“I was on the best rap label in hip-hop—Loud Records. You had Mobb Deep, Big Pun, and the Wu-Tang Clan as your label mates? Being around that type of hip-hop just fuels and influences you and makes you want to go make good music. And that’s what happened with Soul Survivor. I didn’t have revenge on my mind. People talk, but I talk with my hands.
‘Tru Master’ was one of those songs. It was my idea to put Kurupt and Inspectah Deck on the same track. I always loved Deck. And Kurupt and I had some history from the early ‘90s and I always wanted to work with him. I had a lot of help from a guy named Chris LaMonica that was working for Loud Records. He helped me recruit a lot of the artists for Soul Survivor. But I already had a lot of the artists in mind.
‘Verbal Murder 2’ (feat. Big Pun, Noreaga and Common) was all about hip-hop spitters…testing your skills…can you climb an oily wall? When you listen to that song those guys are murdering that shit. ‘Strange Fruit’ was also great because of Tragedy…that guy right there was one of the illest rappers. He was ahead of his time when he first started with Marley Marl. As time went on, Tragedy really came into himself as an MC. It was all about that Queensbridge style…that street corner mentality.
There were other artists I was trying to get for Soul Survivor that didn’t happen. I never got the chance to work with LL Cool J. Then there was Jay-Z. I used to chase Jay around forever [laughs]. I used to hang out at certain sessions with Just Blaze at Baseline. We always wanted to work with each other, but it never happened until years later. I love the fact that people call Soul Survivor a classic. Everybody is entitled to make a bad album here and there. But the good ones really stand out.”