Studio Campfire Stories: ‘ManMade’ Edition – “Making Time” (feat. Phonte and Choklate)

Phonte+phfe

“Making Time” was the LAST piece of music I completed for the ManMade album. It came at perfect time too… I was at a place where I was really happy with the output and the songs that were completed for the album already, but I felt that it needed just ONE more undeniable joint for me to be 100% pleased with it. So in mid-January, I went into the studio while feeling an absolute MESS. I can remember walking in there with the chills… and I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was sipping on a grapefruit and ginger concoction that I had just juiced and the heavy ginger root content was burning the shit out of my mouth and throat ….so I figured it was working. Despite my feverish symptoms, I wanted to go to work with a totally new approach, just in case this was, in fact, the last song for the album. The first thing I did was grab some records and sampled all new drums. New drums in the arsenal usually means, new feel… or even a refreshed feel as a producer. All types of newness can come out when you feel refreshed in the studio. What ended up being created that day was an instrumental that I played over and OVER, AND OVER…. I had done so much playing with different time signatures on the album that I needed a straight-up “head nod” joint …and this was the one. It was appropriately titled, “Fever”. Once again, I sent it on over to Phonte…..

Choklate

Phonte and I already had a scheduled recording session in North Carolina with Choklate the week after the “Fever” instrumental was completed (“Out In The World” was recorded during that particular session). So when we talked about what the personnel of the song would look like – a male vocalist singing lead with a female vocalist on the hook, I pretty much knew going into it who would probably find themselves singing that hook. Sure enough, the last night Choklate and I were recording at Phonte’s studio, I decided to try and rest up for the drive back to Maryland so I forced myself to crash on the couch for a few hours…. When I woke up, I heard them working on the “Fever” joint….. So, I sat up on the couch in slooooow motion like, “Oh shit!! Wait a minute!! The joint has lyrics on it now!!!” I got myself together enough to stagger into the studio to listen to what had been recorded. Phonte laid down his partial lead vocal (which at the time was meant to be a reference for another artist) and Choklate came with her “A” game on that hook. I loved what I was hearing and actually got a nice boost of energy to take with me for the 4am drive home I had ahead of me…

Now, if you listen closely to the song you may be able to hear a soft lead synth tucked behind Chok’s vocals… I placed that in the instrumental as my interpretation or an idea of what the hook melody could potentially sound like. Since kats are damn near on the same musical page most of the time anyway, when Phonte wrote the hook he utilized that same synth melody to put words to it….

“Slow it up just keep it niiiice and steady, yeeeah!”

After working with Phonte for damn near eight years now, I didn’t even have to verbalize the fact that I heard the hook in that particular melody… The music spoke and that’s what it became. When things like that happen in the studio, it is ALWAYS DOPE. Once Phonte re-recorded and completed his lead vocal on the song combined with Chok’s already infectious hook??!! We KNEW we had a jam on our hands…. It’s always crazy how the LAST song of the album usually becomes somewhat of a crowd favorite. I clearly got the “one more undeniable joint” I was aiming for… and then some with this one.

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