Lil Wayne's current single is one of the biggest songs from Tha Carter III, but the Fireman almost didn't get "Got Money" — the record was originally intended to be a Pitbull collaboration with T-Pain.
"Shout-out to Pitbull, he helped us put it together," Skillz — of the production team behind the track, Play N Skillz — said of the cut. "It's the biggest record out right now, and we're making it rain."
"I did the record back when I was on TVT [Records], and unfortunately TVT didn't clear the song," Pitbull explained recently in Houston.
"That's a crazy story," Play, the more vocal of the duo, said Monday. "We went to the West Coast and demoed the record with the skeleton hook on the track. ... Going a little further back than that, when we first made the beat in New York, [the studio] lost the beat. Skillz is a big melody guy, so the next morning he came back and remade the melody. We remade the beat in five to 10 minutes."
Play N Skillz sat on the hook of "Got Money" for three months, until they began working on Pitbull's The Boatlift album in Miami. They played Pit the beat, and he went wild.
"He jumped on top of the couch and was going crazy," Play added. "He was like, 'Man, I'mma get T-Pain or Akon on the record.' " Obviously it didn't work out for Pit, but "Got Money" went through a few more MCs on its way to Wayne.
"We played it for Slim Thug; Slim didn't record it," Play explained. "Plies passed up on it. Rick Ross passed on it. Tum Tum recorded on it, but it didn't work out. Pain's people reached out and said, 'We're taking the song back with our hook. We're gonna give it to a really big artist.' They ended up telling me it was Wayne. No problem. A week later, I get an MP3, and Wayne is spazzing out on the record.
"Pain changed the hook up some," the producer continued. "It was the same topic — it was about the money, the original one. He just changed the hook up some."
Play N Skillz — whose past smashes include Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty" and Kia Shine's "Krispy" — are hoping the success of "Got Money" will continue their wave of hit records. They're scheduled to work with Fabolous and have already laid new tracks for their own sophomore album, Out Tha Box, as well as LPs by Hurricane Chris, Paul Wall, Slim from 112 and 50 Cent's upcoming Before I Self Destruct.
"Sha Money XL is very involved in the new project," Skillz said. "Everything is third-person with 50. He's not really a guy who goes in the studio with the producers. We send him the joints."
"Our rhythm on the drum pattern, we had to switch it up a little bit," Play said. "[50 Cent] said he wanted to go back to the boom-bap hard-core gangsta stuff. We tried to fit his style. I think 50 is gonna come back. He's a hitmaker. He's written a lot of hits for a lot of people. Sha told me [50's] getting back in the Get Rich or Die Tryin' mode. 50 is a person who doesn't like to know how the producer is. He just likes to go in with the music. But Sha Money XL is going crazy for the tracks we sent."