I was at high school when hip-hop was in full swing in the early 90’s. That was really when my first record came out, an album by an R&B singer named Nate Dogg titled Niggaz Wit Hoodies. That was in the summer of ’92.
How did the project end up on your hands?
When I wrote “All the Way up,” I felt like the most appropriate name because I was just so frustrated that no one on the group was the one from where I grew up, the one that I looked up to. In that moment, I was like, “I know a thing or two about Niggaz From Brooklyn.” So I called up my older brother, who was a producer for N.W.A, and he wrote the hook.
The first track I wrote in the studio, the hook, was like “F— Niggaz From Brooklyn.” And it kind of stuck. Then the next track was “P.I.C.,” and that was the name of the record.
What’s the origin story for those hooks?
I had just come out of a rehab and my father was having some issues because of that, and he was in and out of rehab. He was using drugs and all that. It was one of those situations where he would be so sick and then he would be really depressed and then he was really sick. He would get really violent and violent episodes. I remember that I was scared to be around him and didn’t want to say anything, because he had done this many times before and I was scared that would happen again.
So I made a call to him and he said, “Let me know if my son does something to you,” and I just laughed. I just couldn’t believe that I would be afraid for my man. I’m like, “Listen, you are going to take a bullet for me. I’m going to do whatever you want.” So he didn’t take the hit. Instead he came out in some fashion and the next week, everybody was playing my music and saying, “Y’all did a good job.”
And, of course, my brother, the producer, played me “All The Way Up.”
So he knew who I was from when I was 14?
So that’s when we started?
Well, we all got together and we all hit it off. I was a
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