’s crib a lot working, studio and soundtrack working. Us, we work every day—Mobb Deep, Alchemist, we in the studio every day working on music. That’s our life, we don’t do nothing else. Make music, smoke weed, drink a little bit, maybe party a couple hours in the club, and then go right back to the studio making beats. So it was at that point with “Hold You Down,” we was just in the crib and I remember Al playing me that shit. I was like “Yo, that’s ill right there yo.” And I just started writing. I wrote that song right there in his crib—my verse rather.
A: After years of doing music it was like the whole crew [was] kinda just an extended family, cause I was living in New York and I’m from LA. It was even to the point where I would feel comfortable to even put words on the beat next to P, you know what I mean, it was like the best ever. I rapped as a kid, but I definitely made my name as a producer. So once I moved out here I was hanging around with Twin and certain people and every now and then I would lay a verse or mess around. But even to feel comfortable enough for it to even get to that level? It was like, “Alright, go ahead say your verse on it too, it’ll fit,” you know what I mean. That was a big step for me.
The whole way it became a record, like he said, we were just doing songs in the crib; it wasn’t like it was like a First Infantry session. That one day, I have footage of that. I remember looking recently at what food we were eating when we were at the table. Like, “What was that food we were eating,” trying to see the formula of how to make a hot [song], you know what I mean? [Laughs] Like, maybe it was that or oh, okay, we ordered from Café Cubano that day so… But I think at the end of the day it was just a moment where we were just in the zone, even the way I hooked that beat up.
You know, Jay-Z and Just [Blaze] had already done that joint [Al Kooper’s “Love Theme] and I don’t think it was the serious time when P and J were going like this [claps] but I think it was a competitive time. And I remember playing the loop, and we were going through some loops and I was like “Yo, what if I flipped it?” You know, Just is my friend, one of the best also, and I remember thinking, “Man, there might be a way we could flip it and chop it differently.” To me, nobody owns a loop, and if you could do it differently and creatively that’s ill, so I think it was partly us trying be competitive too. Like, “let’s see how we gonna do this differently.” And I remember when I was making the beat P was sitting right there, “Nah, put the down [beat] back in on the four,” you know, he kinda co-produced the beat. If you watch the footage, P is like “Nah nah do that right there,” and then when he was saying a rhyme to me I was just doing the kicks live, just to get the feeling of it.
P: Yeah, I just be going with the feeling like, if I got a ill flow to it, I’ll tell Al something like, “Yo put this here, it’ll make the rhyme sound better.”
A: Right right. He called it on that one, too. Then once we put it together and it just turned into what it did, I wasn’t thinking like, “yo, this gonna be a single,” or nothing like that.