When I was a senior in college, my friend Lisle invited me to a recording session with Mase from De La Soul. Mase was producing a then (and still) unknown rapper named SuperStar. There was another guy there, Aubrey, who I think was Trugoy’s (from De La) little brother (he was a cool dude).
When Mase walked into the studio, he had a big bucket of KFC under one arm and his records over the other shoulder. He shook my hand and offered me a drumstick. (Note: offering someone a drumstick as a greeting is a great way to win them over).
Lisle and Mase started putting together the beats and tracks. SuperStar was asleep on the couch. This process took a couple of hours and was incredibly boring. Play a record, sample a few seconds, another record, another sample, all kinds of digital massaging to sync it up. Then, Mase said, “Alright, play that shit back,” and it was fucking magical. Beats, bass, guitar tracks, horns, as if the Ohio Players had just recorded it live.
Mase and Aubrey woke up SuperStar, who proceeded to light a big joint, go into the microphone room, and turn out the lights. Lisle hit play on the track, and SuperStar went nuts freestyling, in this awesome, raspy, pot-cured voice. Just fantastic.
THEN, the goddam building caught on fire, a few floors below us. I shit you not.
We all scrambled out the door (Mase making sure to grab his records) and went to the roof. I have no idea why we did that — in retrospect that seems like a horrible move. Fire trucks came and put out the fire. I think we were there for maybe 20 minutes.
Then back into the studio, everyone is really into it now — SuperStar flowing, Aubrey and Mase yelling “WE’RE GONNA MAKE SOME MONEY!” I left about 2am to catch a train back to school and they were still going strong.
I’m pretty sure no one ever made any money.