“If you wanted to turn “Making Da Band” into a producer reality show you could have because they had cameras and mics on me all the time. They saw me when the ideas came to my head and saw the process of me making the beat…” –Tony Dofat
In the second half of Nodfactor.com’s interview with Super Producer Tony Dofat, (part 1 is here) he discusses the making of Heavy D’s Blue Funk and how it was a reunion for the two childhood friends. He also reveals a lot of what was going on behind the scenes of “Making Da Band 2”, getting Black Rob out of jail and more!
[After recording in L.A.] We went back to new york and Puff told me Heavy D is doing a new album and Andre is letting me executive produce that. So I need some beats. I gave him some beats and now remember I made specific beats for that project. Puff was in L.A with Eddie F…I put some beats together and sent them to him and they called me instantly and were going crazy over them. Every record I sent them they used for the album. I remember when I did “Who’s The Man.” I sent that and “Truthful,” I made all those beats on the same day.
Now the moral behind the story is that me and Heavy D were best friends and grew up since nine years old. Throughout the course of all this stuff when he blew up at 16, we kinda didn’t keep in touch. He didn’t know everything I was doing with Puff. He knew I was making beats, and would invite me to his house and let me sample CDs he had etc. Helping me out. The next thing he knew I’m hooked up with Puff, making all these hot records and now I’m gonna produce you. Now I’m flying out to L.A to produce one of my best friends. That started me and Heavy’s relationship working together.
Puff wanted to do a production company together, this was all before Bad Boy. But at the time I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I said let’s just keep working together like this. That’s when he started Bad Boy and I produced Biggie’s demo songs like “Realest Niggas.” That was ’93.
From ’93 til he died Heavy and I bonded again as friends. We moved to L.A and shared houses. Two actually. Then he became CEO of Uptown Universal and hired me to Executive Produce and being his partner for Uptown.I produced Soul For Real’s second album, Monifah’, McGruff. I had a deal with Universal so I produced the majority of those records. I produced about 30 songs for Universal, about 25 a year. That’s when we ended up doing Waterbed Hev, Heavy, Vibes and then I did Love Opus. So that was cool because he and I ended up producing other artists as well. Puff was my original partner and he put me and Heave together to produce him and ended up partnering with Hev.
After I produced Blue Funk I ended up linking with Queen Latifah and I produce on the Black Reign project. Everybody wanted my sound and locked me in for five or six songs. After that I did…Messengers of Funk, they were on Atlantic. Remixes for Tina Turner and Vanessa Williams. I did about 120 joints in the 90s.
So you invented the remix…
Yeah, I’m the one that did the work for it but it was Puff’s idea. I remember to this day he had the idea to mix this and that together but I [executed] his vision. I started doing my independent stuff more and he had to get somebody else to hook him up. That’s when Stevie J came into the picture and Mario Winans because Puff is not gonna wait for nobody. He offered me a deal before everybody else but I refused it. That’s why we didn’t work. He wanted me to sign as management. I was like ‘How are we going to go from partners to you managing me? ‘
Then in ’99 Hev called me and said ‘Puff said he needed you to come work with him. He needs some help.’ That was during the time he was losing his deal with Arista, so he wanted to go back to the beginning. So I told Hev I’ll go out there. I linked up with Puff and I handled all of the production, getting the sound library together. The record shopping, I trained all of the interns, hired people for the studio. And I was also signed as a producer. My management agreement is dated 2001. And his first major project was Making Da Band. He said “I’m doing this show on MTV, I’m nervous about doing it, but we gotta build this group and I want you to produce the whole project.” I agreed to do it. Keep in mind the album had to be done in six weeks. It was kind of stressful because I had to do the beats at home. Bring them to the studio, let Puff and Harv decide if they wanted them to get on it. then after we go through all the beats I had to give it to them to record and make it sound hot in one take. I didn’t have time to do 50 beats for them and them take 10. I had to do it right the first time. It was overwhelming being on camera doing a TV show.
After two weeks of doing the show I wanted to quit. I kind of walked off the set because it got overwhelming. I’m dealing with these five people that have never been in the studio and they’re fighting and I gotta make an album. On FB I just posted some screen shots from making the band. The Director Alfonso Wessun came and talked to me and walked me back on. He saw me putting an album together.
If you wanted to turn that into a producer reality show you could have because they had cameras and mics on me all the time. They saw me when the ideas came to my head and saw the process of me making the beat, taking these nobodies and putting them on records, matching their vocals to make them sound on beat, mixing it, and putting out to where the masses loved it. He saw how the producers make the artist. A lot of people don’t see that process.
After I signed back with Bad Boy and doing making the Band I ended up producing the Black Rob album, The Black Rob Report. That story is crazy.
I focused a lot of on Black Rob, we gelled a lot. We had a sound and what messed me up was that he got locked up throughout the course of us making the album. I’d already been paid over six figures for producing him but he got locked up and at that point in my career I was more concerned with my record coming out and everybody getting a chance to listen to my art. So when he got locked up nobody wanted to get him out. Puff didn’t even wanna get him out. So I got Rob out of jail, a lot of people don’t know that.
I put so much work into that record I wanted people to support. I called my defense attorney Jennifer and said Black Rob is in jail and I need him out. She said say no more. She got him out in 24 hours. He got out of jail and we finished the album.
The label felt uncomfortable putting money back into him and him messing it back up so they didn’t promote it. They just through it. I did the first song, the one with him and AKon, “Watch Your Movements”, “Fire In The Hole” with Ness. I did six songs on the album.
“Fire In The Hole” was one of my favorites from that album!
Thank you. Originally Busta Rhymes was on FITH with him. After Busta did the verse he said “Yo I want that on my album” and that caused a little beef between me and Busta and we’d been cool since Mary J. Blige days. He said he wanted it for his album and I said its’ Black Rob’s. I spoke to Harv and I said I need to get paid for this record because Busta wants it and I’m gonna give it to Busta if you don’t want it. Then Harv was like we gonna keep it.
Fire In The Hole W/Busta
And I’ve been in this situation with Bad Boy where they say they’re gonna keep a record and not keeping it and I end up not selling it to an artist. So basically they paid me instantly and I told Busta the record is gone. So Busta was like ‘Fuck that, I’m not clearing the record then. They gotta give me 65 thousand then!” So we had to put Ness’ vocals on the track.
So what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the business so far?
It’s all about relationships and who you know. It took me years to realize how small the industry is. I probably got everybody in the industry worth knowing in my Blackberry.
Why haven’t you been producing more?
As far as production goes, it’s slowed down. I’m releasing one or two songs per quarter. I worked on the Ja Rule album they came out last quarter. I did three songs with Olivia and AZ hit me up. AZ was in a group called 25 To Life and I did their demo back then. I did a beat on Pieces Of A Man too, “Bet You Don’t Know.”
How much unreleased Heavy D music do you have?
I have probably twenty unreleased songs. A bunch of stuff. I have this one song we did with the sample from The Marleys, a big record that they did. We never put it out because he didn’t want to use samples then.
You DJ’d for Hev when the Boyz split up, you helped him learn how to produce. What are your parting thoughts about his musical legacy?
One of the things about him from a fan perspective is that he was one of the people in the industry that needed to be around in the industry. He played a part even if he didn’t actively make records. His presence in the industry did a lot for it. He was a good person. He was a role model for a lot of people. He was the perfect person to look up to because he was cool, polite but he wasn’t a punk. He had major success and was a true artist. He showed how to present himself well. He knows how to make hit records and he’s a born entertainer. A lot of people want to get on a beat and put it out and say they’re entertainers. Hev was one of the people that definitely needed to be around.
Follow Tony Dofat on Twitter @TonyDofat and check out his Site Dofattv!