The Madness Behind Maestro and Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang

 

So maybe there’s a reason that the new Clipse Presents Re-Up Gang album is so bad, after all.

Rumors circulated that the group had actually linked up with some solid producers while initially recording the album. But the label wasn’t willing to pay top dollar for the soundbeds that were already crafted, so all of the disc’s acapellas were handed over to production group Sleepwalkers, who went on to mollify their lyrics with subpar offerings. While this would make perfect sense to anyone who has heard the album, I still didn’t have any verification to such rumors.

But an AIM conversation with homie/HipHopDX Producer’s Corner alumnus Maestro (Lil Wayne’s “3 Peat,” “Kush,” etc., amongst other songs) was particularly enlightening. He’s related to someone who works with the group, and he said that he was given the original We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3 sessions to swap in his beats for the originals. But he declined to work on the project after understanding the approach they were taking and seeing the paltry budget it had.

“Once I heard the whole shit was remixes, I backed away. I didn’t wanna disappoint the real Clipse fans who were in love with the original joints,” he admits. “I was fresh off three big checks from Wayne and the album release, and I was feeling myself. And they came waving very, very short dollars.”

He maintains that the budget for the album was so low that it was all but destined to turn out the way it did. “Not saying that there aren’t dope cats who don’t charge, but they didn’t have access to them,” he says. While he’s uncertain how many others were offered the gig after he was, the result is clear: one of rap’s most consistent, talented groups releasing what’s arguably the most surprisingly disappointing album of the year.

The album’s iTunes bonus track, “Zen,” is produced by Maestro, though. He did this song way after he was approached to do the album, after having a slight change of heart about the project after seeing the hype it had.

“The fans wanted [the album] bad, and all the shit I had in the pipeline was months away, so I needed something to keep my name out,” Maestro admits. He did the beat in 30 minutes and sent it in, but it was too late to make the physical CD release. “I had already fucked off the whole joint, and the official Sony release is still months away too, so I had to have something new hit the streets. I had other hot Weezy shit I could’ve leaked out, but I figured I’d hold on to that, and do a Clipse joint, because I had already been mentioning it in press, and I had to make good on my word.”

Maestro says that he and his relative actually fell out a bit because of the album situation, and that he regrets not taking advantage of the opportunity.

“He knew it would be a great look and a super lead-up to my joint on the Clipse album” he says. “But I admit, I dropped the ball, caught up in the Weezy hype. … I had heat and full creative control, but I allowed the business to get in the way of my art. It’ll never happen again, though.”

P.S.: Check out Maestro’s blog here. Dude has some interesting stuff on there, whether it’s his own studio experiences or general blogger banter. Also, a must-visit for aspiring producers – they can buy kits of his most popular beats and study them to step their own game up.

Bonus:

Another last minute song that Maestro did for the Re-Up Gang album featured Joss Stone. However, it didn’t make the album because they couldn’t clear Stone’s appearance on the track. UPDATE: Here’s an unmixed version of the song (download here). Hopefully the finished version, which Maestro says has live bass, will see the light of day.