Hartford, Connecticut producer Doc Ish has been a patient, decade-plus music industry veteran. He’s worked with artists like Royal Flush, Uncle Murda [click to read], Kool G Rap [click to read] and done writing and production for R&B groups in years past . When Eminem‘s Relapse releases on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope Records May 19, it’s presumed that Ish‘s career is about to change.
With additional production and mixing from none other than Dr. Dre, Ish told HipHopDX yesterday about the beat that is heard constantly on radio, video and Internet since the first week of April. Ish said, “I started off, with just the beat. When I made the beat, I originally heard OutKast over it [in my head]. I was thinking of a left-field type of hook – something big that would grab people’s attention with the music. So I tried a couple of different hooks and out-sourced [some writing] beyond my own camp, In Ya Head Productions.“
“I couldn’t really get the hook that I wanted. Then I got up with [vocalist] Charmane; she’s from Hartford, Connecticut too,” he continued, talking about his friend and collaborator for almost 10 years. Doc Ish says he followed what he was mentored to do with a track, as taught by producer Metamorphosis. “You’ve got to see a whole video in your mind – of course I didn’t see a video [as big as] Em did [laughing], but you have to see something. The whole idea I had is you walk into the parties, like the old house parties, and everybody loves you when you walk in the door. They really make you [defined by] what your popularity status is.”
Getting the song into Eminem‘s hands would typically be the hardest feat for any producer. A weird turn of events happened for Ish. “I started doing work with Bizarre from D12. I sent the song off to Bizarre,” he recalls to last November. “Bizarre loved it. I was at the club that night [promoting] a Jadakiss show and I couldn’t really hear [Bizarre on the phone]. He was like, ‘I sent it back.’” The finished track took a reported day, fast for any artist. Ish says of Bizarre‘s version, “I loved it. I was laughing my head off. You know Bizarre, he just real comical. The next day, I was listening to it, I was like, ‘This is hot, but we’ve got to make this bigger; we’ve got to make this radio.’ It was just so raunchy.” Giving the Detroit emcee notes on how to clean up the song for radio-play, Ish waited.
Bizarre called Doc Ish a week later with some surprising news “He said, ‘You’re not gonna believe this. Marshall wants the track.” Eminem reportedly heard his D12 partner’s work, and expressed interest in the song. The producer was in disbelief until management contacted him later that day, and within five minutes, the song was secured for Relapse. “Everything went down, and you hear it on the radio today. It’s just crazy,” Ish says proudly today, as his work has become the first single for the most anticipated album in 2009.
Asked about changes from the initial track, Ish reveals, “[Dr. Dre] changed it up, ’cause what I had done is I had made it a vinyl, sounding like something old. [Charmane is] very soulful. I made it sound like a sample.“
The timing of this is perfect for Ish. Having released an instrumental CD in 2004 that sold over 15,000 units self-released, the producer – who has lived in Texas, New York and Virginia in the course of his career, is ready to release another album. Titled Arbitration, the release features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, Talib Kweli, Max B, KRS-One, Inspectah Deck, Ransom, Saigon and Quan.
With full intent to release Arbitration this year, Ish says that Eminem‘s placement will make the process much easier, as he’s shopped to E1 and Amalgam Digital, among others. “When I was shopping for distribution, it was difficult. So I was just gonna wait for the [Relapse] album credits to come out.” Just since November, and especially April, that’s already taking place, “That in itself has opened up a lot of doors for what I’ve been doing lately.”
Those credits include scoring the Miles Davis 2010 bio-pic, a reality show feature with the likes of Babyface, and producing for Bizarre, Quan and Saigon.