As part of Grammy weekend, BMI held their annual “How I Wrote That Song” panel, one that included Snoop Dogg, B.o.B and Busta Rhymes, among others. Each artist on stage shared stories behind some of their most acclaimed hits, describing the process and success along the way, with guidance from moderator Catherine Brewton, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations.
B.o.B discussed his most celebrated records, “Airplanes,” “Nothin’ On You” and “Don’t Let Me Fall.” He even broke out into an impromptu acoustic guitar version of “Don’t Let Me Fall” for the Roxy club crowd in Los Angeles, California. He explained that he approaches each song by trying to bring his own “swag,” even if the songs are all different. He also expressed how many of his cuts tend to foreshadow moments in his life, even adding that “Airplanes” is now more relevant to his life than it was when it was originally recorded. But B.o.B wasn’t the only emcee in attendance.
Busta Rhymes also took time during Grammy weekend to attend the event and reminisce about his songwriting on records like “Scenario,” “Pass the Courvoisier,” “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check” and “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See.” Rhymes particularly reminisced on A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario,” sharing that each emcee was involved in friendly but intense competition while writing for the track. He explained that he refused to share his verse until it was time to record his vocals. When he recorded, he said, he slipped on his words and ad-libbed through the error, something that stayed on the final take and something many feel was done on purpose (“uh – pardon me – uh – as I come back”). Busta also shared that several versions of “Scenario” were done including versions with verses from De La Soul and Chris Lighty.
Snoop Dogg, also known now as Snoop Lion, sat next to Busta the entire time, a cloud of smoke hovering above him. He shared stories behind “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” “Beautiful,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and “Young, Wild & Free.” Of “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” he explained, “I wrote that song in jail. I actually performed it for Dr. Dre over the phone in jail. He was like, ‘Alright nigga, when you get out, we gon’ lay this shit down.’ It wasn’t even that music though. It was a whole ‘nother track that I had actually did it to the first time but once he heard my vocals in the studio, he was like, ‘I gotta come up with another beat.’ He went and got that Leon Haywood sample, ‘I Wanna Do Somethin’ Freaky to You.’ He flipped that and there you have it.”
Others on hand were songwriters Evan Bogart and Luke Laird, who also shared their stories behind hits and their appreciation for Hip Hop. The event is the latest in BMI’s “How I Wrote That Song” series. Last year, HipHopDX was present when RZA, Run DMC’s Rev Run and DJ Khaled shared stories behind how they wrote and/or produced their songs. The event is held as a pre-Grammy event in anticipation of the Grammy Awards ceremony, which takes place Sunday evening in Los Angeles.