The Chicago-reared producer and Executive Vice President of A&R at Def Jam spoke to Complex about his new job, his contributions to Jay and ‘Ye’s 2011 album and, interestingly enough, the negative impact Nas’ debut album has…
In the 2000s there were a lot of records where you had to get a big name guy for your single or else it didn’t really work out for you.
Yeah. I always joke with Nas and tell him it’s his fault, that Illmatic caused a problem. Before that, when I started doing music, there wasn’t a concept of, “I could work on a Public Enemy album,” or an Ice Cube album, or A Tribe Called Quest, or Gang Starr. It was a closed issue. You didn’t submit a beat to Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth.
When Nas didn’t have a DJ-producer in his set-up, he reached out to some of the better people and they respected him enough to work on it. That was the, “Oh wow. You can work with these guys?” Then you had Puff put together The Hitmen and have success, and I think that’s when it turned into, “Well, using a lot of people might work better.”