The Story Of How ODB Recorded His Verse For Mariah Carey’s Remix Is Fantastic
In 1995 Mariah Carey scored her ninth #1 single with “Fantasy.” From her fifth album, Daydream, the song offered a nod to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, by sampling The Tom Tom Club’s “Genius Of Love,” a staple from New York City’s Downtown scene a dozen or so years prior. Written by Carey alongside producer Dave Hall, the remix re-tooled the song in a great way. Simply put, the Puffy-produced mix with O.D.B. and Mariah displayed an unlikely chemistry that worked like babies and pacifiers.
Puff Daddy spiced up the track (with heavy-handed help from Bad Boy Hitmen member Nashiem Myrick). At a time when he was working closely with Method Man thanks to Biggie’s “The What?” and another phenomenal remix for “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By,” Wu-Tang Clan was in the Rolodex. This time, it was Ol’ Dirty Bastard who got the call. At the top of ’95, Dirt McGirt had released his solo debut, Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. It debuted at #7, and showed one of the grimiest artists that Rap music had seen could be commercially successful without compromise.
It was that energy that Mariah, then-husband/executive Tommy Mottola, and producers wanted to tap into. In the last week, Fake Shore Drive founder (and music industry veteran) Andrew Barber pointed the Internet to a 2016 Billboard Mariah Carey retrospective, by Adelle Platon and Natalie Weiner, praising the story behind the remix collaboration. Today (November 7), Joe Budden read the quotes (audio embedded below) on his podcast (#194, “Mathematics”). The accounts originate from former Sony Records A&R representative at the time, Cory Rooney.
Recalling that Puff Daddy received $60,000 up front to remix the 1995 track, Rooney moves to speak about a lasting impression from O.D.B. Notably, Mariah—not Puffy sought out Russell Jones. Carey had enjoyed Ol’ Dirty’s role in Wu’s remix to “Anything.” At a time when Nashiem and Puffy were at odds with one another over the turnaround time, O.D.B. enters the story, as told by Cory Rooney.
“I reached out to O.D.B. and he wanted $15,000 to rap on the record. At the time, that was a lot of money, but it really wasn’t for Mariah Carey’s budget — so, no problem. 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 ass…and then whispering, ‘I love you.’ Then screaming again. This went on for an hour,” recalls the rep who was one of the closest staffers to Mariah at this time.”
Showing up around midnight, O.D.B. introduced himself by apologizing for the public phone argument to those in the studio. Then, the Brooklyn, New Yorker demanded luxury champagne and cigarettes. When staff suggested that it was too late to find a liquor store that may have the french bubbly, O.D.B. screamed on the staff. Worse, when they showed up with Dutch beer, the MC smashed a bottle on the studio floor.
Rooney continues, “At this point Mariah had been calling every hour on the hour, wanting to hear something over the phone. Tommy was pissed because Mariah was keeping him up, so he finally got on the phone with O.D.B. — and after that, finally we started to record. 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. He woke up and was like, ‘Yo, let me hear what I did so far.’ We played his one line back, he sang another line or two, and then slept for another hour. He would come up with a line, punch that in, go to sleep. He went to sleep three different times in the middle of trying to get that one verse done. If you listen to the record now, on his verse, you can hear that it’s punched in in pieces. He actually told the engineer, ‘Y’all better have your sh*t set and record it right, cause I’m not doing it twice.'”
Overnight, the studio crew went to work. They then played the results to Mariah Carey and her husband, who happened to be the Chairman & CEO of Sony. Both were very pleased. However, the mogul had additional input. “Tommy had a bright idea: let’s get O.D.B. back in the studio, and instead of just, ‘New York in the house,‘ do [a line] for every city. I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.'”
O.D.B. did return for an encore session, but not after demanding (and receiving) an additional $15,000 appearance fee. Again, O.D.B. made an impression on the studio staff—complete with removing food from his teeth, and taking off his shoes for an additional nap.
The mix warranted a video. Rooney continues, “We reached out to [Ol’ Dirty Bastard again], and he wanted another $15,000 dollars. No problem. So I sent a car to his house and he drank every friggin’ thing in the limo, showed up at Rye Playland [in New York], and went to his trailer. I had asked him, ‘Do you need the stylist to buy clothes for you?’ He said, ‘Nah, this is Hip-Hop — I’m just rocking some jeans and Timbs.’ [That day], he was in the trailer, in and out of consciousness, when I said, ‘We’re getting ready to do a scene.’ He said, ‘I don’t got no clothes, how am I going to do a video if I ain’t got nothing to wear?’ I started screaming at him.”
Motolla wanted to appease the guest talent. “Tommy told us take my corporate credit card to the mall. O.D.B. disappeared for a minute, and we found him in a store trying to buy Louis Vuitton luggage. He said, ‘I’m going to use it for a scene.’ He came back [to the set] with all these bags of Tommy Hilfiger clothes and Timberlands.” Rooney continues, “It was finally time for him to do his scene, and I promise you, he put on a pair of jeans and Timbs, and said, ‘I’m not going to wear a shirt, I don’t need no clothes.’ I wanted to shoot him.”
However, while Dirt McGirt may have fleeced Sony out of at least $45,000 in fees and plenty of unworn clothing and designer luggage, the beloved MC (who passed away in 2003) did suggest some art direction. It was O.D.B.’s idea to tie up a clown to a light-pole during his sequence.
Read: Billboard‘s “We Belong Together: Mariah Carey’s Collaborators Share Untold Stories Behind 8 Classics” by Adelle Platon and Natalie Weiner.
#BonusBeat: Tune to 45:00 to hear Joe Budden read the story on The Joe Budden Podcast: