When ‘Cold Rock A Party’ became [a huge pop hit] for me, I just felt like, ‘Shit…rightfully so…I worked hard for this.’ That song sold 2.5 million records internationally, which was the most for me. I think I did 1.5 million with ‘Keep On Keepin’On’ before that. But with ‘Cold Rock…’ that was another dimension. I remember Puffy (who produced the single ‘Cold Rock A Party,’ which featured a then upcoming Missy Elliot) calling me on my cell like, ‘Yo, this song is bananas! We have to do this kind of mix and that kind of mix. Yo, hit Sylvia on the phone right now!’ Puffy was trying to explain to Sylvia Rhone why every mix for every type of club had to be done. He was super excited about that song.
I was familiar with Missy Elliot prior to her working with me on ‘Cold Rock A Party.’ She had already worked with SWV, Gina Thompson and Total. But I first knew Missy from Jodeci when I heard her guest appear on one of their records. I don’t think Jodeci even gave her credit. It was always a mystery to who she was. I was already thinking she was one to watch. But Missy actually didn’t show up to the studio the first two times that we booked her. After the second time I called Puffy like, ‘Yo, what’s the problem? Does she not want to do it?’ He was like, ‘Nah, she wants to do it. She’s coming…trust me.’
When I got to the studio Missy was there. She had already laid down her verse, the harmonies and the hook. She’s just like Puffy. They get the bigger picture in terms of the track. I was crazy excited. We did a bunch of shows together and the video was great. We had a great time with that collaboration. But there were a lot of games being played in terms of me being able to lend support to her on the day of Missy’s first video shoot. She asked me to come, but the record label had me going to Boston to perform for a radio station that would later give Keith Sweat an ad. These are the types of games that were played back then. I didn’t really get the chance to show Missy my appreciation beyond words and gratitude.
Before ‘Keep On Keepin’ On,’ I always wanted to work with Jermaine Dupri since 1992 when they asked me to do the Kriss Kross tour. But at that time, Jermaine was giving a lot of attention to Da Brat. He wanted her to win. Jermaine was the first person to give me a feature, which was on an Xscape song called ‘Can’t Hang.’ It really felt good to be respected in that way.”