Exclusive: Producer Twilite Tone Talks Working With Kanye West On “Mercy”
When it comes to Chicago producers, Anthony “Twilite Tone” Khan is a legend. He’s the man responsible for crafting Common’s sound, producing the first three albums from the rapper, gave No ID his name, and produced for Kanye West.
As he goes into the next phase of his career, which will include scoring films, the producer is still at work on his music feats, producing tracks off the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer, including the single “Mercy.”
With Cruel Summer under his belt, Tone will head to Hawaii soon to work with West on his forthcoming album. In an exclusive interview with Hip-Hop Wired, Tone explained how he creates musical greatness, and what the man in the beginning of the song is saying. “He quotes a verse from the Bible and then he goes into you know, ‘Don’t test me,’ that whole Jamaican, dancehall, don’t test me and my sound,” Tone tells us. “Then he says right before the other hook comes in, ‘Believe me.’ So he’s saying the biblical verse to back him up, to give him this power, for lack of a better term, this spiritual power and then he goes into bragging, and then he says believe me.” [Check out an in depth look at the use of Super Beagle's "Dust A Sound Bwoy" sample over at Large Up.]
The general idea for the track was a collaborative effort between West and Tone. “The inspiration initially was based upon a conversation Ye and I had, and him playing me the track, um. That was how can we do something unusual, uncanny.
“It was just like ‘Yo what do you think?’ and I was like well, the way the drums were before I was like, ‘Yo I think you should change the drums and retune them so this doesn’t sound like regular trap.’ Then we just got to talking and I just thought, ‘What could I do that would just be counter establishment? Or counter cliché, like what could I put on there.?’ For some reason, I heard that dude [in the beginning of the track], I heard him, I had a vision. I heard that ‘Well it’s the weeping and the moaning’ and I was like ‘Oh!’ Then it just literally, I hate to sound so like comic book or some sh-t, but literally I was like ‘Oh my God,’ like I had chills. So then, I was invited to the studio. I talked him, maybe that was Friday, or Saturday, We met up.
“The next day he invited me to the studio, and he was there and a couple of his crew, and I played the sample and everybody froze, everybody paused. Like everybody. It’s just that everybody was keyed to it. and Ye was like ‘Oh snap,’ and he started hitting the buttons on it. The rest is, as you would say, history or our story. ”
Cruel Summer entered the charts in second place, falling behind singer P!nk.
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Photo: Primary Violator