In Combat Jack Presents: True Stories Behind 25 Rap Classics on Complex.com, lawyer, blogger and DJ Combat Jack tells the story of Self, the producer behind DMX’s “What’s My Name” and countless other hits.:
“I was introduced to this producer Self from Queens. Self was a new cat that had done a long stint in jail. He ran a bit with Onyx, then hooked up with Irv Gotti. Many of you may never have heard of Self, but please believe dude brought it in his music. After a couple of sessions in the studio with Irv, Self came up with the beat for ‘What’s My Name.’ Irv then politicked that track to be the first single for DMX’s third upcoming album. In 2010, you think of the two biggest rappers, you think Eminem and Jay-Z. In 1999, you thought of the two biggest rappers, you thought Eminem and DMX. And DMX wasn’t just a top rapper, dude was an effing superstar. To have your track as his first single was major.
“Irv was about to lock Self into an exclusive producer deal. I played chess and suggested Self wait until X’s single drop before he signed anything. Naturally, the single was a smash and the album went on to sell six million plus records. Self never did sign with Irv and Irv was pissed—at Self, but more so at me. During the short time that Self had momentum, he ended up making a whole lot of money. He produced songs like ‘Santana’s Town’ for Juelz Santana, ‘H.O.V.A.’ with Jay-Z, ‘That’s Me’ with Cam’ron, and ‘Opposites Attract’ with Fat Joe. He landed a pretty big publishing deal. A couple of labels bought a lot of songs from him. He also signed a couple of artists to his production company that ended up getting signed. A lot of his songs and his artists never got released, but it didn’t matter because we made sure Self got his money up front. This was when it seemed like it was raining cash in the industry. I miss those days.”
READ MORE OF JACK’S STORIES ABOUT JAY-Z, 50 Cent, Nas and more at COMPLEX.COM.