Chucky Thompson Says Nas' "One Mic" Was A Calculated Step Away From Beef With Jay-Z
At a time of diss records dominating media cycles, Hitmen producer Chucky Thompson reveals how he and Nas envisioned "One Mic" from a Phil Collins sample and a unique verse-to-chorus transition.
Producer Chucky Thompson has crafted hits such as The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa" and Faith Evans' "You Used To Love Me," but one of his biggest solo creations is Nas' 2001 smash hit, "One Mic." Thompson, who was a longtime member of Bad Boy Records' Hitmen production team (also including Diddy, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie, and Ron "Amen Ra" Lawrence, among others), recently spoke to TheUberUrban about Stillmatic's third single.
"'One Mic' was a situation that was during a time that [Nas] was in the beef with Jay-Z," said Thompson of the 2001 song that would be formally released to radio and video 11 years ago last month. "I knew that that beef wasn't gonna last forever. My whole thing was, 'Okay, so what do we do after this whole beef is over? How do we come out of this?'" Thompson recalls being specifically sought out for Stillmatic's production roster which included Illmatic originals DJ Premier, Large Professor and L.E.S., along with Ron Browz and Swizz Beatz. "It was my first meeting with Nas. We just sat and talked about that situation where you feel you're gettin' ready to fight or gonna have to get ready to defend somethin', what's that record that would calm you down? We both said it was [Phil Collins'] 'In The Air Tonight.'" In turn, "One Mic" would sample Collins' 1981 hit single. Chucky continued, "He mentioned to me that he wanted to make a record where the chorus was quiet [laughing] and that verses would rise. So me taking those two ideas, I just came up with something that was calm and built up a little bit in the verses and then go back calm for his chorus."
Although built out of an extension from beef, honed by musical conversations, Thompson says he never imagined the song's cross-over appeal. "I didn't think nothin' of it; we were just bein' creative. Next thing I know I'm in a strip club in Queens, and they cut all the lights out and the strippers had on neon."
Chucky Thompson's full UberUrban interview is below:
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