JAY-Z’s “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)” — the Amil and Beanie Sigel-assisted lead single from his 1999 album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter — was produced by Rockwilder, but listen close enough and one can hear the DNA of fellow New York producers Q-Tip and Swizz Beatz.
During a recent appearance on Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion podcast, Rockwilder credited the A Tribe Called Quest and Ruff Ryders legends as major influences on his jingling, jiggy-fied beat, which helped earn Hov his fifth top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart.
“‘Do It Again’ is a three-, three-, three-, four-[bar loop],” he explained. “I was trying to just be a little different from how the beat tapes was being submitted to Roc-A-Fella because they was going through beat tapes. Jay is a beat n-gga, he goes through them beats. Dame is definitely the comedy of it because if the shit ain’t hot, he gon’ laugh at you.
“I did [a three-bar loop] purposefully and I was definitely inspired off Q-Tip’s three-bar beats. Q-Tip has amazing three-bar beats that I was definitely in love with. Shout out to Q-Tip. Thank you for ‘Award Tour’ because that was song was so infectious to my life right now, I play it every morning.”
As for Swizz Beatz, Rockwilder attempted to imitate his epic intros, specifically citing the horn-laden opening of JAY-Z’s “Jigga My N-gga” (which was tacked onto the end of Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter as a hidden song).
“I did see that the dance floor and the club was kinda going to this next thing, and Swizz was definitely introducing that type of vibe and energy,” he said. “I just took the hottest thing that was going on, and that was ‘Jigga My N-gga.’ Swizz used to have them intros and I was like, ‘Alright, so in order for me to jump in, I gotta introduce my shit too.’”
Rockwilder also delved into the somewhat complicated sample history of “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” which borrows its hook from Call O’ Da Wild rapper Barron Ricks’ intro from Cypress Hill’s 1996 “Throw Your Hands in the Air (Remix).”
“I actually took it from the a capella of ‘Throw Your Hands [in the Air]’ by Cypress Hill with MC Eiht, Redman and Erick Sermon,” he said. “I’m figuring since its only an a capella, ain’t really nothing to clear — and it’s a remix. I sample it, put it in the song and didn’t think nothing of it.
“Song comes out, blows up. All of a sudden, my lawyer calls me in the office and says, ‘Yo, I got a call from a lady talking about ‘Throw Your Hands Up’ is somebody she knows. She put a claim in.’ I was saying to myself, it does sound like [Prodigy] but how the fuck did — I just thought somebody was a good sample n-gga and they caught it.”
Rockwilder — who also produced the Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter cut “NYMP”— then recalled bumping into Ricks one day while buying records at the since-closed Virgin Megastore in Times Square.
“This dude calls me to the cashier. I put all my shit up there,” he continued. “He looks at me and he says, ‘Yo, you Rockwilder, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Yo, I’m the ‘Throw Ya Hands Up’ n-gga!’ I said, ‘Yo, how did you know that was you?’ He said, ‘I’m laying down with my girl. The song comes on, I’m like, ‘Yo, this song is hot!’
“She starts listening to it and says, ‘Babe, that sounds like you!’ He says, ‘Nah! That ain’t me.’ She says, ‘No, let’s play this again. That’s you!’ She was the one that called my lawyer. He said, ‘I would’ve never knew.’”
However, according to Rockwilder, it wasn’t a simple case of giving Ricks a piece of the profits.
“Although I sampled his voice, that was a remix of an original… so the original people get paid. The original ‘Throw Ya Hands Up’ mix, I think, gets paid off of the writers on that. The Soul Assassins remix, I don’t know if they get the money. I hope he got paid!”
Offering a consolation, he added, “Well, I think right now he’ll ride off into the sunset like, ‘Yo, I’m a part of history.’”
Following the success of “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” Rockwilder went on to produce JAY-Z’s “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” collaboration with R. Kelly, from 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. Watch his full My Expert Opinion interview below.