November 14, 2012


Crate Diggers: DJ Toomp Explains Producing T.I.'s "What You Know"

As part of our "Crate Diggers" series, Fuse recently flew to Atlanta to interview DJ Toomp, the man behind bangers like T.I.'s "What You Know" and Kanye's West's "Good Life." Toomp granted us access to his sizable record collection and explained how he started taking the hobby seriously in the first place.

"What made me understand the significance of collecting was a Willie Hutch record, The Mack soundtrack," Toomp says. "Around 1990, my homeboy was like, 'That's a classic album.' I even had Superfly, brand new and fresh. He was like, 'I know someone who paid $30 for this record, and you have a fresh one right here.' 

"That's when I realized the value of record collecting," he says. "I started hitting up pawn shops. I've gotten a lot of classic albums just from having the balls to go into some folks' basements. I've been in some basements with big ass rats and spiders, and you have to run out of there. And you have to be sure you don't take a record that has roach eggs in it."

He also told us how he made the beat for T.I.'s "What You Know" single. "'What You Know' is from that Roberta Flack song, 'Gone Away.' I used to love this one part. It used to bring tears to my eyes. So I remembered that melody." In the clip above, Toomp describes recreating the melody in his studio and using it for the track that became one of T.I.'s biggest hits.

"When Tip heard it, he had the hook in like 10 minutes," Toomp recalls. "It was straight to the booth and he killed it."

For more about Toomp's record-diving adventures and his story about a 2 Live Crew groupie, check out the full interview above.