Rsonist of The Heatmakerz Almost Threw Away the “Dipset Anthem” Beat
Before The Heatmakerz’ production became synonymous with the early and mid-2000s, group member Rsonist first made his way into beat making as a bit of a last resort. With a newborn baby on the way, the young producer was kicked out of Howard University and forced to move back to the Bronx without any viable options to speak of.
Instead of giving up hope, Rsonist decided to build off of his experience as a DJ during his time at Howard. “I was a DJ back at Howard, so I was familiar with music and the rest is history,” he told the website Genius in a 2017 episode of their Deconstructed series.
Rsonist’s first opportunity to really sink his teeth into producing presented itself when fellow Heatmaker Thrilla bought an MPC and lent it to him. “My partner at the time, my man, Thrilla, he had bought a MPC and he went out of town and let me hold it,” he told Genius. “I made two beats on it.”
“I was gonna throw this beat away — this beat was never going to exist.”
It may not have felt like a monumental achievement at the time, but those early instrumentals ended up changing Rsonist’s life. Soon after completing his initial songs, he ran into music industry veteran Todd Terry. Terry — whose resume includes official remixes for Cher, Duran Duran, and Daft Punk — was won over by Rsonist’s unique sound and asked if he could buy the tracks from him. In a moment of spontaneity, he threw out what felt like a ridiculous asking price. “I made a joke and said, ‘Give me a stack ($1000) for each beat,’” Rsonist told Genius. “He was like ‘Aight, bet.’ Goes in the other room, goes in his safe, brings me back $2,000.”
After their initial transaction, Terry immediately requested more beats. When Rsonist told him he didn’t have his own equipment to work with, Terry sent him $20,000 worth of gear to get him started.
With his access to samplers no longer restricted, Rsonist got to work right away. And as he started compiling tracks, he decided to compose one that drew on one of his main musical influences growing up. “My parents had reggae music — that’s it,” he told Genius. “That’s all I grew up listening to. Whether it was Beres Hammond, whether it was Garnett Silk, whether it was Bob Marley — whoever it was, it was just reggae music.”
“I made a joke and said, ‘Give me a stack ($1000) for each beat. He was like ‘Aight, bet.’ Goes in the other room, goes in his safe, brings me back $2,000.”
After growing up in a house where reggae music was playing constantly, Rsonist make an instrumental that combined the energy of reggae and rap. “I always wanted to find a reggae song that I could really flip into some hip-hop,” he told Genius.
Lightening stuck while Rsonist was listening to Sanchez’s 1997 Larry Graham cover “One In A Million”. The song’s opening seemed like perfect fit for the kind of vibe he was searching for. “When I listened that I said, ‘How can I keep this feeling going for three and half or four minutes?” he told Genius.
Using a couple of basic sample chops, Rsonist added hi-hats, a kick, snare, clap, scratch sample, and an open hi-hat. Although he loved the possibility that the sample presented, he couldn’t quite get it to work on his MPC during his initial attempts. In a moment of frustration, he almost scrapped the rough draft altogether. “I was gonna throw this beat away — this beat was never going to exist,” he told Genius.
“I couldn’t remember how I put that together, ’cause it was really like that record was meant to be.”
Thankfully, the moment of despair didn’t last long. Rsonist continued fiddling with the his sample chops until he came up with the crazy, high energy combo you hear throughout the beat. “I knew it was a dope sample to the point where it was supposed to sound fire,” he told Genius. “When I did this last trigger, this is what brought the whole beat together.”
Talking about the beat some fifteen years later, Rsonist is still amazed at the combination of chops he came up with. ‘Dipset Anthem’ helped put him on the map, but he admits that remembering how to put the beat together is difficult now, making it hard for him to recreate it live without an optimal setup. “At another event I was asked to re-make this track on another machine without loading up the old disks, none of that,” he told Genius. “And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t remember how I put that together, ’cause it was really like that record was meant to be.”