Eight years passed between Chronic and 2001, so you’re not that late yet.
Right. And I’ve got a few classic albums in between that with Em and 50.
When you first announced Detox did you think it would take this long?
Absolutely not. I thought it would take at worst case a couple of years. For example, actual work time on The Chronic was nine months and actual work time on my last album, 2001, was about 10 months. The actual work time on this album is about half of that, where I’m seriously focusing on it. There is always something coming up. Like signing talent, old and new.
Looking at your signings of artists like Raekwon, Rakim and Marsha Ambrosius, are you just a hard boss or did it just not work out?
I’d say it’s a little bit of both. I’m a perfectionist on one hand. I always say talent gets you in the building but whether our personalities mesh, that’s an entire different thing. I have fun when I’m working. It’s not a job for me. And I’m in a position where I really don’t have to do it if I don’t want to. So it has to feel right. When you get in the studio with an artist, the personalities have to mesh. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with my personality or theirs, it’s just: Do they work together or not? That seems to be a factor. All of the artists that I started working with and we didn’t finish, we’re still cool. It’s just a matter of this thing doesn’t work together. The ones that do work together, ka-boom. You see the results.
What did you think of the final product of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx . . . Pt. II?
I loved that “House of Flying Daggers.” [Laughs.] It came out good. I thought it could have been promoted a little better and I think there may have been too many songs. But that’s my opinion. Raekwon is one of the greatest.
J Dilla produced “House of Flying Daggers.” Did you get to meet him before he died?
Yeah, I met him at a studio out here and we chopped it up for about half an hour. Coolest dude. Talented. I just wish I’d had a chance to work with him.
Is there anyone else out there you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to?
Of course, the next new artist I can get in the studio with and make something great. I don’t necessarily have an urge to work with established artists. Like working with Mary J. Blige, that was returning a favor. Other than that, I only want to work with new talent, new producers. People that want to learn and I can learn from.
Speaking of new talent, a young lady saying she was your daughter went on YouTube with a song called “Daddy’s Shadow” saying that you won’t help her with her recording career.
[Laughs.] I’m not gonna get into that. Not gonna talk about the family.
Talk about the relationship you have with 50 Cent and some of your other artists.
Everything is cool. I haven’t spoken to 50 in a long time. He’s doing his own thing right now. Hopefully we’ll get to work together again in the future but I think he’s working on movies. As far as everybody else goes, I’m here. Everybody knows I’m working on my own thing. Once that’s done, holla at me.
At the ASCAP Awards did you have any idea Eminem was going to be presenting?
No idea. They told me it was going to be a surprise guest to present me with the award but I didn’t even waste any brain power trying to figure it out. That was incredible and the thing that he said was incredible. Being around guys like Em, I know how they feel about about me and they know how I feel about them, but hearing it in that forum feels incredible. It’s inspiring and it lets me know that everything that I’ve done is appreciated.
It looked kind of like a reunion on stage. Do you guys see each other much?
We’d actually just saw each other an hour before for the VIBE photo shoot. Before that it had been a few months or so. We don’t get to talk that often, but when we do see each other it’s just like we saw each other yesterday.
How do you feel about winning VIBE’s Greatest Hip-Hop Producer of All Time tournament?
It was crazy because I just happened to be in New York promoting the Diddybeats and they approached me at Best Buy and I didn’t know anything about the contest or that I’d won and I was like, “Really?” I went home and saw who I was up against. I was like “whoa.” These are some of my favorite producers. I never looked at it like my shit don’t stink or I’m the best at what I do. I just go in and do my thing. I have my favorites out there also, but don’t get me wrong—I’m glad it went to me. [Laughs.] It’s always an incredible feeling, especially to be considered No. 1. The best that ever did it? What the fuck!