[SOHH highlights a hot single each week and offers a unique look at the record. In honor of today marking the 12th anniversary of the late Big Pun's passing, Capital Punishmentcontributing producer Mike "Trauma" D reflects on crafting the album's title track.]
I used to do A&R at Loud Records [in the 1990's] so I was already on the inside. He was pretty much finishing up his Capital Punishmentalbum and he was just looking for that one beat. He had an idea of what he wanted it to sound like so I played him a beat that me and my producing partner Jugrnaut were doing.
He was like, "That's it!" Right out of the gate, "That's it!" He said this was the record he wanted but the funny thing about it is we were doing the record on an ASR, that was the type of equipment we were using and so after he would leave the studio after having laid down the record, the freaking files would burn.
It was overheating. So we must have went through three or four discs that kept showing up as corrupt every time. We must have had to lay that record down for Big Pun at least three or four times. We would hop on the ferry, go all the way to Staten Island to find out that all three discs were burnt up. So then we had to go back the next day, come, put it back down, and this was like the first track we had produced.
We didn't even chop up the drums. So we had to go back, chop up the drums, and the Capital Punishment album was held up on that record alone. We had to keep changing the drugs up and then added the intro to Boyz n The Hood where Laurence Fishburne is talking and used it as the Segway to go into the record. It didn't make it onto the final version though.
Being that it was so long and and we had to go through sample clearance issues, we decided not to go with it. We took it out and just ran with that record. It's one of those records where it meant a lot to me. Not because it was our first record, but because Pun's album dropped on my birthday.
I remember after that record came out and I'm on the subway watching some kid really bopping his head to some record. He's screw-facing and rapping the words to "Capital Punishment" and the whole time I just remember thinking, "Wow, this kid is screw-facing and rapping out this song and doesn't even realize the people behind it are sitting right next to him."
That record, in different ways, really had a big impact and meant a lot. From the files burning to having to redo the drums and having it mixed three or four times plus it dropping on my birthday, there was a lot of things associated with it.
Arkatech Beatz (formerly known as The Infinite Arkatechz and often nicknamed The Arkatechs for short) are a Grammy nominated hip-hop production duo from New York now based in Atlanta. They were affiliated with Loud Records/ Sony Music Entertainment as A&R's in the late '90s and has produced for artists such as Big Pun, Nas, Raekwon, Shawty Lo, Mýa, Alley Boy, Max B and others. The team consists of Mike "Trauma" D & Jugrnaut