I have to start this story off correctly. A few folks know, most don’t…. But uhhh, Carmen Rodgers threatened me via text message on some Suge Knight shit almost a year to the DAY that I’m writing this. …Well, not quite to that extreme, but I did fear for my life…. Ok, well… I kinda didn’t. ALL I’m saying is, don’t let her innocent looks fool you… She’ll cut’cho ass for an album credit!! The exchange went something like this… AND it was completely outta the blue.
Carmen: “Oohhh. If I’m not on your record… ooooohhhhhh!!!!!! lol”
Me: “I’m getting feature threats?!!?!! LMAO …Don’t worry, We’re working to find something that is right for YOU.”
Carmen: “Hahaha!! Feature Threats!! Thanks for thinking of me… I’d love to be a part of your work…anytime YOU’RE ready.”
Scary, right?…angry ass Carmen. Gonna threaten me, laugh about it, and then be all sweet just ONE text later? As I said, I feared for my life, man…….. kinda. As a result of this exchange, we got her in the studio ASAP. Hahahaha (Now I’ll probably start receiving ‘threatening’ texts from others in order to be on a next project… Lawd.) Carmen got in the studio with Phonte in North Carolina in December and recorded the hook for “Show Me The Way”… This was definitely one of those joints that when I heard just her part, I said to myself… “Oh, we’ve got one on our hands.” Everything about it just WORKED. From the catchiness of “Tell me what am I to dooooo, when it feels like I am looooosing yoooooooou…”, to when she brought the harmonies in on, “show me the way back baaaaaby…” I still let out an enthusiastic “Whoooooo!!!!!!!” about every third time I hear those harmonies too, just for the record. Good shit Suge Rodgers!!
Now, after hearing the way that Anthony David got up on the …just visiting three album and absolutely BODIED the “Playing Your Game, Baby” joint by channeling Barry White in every way possible, it was pretty much automatic… I HAD to have him feature on the new album whenever it was time to get in the studio with it. When creating the instrumental for the song, I was definitely pulling influences from some of that early/mid 70’s “Motown Sound” (see also: “Greatest Weapon Of All-Time”). When studying that sound as a whole and the producers who were putting that music together, to me it was usually comprised of many simplistic layers of instrumentation that usually formed one beautiful piece of music. It was fun, driving, upbeat, and easy for masses of people to digest once written to. That was my main inspiration behind incorporating the heavy snare drum and the wah-wah guitar lick throughout the majority of the song. I updated it some by utilizing my trusty Moog Minitaur synth bassline on it rather than recording a bass guitar line – I figured that the synth would add a nice contrast to it stylistically.
Phonte got a hold of the instrumental and let it sit for a minute until Carmen arrived in NC to record. He then wrote the hook for her and got with my homeboy from the D, Scorpion of Windimoto (some of y’all may remember him for his jive talking abilities at the beginning and ending of “This Could Be The Night”) to complete the writing for the rest of the song. He then recorded a reference to send over to Anthony David to check out. The way that A.D. completely made this joint his own was DOPE to hear. I can remember sitting at my desktop with the volume almost all the way up (I was still critiquing so TOO loud meant I may miss something) and hearing Ant go in from the first note!! As soon as you hear him sing, “Myyyy, myyyyyyy, mah, myyyyyyyyy, myyyyyyyyyyyy” you know EXACTLY who it is. Even if you don’t, he was sure to place his stamp throughout the duration of the song. For example, the staccato feel of the vocals at the top of the second verse, “..That. Won. Ders. If. I’ll. Everrrrrrr” or the accents placed on “OUrrrrLOveWOntEVer be saaaaaaaaa…” during the second pre-hook. It always feels good as a producer when the vocalist not only brings their A-game to your material, but also allows their total character to shine on the song. To me, it’s a sign that they enjoy and more importantly trust your music enough to be themselves on it. The way that Anthony and Carmen bounced off of each other and truly complemented one another just added another beautiful layering to the music that cannot be written or manipulated in a Pro Tools session. Now let’s see if I can get the two of them on stage to perform it live while on tour… Atlanta perhaps? *rubs chin*