Nice to hear him talk about working with Dre, his recording technique, how Em would only do one take for a whole song. How he didn’t know how to punch in. Recording to tape. Ah yes, the good old days of the music business, before Pro Tools and the internet put a nail in its coffin.
You gotta fast forward about an hour and fifteen minutes in before Cipha starts talking to him about his own production. Couple excerpts….
On producing Nas’ “Carry The Cross”:
I believe I sent him a beat CD. And he picked that beat and then we only had 1 day. I remember there being 1 day to like add music to it, basically produce it…. He was real close to his release date. If I could go back, I know I would have probably wanted to put more music in the track, but time was limited. I just sent him pretty much whatever I had at the time. That’s usually what I do for anybody I produce a record for.”
On producing 50 Cent’s “Patiently Waiting”:
I had sent 50 just the basic [beat]…. I don’t think Fif understood exactly how I produced the beats. And this was from just watching Dre. Dre would have the jist of the beat and then he would add most of the shit after somebody laid the verse. And that’s kind of how I worked. I was trying to explain to him it was a skeleton beat.
On producing “Runnin” (Dying To Live) for Biggie and Pac:
I got the acapellas. We used an Edgar Winter sample. I wanted that song to have an impact… just the music alone. For rap music, for music to claim a life, or lives, that’s when it gets ridiculous to me. And I wanted to make the power of that song like it was a beef they had that should not have been taken that far. I believe the tempos were a little different so we had to match each line with the tempo. Me being such a fan of both of them, I kind of knew where the down beat was.
On producing Jay-Z’s “Moment of Clarity”:
I actually met with him in New York and I played him basically what I had, what I had been working on. He picked that one. We ended up going back to Detroit, he sent it to me. I wasn’t there while he recorded it but he sent it to me pretty much that same week. I don’t know if I was really feeling that beat until he put words to it. Then all of a sudden it became this… Jay-Z has that ability to take things that, you don’t think the beat is good if you just hear the beat. But once he puts words to it it becomes this whole other… It made me feel exactly what he was saying. There was a couple lines that I even went in the booth and did ad libs on because I felt like the lines were so powerful.
My loyal readers know I made a point in the past of saying Em should go back to working with other producers. I firmly stand by that statement, although I do appreciate what he does. He’s at least creative and tries to be musical, whether he’s actually playing the instruments or not.
I like how he says, “I always do the basic [beat]. My mindframe [is] like this, why put so much into a beat if nobody’s gonna pick it? Why sit there and work on it for 2 hours if nobody’s gonna pick it?”