Guest Star: "Puffy Might Have You Write The Same Verse 12 Times, He's Gonna Push You" -Diddy's Ghostwriter
Friday, Jun 11, 2010 6:00PM
When writing for Diddy, he just wants your best. The way Diddy works, I've been honored to work with artists of an iconic status such as him, even to be able to sit in there and watch how he puts it together. Puffy might have you write the same verse 12 times, he's gonna push you to the brink to make sure that was your best.
When I first started working with him, as a rapper you feel like you're killing it, you know, you're like, "I bodied this!" But then after you really analyze it and really go through it, because the first record I did for him was "Satisfy You" with him and R. Kelly. And that was like 2000, that record right there took its time, it took me four attempts at the record to get the record where he likes it but the funny thing is, I sent the record to J. Lo before I sent it to him and then J. Lo was like, "Oh my god." And that's where I kinda knew because she ran and got him and brought him in and he was like, "What up, what up?" And she was like, "Say it again." And I said my rhyme and I didn't even record it, I did it live and he said, "Yo, that was incredible, your verse was incredible."
But over the years of working with him on different records, he's pushed me lyrically to take it to whatever level I gotta get to. Like, don't let it all get in my head. Some people think they're so hot that they won't listen. "I bodied that, I bodied that." He'll make you sit in the room for hours and hours and days listening to the same track. It ain't no joking around like, you're only gonna get that one beat and you gotta finish that off and take it to the next one and I embrace the track every time.
I met Lil Kim through Diddy. I knew Diddy first and I met Kim after, through a friend of mine. And Diddy flew me to the Bahamas to work on the Forever album and when I got out there, he had everybody out there and Kim was working on Notorious K.I.M, and Lil Cease and everybody was out there. It was all kinds of writers and people doing all types of projects. Me and Kim were way cool.
I helped her doing 'Queen Bee 2.' When we met doing that record, that was actually a record for Diddy and they started to end up doing it together and I helped Diddy with his verses. Kim heard and said, "Son, you got skills." We got cool from there. You don't write for Kim, there's a difference. Diddy will give you the idea but he's not a rapper. It's different for him, but Kim, she actually writes. She writes rhymes, like Kim writes raps. It's not like you can walk in and Kim is just waiting for your help. That's not how it goes.
The thing about her is if she respects your talent that much and knows you're with her team, you know you're gonna have your opinion be heard and she might start off with the hook, but if you got a couple things that are crazy, she might consider it. I was just lucky to have some of my opinions get respected by Kim and used. I'm a producer, so my whole thing is I come in with a whole idea. Like, I come in with the hook, beat, the concept of the record and I rap. So I might have the record done and then play the song, so I've just been blessed that people respect what I do.
Mista Raja is a renowned rapper/producer/ghostwriter who has helped pen hits for Lil Kim on Notorious K.I.M. and with Diddy's Press Play, Forever releases.