Tomorrow (Aug. 25) Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie will be joining us in NYC at the SVA Theatre for “Be Inspired” to talk about his career, give advice to up-and-coming artists, and maybe even spill a couple industry secrets, too.
In anticipation of the event, we decided to run down some of the most important songs that the one-time head of Puffy’s Hitmen production squad had a hand in. From “All About The Benjamins” to classic Hov, these are 5 D-Dot beats that changed the game.
Tracey Lee – “The Theme” (1997)
“The Theme” was Philly rapper Tracey Lee’s lead single for his debut album Many Facez. Built atop a slice of Malcolm McClaren’s “World Famous” and Pieces Of a Dream’s “Mount Airy Groove” almost twenty years later this gem can still rock the party, as it brought a slightly hardcore sound to the mainstream.
Jay Z – “Where I’m From” (1997)
“Where I’m From,” anchored by a Yvonne Fair sample, is easily one of Hov’s most iconic songs, both for the pithy bars and the immediately recognizable production. It became a staple of his discography and a huge fan favorite at a time when he was still rocking throwback jerseys.
Puff Daddy – “All About The Benjamins” (1997)
D-Dot made this beat during a trip to Trinidad with Puffy “in this little ass room with just me, a keyboard, my drums, my discs, an MPC 62, a turntable and a mixer.” After D-Dot looped up the Barry White sample, Puffy allegedly tried to put his own sprinkle on the beat, but D-Dot refused. As to why Puffy still has a production credit on the song, Angelettie simply says, “He still put his name on the record because he was givin’ niggas an opportunity that none of us could front on.”
The Notorious B.I.G. – “Hypnotize” (1997)
“Hypnotize” was by far the biggest single from Biggie’s second album Life After Death, as Puffy once again showcased his taste for classic samples. D-Dot says this was another beat he made in Trinidad and Biggie got the DAT tapes before D-Dot returned to the studio. Randy Alpert, the guy who wrote “Rise” (performed by Herb Alpert) was sampled for the song, tells the story like this:
“I asked Puffy, in 1996 when he first called me concerning using ‘Rise’ for ‘Hypnotize,’ why he chose the ‘Rise’ groove. He told me that in the summer of 1979 when he was I think 10 years old the song was a huge hit everywhere in New York and ‘Rise’ along with Chic’s ‘Good Times’ were ‘The Songs’ that all the kids were dancing and roller skating to that summer. He had always remembered that summer and that song. When he first played the loop for Biggie, Biggie smiled and hugged him.”
Mase – “Feel So Good” (1997)
Mase can thank D-Dot for one of the biggest singles of his career. At D.C. Homecoming in ’96, DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat” was in full effect and Puffy wanted to redo the song, so he begged D-Dot to produce it.
“I just looped it up,” recalled D-Dot. “Ma$e came in, wrote the first three verses. Puff came back like, ‘D-Dot I need it to be happy, friendly.’ I just happened to be working in the other room with Kelly Price. I asked Kelly, ‘Can you help me with this.’ She came in an hour or two later, she sang it to me. [It was] more catchy than anything I did. That’s the perfect example of Puff being a producer. He didn’t actually sit down and make the beat, but when I sent him that song, he heard Kelly’s vocals. Now Ma$e has a clearer picture on how to write. So Ma$e came back with three more verses and those are the ones you heard.”
Check out this Best of D-Dot playlist below to get ready for #BeInspired!