"Juvenile Hell basically we were high school dropouts; like we just dropped out of school and we was like fuck that, we're doing Rap for a living. ... We was drinking 40s, smoking weed, wilding, hoeing, you know what I'm saying, weapons doing all kinds of shit. ... We didn't even concentrate on making a ill album, we was just like come on we got to hurry so we can fucking be rappers. ... We did like three beats on that album. That was the first time we started making beats.
We did "Hit It From The Back", "Hold Down The Fort" and "Stomp 'Em Out" and to tell you the truth those were like the three best songs on the album. So when we seen that, we was like "Wow we got some shit. We got to make the whole next album, fuck even going to producers."
The result was it wasn't (a good album)... So after that, that shit hit us hard. We was hurt because Nas had Illmatic out. He was popping with that album we was like ahhh he's getting all the shorties at the show, he's riding around in a Lexus, chilling in the projects. We like, "Awww we fucked up; we got to go back in. We got to go in hard son."
Now we started paying attention to what we was doing when we made Infamous. ... We made a beat, come outside on the block, play that shit on the radio. Niggas was like, "Oh, that shit ill!" Thats the formula: the hood love it than the world gon love it... We started getting older, and we started getting into more crazier shit in the street. Niggas was bugging; that was a crazy time in my life. I was doing coke and fucking drinking E&J for breakfast. Wilding like for real no joke, we was really wilding like smoking dust.... We met Raekwon and them niggas (laughs) being on Loud Records. They turned niggas out smoking that shit, I think they just passed it to us one day they didn't even tell us what it was.
How we met them niggas was, we was up in the Loud office one day right and all them niggas was up there cooling. Them niggas is older than us and we followed in their footsteps for real. We was on our own shit but we followed in their footsteps a lot with business and how they handled they business and how they was consistently on they business grind. Them niggas wasn't playing. They was in the office making deals. If something ain't go right, we see them flipping out, flipping chairs and shit, flipping desks, wilding. We seen all that, so we was feeling them niggas, so we started hanging out, started going out to Staten Island, hanging out in the harbour, hanging out in their hoods and shit, just chilling.
We was out there one night chilling with Ghost. .. Back than, Rae had a dark navy blue Acura. ... All I know is, I smell something. But that don't smell like weed. So we smoking, I think Havoc was smoking back than. So we getting blasted (laughs)! We was fucked up. So they was like what's up with Nas, they want to meet Nas. They was like, "Yo we want to do a song with Nas". We were like "Cool, we going to set that up for y'all". So we drove back to Queens Bridge.
Havoc is like, "Yo there was something in that weed son, I'm fucked up". I'm like "I don't know man, that shit got me feeling right though. We called Nas, so we all got in the studio and did "Eye For An Eye". We dropped Infamous, know what I'm saying, that shit took off. Then, Rae dropped his solo album. He was wilding talking about coke and dust, and I started listening I was like "These niggas is ill dust heads son". We was little niggas I was like let me try that shit and I was smoking that shit every day after that. I was smoking dust blunts. That was my shit. Niggas turned me out with that shit know what I'm saying? The hood is wild, the hood will turn you out to a lot of shit anyway. Word.
After that (car accident), Havoc's brother comitted suicide and that was crazy man. It was weird cause Killa B wasn't like that... He was a wild boy, busting his guns and all that, but he wasn't the type of nigga to kill himself, so that hit niggas hard... And right after Killa B, my man Yammy got killed out of town. He was doing some work out of town, and somebody ran up behind him with a bat and hit him in the head with a bat and killed him. Yammy was one of the strongest niggas that I knew. He gave us the name Infamous cause that was his name. He had it tatted on his arm "infamous Yambo". So when Yammy got killed that fucked us up cause he would come to every show.... So we lost a lot of strength, Killa, Yammy, Scarface. It was devestating to niggas.
When we got to Murda Muzik our attitude was foul cause of all the shit that happened. It hardened niggas up in a negative way. So our whole attitude (with that album) was like fuck everybody, fuck everything, and anybody try something they're gonna die. Straight up and down they gonna go down....
After parties we got to do autograph signings, we in the hood cause that's our audience. (We be) in Baltimore, on the corner record store in the hood lining down the block for Mobb Deep, just to get an autograph... I'm talking about it's people in line that's looking like they can't get some sneakers but they coming to buy an album, that shit bugged me out. ... I look back and I'm like, "Wow you can feel the power in that album, that's why it went platinum." We put all that agressive, negative energy into it and it's positive energy at the same time. We was like "Fuck that nobody is stopping us. We are going to make a hit, we're going on tour, we're going to come back safe... This shit is going to be a success." And that's exactly what happened.
When we did Infamy that was around the time you know when Nas started coming around more. Like at first, Nas didn't really take too kind to me when I first came to the hood. He actually told niggas I was corny and that Hav need to go solo and it got back to me and I was like "Damn" and that shit kind of hurt me. I just came to Queens Bridge and I didn't want niggas to start like word like "P corny, he can't hang out with us no more" so that shit kind of hurt inside. ... After that, that's when I made "Shook Ones". That's when I made all my shit. My rhymes changed. ... When I heard Nas say that shit, I was like "Hold up, this shit is serious. I can do this for real. I'ma show everybody".
I never felt no kind of way towards Nas after that either. I always thanked him in my mind, because if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have been what I am today so in my mind I always look up to Nas. ... So around the time of Infamy, Nas started hanging out around more, I was working on Murda Muzik the movie, and I was shooting a movie for Queens Bridge and for Mobb Deep.
... I got everybody in that movie. Nas, everybody. When Nas started seeing this he was like "Damn, P making me look bad because why didn't I do this first?" This was kind of late... Like, why didn't nobody ever do a movie about this shit. We in 99 son. We should have did a movie back in 96-97 or something like when Nas first came out. Somebody should have been like "They need a movie about their life and their hood"... So I wrote that shit like fuck it. I'ma do this shit. I got everybody together in that movie. Everybody got in that motherfucker, that don't even get along with each other... Niggas was like, "Yo them niggas don't even get along. That's ill that you got them to play that shit son"
So we at Soundtrack Studios and Nas started booking sessions right next door to us; out of nowhere. That's Nas. He usually at the Hit Factory or somewhere ill, like he's out in Bermuda doing his album or something. I was like damn he's coming over here? I'm like, aight cool.
So I'm doing songs for the movie soundtrack and not only did I get everybody from the hood in the movie, but on the soundtrack I got all new rappers from the hood, all the new niggas and dun was seeing that too. And people were going back to him telling him like, "P is doing a lot for QB. What are you doing?"
..So Nas started booking sessions. So I go over there like what's up and he's like "Yea, I'm working on a QB album, but it's a Queens Borough album (it wasn't a Queens Bridge album)..." I was like "Yo, you know what we need to do? This nigga Jay-Z is taking little jabs at us on songs. ... I'm like, aww he talking about me in that song ("Where I'm From") and I'm like yo he bit our shit, with the little plastic cups in the hood and if you do the research and history of it, Jay-Z was on some speed boat in Bahamas, Versace type shit. Then, "Shook Ones" came out, then Jay came out with the plastic cups, football jerseys in the projects, taking jobs at us". And I was like, "Nas, what we need to do is get at these niggas, because number one, his lil' man is trying to shit on you; talking about your life is written and all this shit"... I was like, "These niggas is going at us subliminally and fuck that, we need to go at those niggas. Let's make a song about them, son." He was like "Nah nah, that nigga ain't nobody to be doing that". I'm like son I'm telling you it's gonna be a problem, and he like nah. I'm like "aight cool." Cause in my mind I'ma adress it on my own anyway. I don't give a fuck what this nigga do. I love you Nas but I'ma handle this cause you buggin.
... And now I found out that the Queens Borough album changed to the Queens Bridge album, the QB album. Now I'm like, oh I see what this nigga's doing. And during that time he came to the studio, he started calling my crib like I would come home and my girl be like "Nas called". I'm like what? Nas never called me before, that was amazing to me!
... During this time, I'm going at Jay-Z. I started writing songs cause he was saying all that faggot shit and nigga it's three years later and now you going to say something? You ain't say nothing when it was war! You ain't went to Cali. We could have got bodied out in Cali, son! Them niggas ain't playing. Them niggas is gangs; they do they body shit. Murder every day straight up just because of what color you got on. They don't give a fuck about you. This is what we dealing with when "L.A L.A" came out. We in Cali performing that shit. It was the number one record on the radio in L.A! We had to go to Cali to perform that shit. We could have said "Nah, we ain't going to Cali, they going to kill us." ... So years later, he's (Jay-Z) trying to restore the feelings? What feelings you trying to restore? What are you talking about son? Who are you talking about and why are you talking? Shut the fuck up son you should have said something a long time ago. Me and Fat Joe were at Loud offices one day and I even heard Fat Joe say it. I didn't even come out and say nothing, I was just chillin' in the office and Fat Joe came out and said, "Yo, this motherfucker Jay-Z trying to restore the feeling?" .... "Yo, that nigga is a funny nigga for saying that. Who's he talking about?"
So I told Nas, he was like "Nah nah he ain't nobody, we ain't going to diss him." I said fuck that, I'll diss him on my own. So I diss that nigga, shittin on him. I said in the Source Magazine, "Yo, that nigga is a bitch ass nigga for saying that, he wasn't even around when that shit happened. Biggie was going at them niggas. Mobb Deep was going at them niggas. And they was going at Nas, they was going at Jay-Z, they was going at Biggie, and them niggas was quiet than a church mouse son. Them niggas was quiet than a motherfucker son.
...Down the line when I'm dissing Jay-Z, (E Money) Bags told me, "I went to high school with Jay-Z. Me and Jay-Z went to highschool. Sauce Money is married to my sister. Fuck Jay-Z, that nigga is a bitch son. I know that nigga man." I'm like, "Word that nigga on some bullshit, I had to speak up on it." He's like, "Nah you right son. You ain't wrong for speaking up on it."
So me and Bags chilling in the studio one day in Long Island at this place called the Music Palace. It was a Friday night, I had come from the store and on the radio it was Funk Master Flex. It was Jay-Z, Freeway, Beanie Sigel and Young Gunnaz...."
READ / LISTEN TO FULL INTERVIEW HERE :