Buckwild: Still Diggin’

As a founder of the D.I.T.C. crew, Buckwild has been producing some of rap’s most memorable songs for over a decade, underground and commercial. Whether it was the soulful strings of Game’s “Like Father, Like Son,” the hard drums of Sadat X’s “The Lump Lump” or the hypnotic rhythm of Black Rob’s “Whoa,” Buckwild has proven that he is one of the few beatmakers to get respect from both sides of the game.

Fearing that rap will become extinct if it remains in its current state, Buck looks to the new generation of MC’s, like Saigon and Papoose, to resurrect Hip-Hop from its creative graveyard. To prove his point, he’s already slated to produce tracks for both of them in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the Bronx beat-conductor shares the ingredients to some of his hits through the years:

Notorious B.I.G.

"I Got A Story To Tell"

O.C. "Time’s

Up"

Kool G Rap featuring Nas

"Fast

Life"

AllHipHop.com: What do you think about Dusty Fingers? A lot of producers use that compilation series to sample from and build their tracks. As a member of D.I.T.C, I’ve always wanted to hear an opinion on the series from a crate-digger’s perspective?

Buckwild: Dusty Fingers is killing the game because it’s giving away all the secrets that we go all around the world for, and puts it on a compilation for $12.99. If that’s how you wanna eat, that’s one thing. Most of the new producers have no concept of digging anyway. But, at the same time, once you give everybody the same record, that doesn’t make the record special anymore. It’s sad because these are all the things we’re fighting against to keep the game alive. The game is dying slowly.

AllHipHop.com: What makes you say that?

Buckwild: New York is dead. It’s the one-artist saturation thing: Whoever’s hitting it at one time runs the whole game. There’s no diversity. The classic time for Hip-Hop was ’94 and ’95 when you had ten different artists running the game. You had Wu-Tang, Nas, Mobb Deep, Biggie, Puffy, A Tribe Called Quest. You had mad different flavors because no two artists were the same. Now you have everybody that sounds the same. You have exceptions like Kanye, Outkast, and Common, but too many people are tired of the B.S. that’s coming out. We are definitely missing that artistry, producer and rapper-wise, and a lot of artists haven’t been discovered yet. When these artists start to surface, we’re going to have a renaissance and there’s going to be a big change in the game. We just gotta let it die.

AllHipHop.com: What I want to do now is list a couple of songs you’ve produced and break them down from a beat perspective. I want readers to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they were created.

Buckwild: Okay.

AllHipHop.com: The first one is “Time’s Up” by O.C. Was the Slick Rick hook added before or after the rest of the track?

Buckwild: [O.C.] had the idea for the chorus. He had the whole song already. When you’re working with a guy like O, they already have a vision for the song because they have that artist’s perspective. They just need a canvas to paint it on, so when the beat came around, he was like “I got my verses, I got the chorus.” [The beat] was all that was needed.

AllHipHop.com: What about “I Gotta Story to Tell” by Notorious B.I.G off of Life After Death?

Buckwild: Biggie had three beats to choose from. One of them was one that The Lox wanted also. That record ended up having sample clearance issues, and never came out. Then I come to find out that he chose the one to “I Got a Story to Tell.” Biggie was a dude that thinks about his lyrics first, no matter what. With the concept and everything he was like, “Cool, I could rock with that.”

AllHipHop.com: Being from Queens, “Fast Life” by Kool G. Rap and Nas is one of my favorite tracks of yours. What was the direction you wanted to take with this song?

Buckwild: A song like that is “chasing a hit.” It’s out of character to loop up [‘80s R&B group] Surface” but it was something that his label wanted to do and it just ended up being a record with Nas. They came up with the chorus and both did their verse on the first day. Then on the second day, I had them come back and record the last verse, making sure [both of their] verses were tight. This is what I mean by producing a song. You take a guy like Nas, who is lyrically incredible, and most dudes wouldn’t know how to critique him or even produce him. I don’t think he would listen to a lot of guys who are producing out here anyway. Whatever I felt he had a flaw in, or could do better, or say in a different way, I would tell him. If he respects you, then he respects your opinion and he’s going to ask you for it.

AllHipHop.com: Do you remember what you told him?

Buckwild: Man, listen, after doing X amount of records, I can’t remember too much. But there’s records that I have stories with. Take “Rude Boy Salute” that I did for Terror Squad’s first album, where it was Big Pun, Fat Joe and Buju Banton. I had to make Pun come back at two o’clock in the morning to do his verse on the final mix, because the engineer didn’t really know how to record Pun’s vocals. The only engineer that knew how to record Pun’s vocals is my man Duro. Before I called Pun back, everyone was like “Pun’s not gonna change his verse. He said it sounds good like that.” But, I called him at two o’clock in the morning and said “Yo, old boy, this s**t don’t really sound right. I know you don’t want to put it out like this, could you come down and redo your verse?” Pun said “No problem,” and he came down and he knocked it out. That was that. I notice the difference from being a beat maker and being a producer. It’s a big difference.

AllHipHop.com: I want you to school people on your biggest record, “Whoa,” by Black Rob. A lot of people don’t know you were the producer behind it.

Buckwild: That record is what I would call a gift and a curse. It was a beat that no one wanted, and everybody thought it was too slow, and wouldn’t work in the clubs. But you never know what will happen until you make the record. That’s a curse that a lot of people don’t understand. I made a Redman record the other day, and I heard Jay came in and said, “[It] was dope, but he needs a ‘Whoa.’” You don’t know what a record’s gonna do until it comes out. The people are the ones that make the records big, not the executives. [The gift is that] I’ve been blessed. Being able to be on Gold and Platinum albums is definitely a blessing.

AllHipHop.com: After working with Biggie, Nas, 50, Pun, Fat Joe and Game, who haven’t you worked with that you want to make a song with?

Buckwild: Underground cats. I need people who want to come in and challenge the beats as opposed to me making the beat to challenge them. I’m tired of people who just need a beat from me. I need it where it’s 50% me and 50% them.

AllHipHop.com: Do people approach you with demo tapes?

Buckwild: They do, and I listen. Working with guys like Biggie, Jay-Z and Pun is another gift and a curse, because being in a studio with those guys makes you look for the same things in the tapes that you listen to. It’s hard. There’s nobody on Biggie’s, Jay-Z’s, or Nas’ level that’s even out. The brightest stars that we got is Papoose and Saigon. I’ve been hearing about this kid, Balance. I want to hear what he got, but, really, I’m trying to keep my ear to the ground to see who’s who.

AllHipHop.com: I’m going to name a couple breaks and I want to hear what you think about them, and I want to know if you think they’re overrated or not. The first one is Bob Azzam’ “Rain, Rain, Go Away.”

Buckwild: Well, I introduced the break, so…[laughs] It’s on The Artifacts’ “C’Mon Wit Da Git Down Remix” and [Mic Geronimo’s] “Masta I.C.” It’s a bit overrated, you’re right, and the money the dealers want for this record is astronomical.

Allhiphop.com: I heard Prince Be from PM Dawn paid $700 for it…

Buckwild: You gotta be kidding me. I paid three bucks for it! [laughs] These dudes are worse than the record labels now. S**t, for $700, I could have sold him mine! [laughs]

AllHipHop.com: I’m gonna throw you Skull Snaps’ “It’s a New Day.” I wanna hear what you think of that.

Buckwild: Come on, now. That’s an all-time classic break that you really won’t find. [9th Wonder] said the other day, “I don’t know nobody that has the original.” I got the original. I ain’t even gonna front, I got it at the Roosevelt Record show for $100 [laughs]. If I’m not mistaken, I think I might have two.

AllHipHop.com: Hook me up with one.

Buckwild: [silence]

AllHipHop.com: Just kidding.

Buckwild: [laughs]. What’s ill is that I seen one at Sound Library around five or six months ago sitting on a wall for $150. That’s not bad for a record you can’t find. I came back a week later, and it was gone. I knew that wasn’t going to stay there long.

AllHipHop: What about Melvin Bliss’ “Synthetic Substitution”?

Buckwild: That’s the classic all-time break. Are you talking about the official one or the re-pressed bootleg one with the same label? [laughs] If you could catch that, you’ll pay whatever for it. I got that and the original [Honeydrippers’] “Impeach the President.” I’m an original dude, man. I don’t really do reissues, so most of the records that I got are the official ones. My favorite David Axelrod album is Songs of Experience and the second one is Earth Rot. It’s a dope album that you can just listen to, music-wise. The way I do beats, now, is from listening to [Axelrod]; I hear the progression of the way everything changes and I want to work with dudes who could help make that happen. He was dope as a producer and arranger. I’m trying to get a chance to rock with him. You can’t f**k with his sound. If he was producing today, he would be the one dude that could produce rap records.

AllHipHop.com: I want to build on that and ask you about your opinion of Puffy. What do you think about him as a producer?

Buckwild: PD, Mister Producer extrodinaire. He showed me and a lot of other dudes what a producer really is. He showed the part of production that most dudes never really knew, like, when you’re coming in and not even touching the drum machine. You’re shooting ideas like, “Yo, this needs to be like this,” and “No, you gotta do this like this.” He showed that part of production that dudes never really knew: You thought just because you made beats, you’re the producer? You’re not.

AllHipHop.com: It came out in the news recently that you and several other artists and producers have a lawsuit against him for royalties owed.

Buckwild: Alright. Let’s set this straight: There’s no lawsuit that’s out against Puff.

AllHipHop.com: Okay, what is it?

Buckwild: The only things that’s going on is that dudes haven’t been paid on a few albums. So, Warner Brothers is getting their books updated so everyone can get paid. I think what probably happened was, in the time that he left Arista, a lot of people weren’t getting their statements from that point on. [For me], it’s my part of Life After Death, part of Life Story and any albums that came out after that. It’s residuals. It’s just a matter of Warner Brothers getting everything updated so everyone can get paid what they’re supposed to. Knowing Warner Brothers, it should be finished in the next few months.

AllHipHop.com: That’s what’s up. What are you working on now?

Buckwild: Let’s see, almost everything’s that out now: Redman, Saigon, Papoose told me they got a record, Snoop, Fat Joe. We gotta cover what we got so we don’t lose this thing, man. Keep Hip-Hop alive and give it resuscitation, so it don’t keep dying slowly.

Related Stories