Studio Campfire Stories: Platinum Pied Pipers “Stay With Me”

The Summer of 2004 was a pretty interesting time in my life to say the least. I had just released my first ‘pro pressed’ album, Passion & Definition in July, was playing some shows here and there, meeting kats in the Detroit scene who I had been a fan of for years. I had also been let go from the Medical Supplies Sales job I held for a year, and as a result I became a full-time musician (until I moved East in 2006). I had some die hard supporters, thinking I was doing something… But looking back on it, I was just beginning to pay my dues hadn’t even really begun to get my feet wet musically. Anyway, with all of the new kats I was either meeting, running into, or working with around The D, I had yet to meet Waajeed. I always had people telling me, “Man, you gotta work with Waajeed,” yet, I hadn’t even met the brotha yet. Of course, with the way everything else was just kinda ‘falling’ into place, I simply assumed we would run into each other at a venue one night (which actually happened at the Carbon Lounge in Hamtramck… and we said ‘what up’ in passing). Oddly enough, it was actually my homegirl introducing me to his girlfriend at the time after running into her at Buffalo Wild Wings that did it – If I remember correctly, the two of them went to high school together. Weird? Yes… But, I happened to have a copy of Passion & Definition on me (as I always did back then) so I passed it to her to give to him. The next thing I knew a few days later, I got a phone call from Waajeed and we agreed to get up one day at his spot in Downtown Detroit just to meet up. And now that I think about it, that instance was probably the first and only time that I have ever gotten a call back from passing material along to someone… in HOPES of a call back. OH, I take that back…. I actually met 14KT, Buff1 and the rest of the Athletic Mic League the same way back in 2002. They called me back to back after I hit them with a copy of Zo! Presents… A Canvas For The Adoration of Music at an Athletic Mic League/Subterraneous show in Ann Arbor. So, I guess passing music along comes through every now and then, huh? Maybe…

Anyway, I ended up taking a trip to Jeed’s spot in Downtown Detroit and we chopped it up for a good hour or two about music in general… Including the hustle, the passion behind it, and the bullshit. We hadn’t planned to work on anything that day but I guess higher power saw things a bit differently. During our entire conversation, I was sitting at a suitcase Fender Rhodes just messing around on the keys until finally Jeed was like, “Ayo, you know what? Let me see if you’ve got something for this joint real quick.” I was sitting there with the “oh damn” face on as I was partially put on the spot… I’m good, no pressure, right? So he played the joint he was talking about and all I hear is a stripped down track with nothing but these swinging ass drums with this seductive voice on top of it. That was IT….

Me: “Who is THAT?”

Waajeed: “Tiombe Lockhart, a singer I’m working with for the new album.”

He then proceeded to explain to me the meaning behind his newly formed group, Platinum Pied Pipers and even broke down some of the album’s concept…. but I was all into this track that I was hearing. After listening through the song, I told him to start it over so that I could feel my way around what she was singing. By the middle of the song, I knew I had something as Waajeed said, “Aw man… we’ve gotta record that!” Right then and there, he started the joint over and I proceeded to record the bass part via the Rhodes…. and recorded another pass with just the chords and it became the foundation for this new song. Jeed was so hyped up about it, he started talking about turning it in to Ubiquity (Records) (PPP’s label at the time) and knowing that they would love it, etc…. I was kind of excited, but the music “industry” had already warped me so, even by 2004 that I wanted to see proof of things happening.

Sure enough, he turned that joint in and Ubiquity really took to it. Waajeed hit me up one day telling me that they were considering it as the first single. Word?… Whatever man, I’ll believe it when I see it…….. Well, a couple months later, I was in Record Time in Ferndale, MI flipping through copies of “Stay With Me” 12″ vinyl singles.

Funny how things happen when creativity comes into play. Even now when I hear this song being played in a venue, I always think back on how everything seemed to line up just right in order for it to happen and come through the way it did.

(Not So) Fun Fact: The crazy thing about this song that no one really knows about is Waajeed gave me a “Co-producer” credit on it. So if you happen to own one of the first pressings of the 12″, you may notice that it reads:

“Produced by Waajeed, Co-produced and keys by Zo!”

But Ubiquity wasn’t having it and they pulled the “Co-produced by” recognition and gave me credit for playing keys only… Despite their silly shit, Jeed and I still joke about this story to this day

“Maaan, I met this dude…. two hours later we did ‘Stay With Me!'”


Most of the time the best stuff never happens in accordance to our script…

Me and Waajeed in D.C., August 2006