How did some of Mariah Carey’s classic songs come together?
Billboard contacted some of Carey’s past collaborators to pick their brains for memories of when they worked with the diva on some of her classic tunes. It’s always fun to learn what went into the making of a song, and most of the time, it’s not as seamless as you think. Sure, the record comes out flawless when you hear it, but a whole lot of blood, sweat, tears, and drama probably transpired.
Take for instance Mariah’s classic collab with Wu Tang rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard on the remix to her 1995 “Fantasy.” As it turns out, ODB was late, intoxicated, and slept through most of the recording session of his famous verse, according to via A&R Cory Rooney.
“He finally showed up, three hours late, and when he got there, it was about 10:30 at night. He had been drinking, and was on the phone when he walked in. Irate, screaming at some girl how he’s gonna come kill her, he’s going to kick her a**…and then whispering, ‘I love you.’ Then screaming again. This went on for an hour.”
He then detailed how the rapper he took a break in search for some alcohol. This is all before the session even started. “He finally came out and was like, ‘Yo, pardon me, this bi**h is driving me crazy. I need some Moet and Newports before we get into this record,’” Rooney recalled. “I said, ‘It’s 12:30 at night now bro, I don’t know where we’re going to get Moet from.’…They went out for like an hour, and the only thing they could find were some Heinekens. He was so disgusted, he threw a bottle on the floor.”
And by the time he was ready to record (which was motivated by Mariah’s then-husband Tommy Mottola), he fell to sleep about three times for an hour before getting up to record another line of the verse. “He said one line — ‘me and Mariah, go back like babies with pacifiers’ — then paused, said, ‘Yo, I need to take a break,’ and went to sleep for 45 minutes.” Once ODB woke up, he would continue the same routine.” Rooney said ODB’s famous verse was heavily spliced together, and you hear it in the recording. Rooney said “He actually told the engineer, ‘Y’all better have your sh*t set and record it right, cause I’m not doing it twice.’”
LOL! Dang! Who knew!?
Also, the story of the making of her 1998 single “Breakdown” featuring Krayzie and Wish Bone of Bone Thugs N Harmony is interesting. They reveal they were nervous about doing the collab, and almost talked themselves out of it. Krazye Bone recalled, “We were in Cleveland, and got a call from our manager at the time, Steve Lobel. He told us that Mariah wanted to do a song with us. Back then it was like, we didn’t even realize what that meant, because we was fresh in the game. Still fresh off the streets. We even played around with the flight she had set up. I remember being on the plane with Wish Bone, like, “I don’t even know if I want to go.” We were contemplating all the way up until they shut the door, and then we were like, “Well, it’s too late now, we gotta go.”
But it was all good when they arrived at the recording session, because Mimi was very accommodating to their “medicine” needs. “To our surprise, Mariah had it all set out. She had all the medicine that we needed to get our minds right when we went up in there. She had the Hennessy for us, Kray remembered. “Literally, silver platters of all the goodies,” Wish added. “We had kind of gotten obliterated out of our minds, so we had to sit there in the zone for a little while. We were just like, “Oh wow.” It’s Mariah Carey, bringing the goodies to us. We’re dapping each other up under the table like, “N— you see this shit?!”
But when it was all done, they were pleased with the result, even though they barely remembered the recording process. “We didn’t even realize what we had done until the song actually came out — then it was like, we did a good thing right here. Did a real good thing,” Kray concluded.
Talk about going “behind the music”!
Click HERE to read the memories from many other rappers, artists, and producers like Stevie J, Just Blaze, Walter Afanasieff, Boyz II Men, Jadakiss, Styles P, and more as they recall co-creating some of Mariah’s classics.