“This album was harder because that was just the times in the early ‘90s. It was Onyx, Death Row…just hard material coming out. It seemed like the direction to go in. But it just happened naturally. At that time, I was hanging out with Lin Que and all the guys we were managing. It was just that kind of [aggressive] energy. ‘Ruffneck’ came together when Sylvia Rhone (Influential music executive and former CEO and vice president at Elektra Records and Universal Music Group) sent me down to Virginia to work with Teddy Riley and his team of people. He had already chosen some tracks that he wanted me to do some things on.
We were just sitting around talking and they played the ‘Ruffneck’ track. And we were thinking, ‘Okay, what can make an impact?’ I started talking about having something that gives tribute to West Indians because I grew up around that culture. Someone brought up Apache’s ‘Gangsta Bitch.’ I thought it would be dope to give an ode to the ruffneck in the ‘hood. And ruffneck happened to be a term that was used in West Indian culture. It was the feel that New York was going through.
Teddy was great. They call them super producers for a reason because they deliver. Their process is very different from just a regular beat maker. Teddy plays close attention to every detail. That’s what makes the best of anything even if you are a gardener outside taking care of the grounds. Nothing was spared with Teddy. He’s very meticulous and rightfully so when you have a name like his.
Once I came out with ‘Ruffneck’ Al Haymon, who was the huge tour promoter at that time and was the promoter for those previous hip-hop tours, had switched to R&B. I was able to see the difference between how hip-hop artists were treated vs. R&B acts when I went on the Budweiser tour with Guy, SWV, Keith Sweat and BBD. I was like, ‘Oh man…they got different food [laughs]. They have couches in the dressing room.’ It was a whole other world. (‘Ruffneck’ went on to become one of MC Lyte’s biggest commercial hits going gold.)