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The Eminem Effect

Slim Shady gives a boost to Hartford artists on his new record

By Robert Cooper

June 30, 2009

In May, Eminem released Relapse, his first album in five years. For the album's lead single, "We Made You," Em received some help from a team of producers from Hartford called In Ya Head Music, and from local singer Charmagne Tripp. Patting themselves on the back and resting on their laurels is not on the minds of the production team, or Tripp, as they plan on parlaying this opportunity onto bigger and better things, for themselves as well as for Hartford.

"We want Hartford and Connecticut to realize the enormity of the situation as far as the blessing that has been bestowed upon us," said Vishus, who's one-fourth of the production team. "We know that it's an opportunity for us to launch ourselves and do what we have to do to represent Connecticut."

The Broad Street studio's production team, along with Vishus, includes Belly, Colloso, and Doc Ish. They've been together for a year, and are also member of an emerging rap group in Hartford, the Abnormals.

"We've got different chapters [in this production team]," said Doc Ish. "We've got the hip-hop production, the writing, and R&B. Everybody has their own lane, and some of us have different value in different areas."

In the short time that they have been together, they have made beats for local acts like Devious, Sinister, and Gambino. Doc Ish has also worked with mainstream acts like Saigon, Quan, KRS-One, Talib Kweli, Nature, Joe Budden, and Bizarre. It was through Bizarre that the group got the opportunity to produce the song for Eminem, as it was originally created for and given to the chubby member of D12, Em's rap group, with whom he's performed and made records. The song the IYH team produced featured a hook written and sung by Tripp, a singer who is a popular attraction at numerous local nightclubs.

"We tried to outsource for different hook writers but I didn't like anything that they were writing," said Doc Ish. "One day Charmagne came in here to do a session and we were talking, so she asked me what the concept was. We started brainstorming and reminiscing about the house parties and remembering walking through the doors and the girls would all give you love. It was them who made you and gave you that popularity status. She was then like 'I got it.' She wrote it down and did the song in one take."

The song then made its way from Bizarre's hands to Mr. Slim Shady himself, who immediately wanted the song for his own. Tripp said she and Doc Ish knew the song was hot from the minute they finished it, but her excitement grew as things moved forward.

"At first I was excited, of course, but then I didn't know if this was really going down until the phone calls started coming in from the lawyers and the managers," said Tripp. "Papers were flying, faxes, e-mails, phones were going off. It all just happened so quickly."

Largely unknown outside Hartford, Tripp initially thought Eminem wouldn't use her original vocals on the track.

"A couple weeks before the song came out, I was at The Russell, performing. My phone kept going off, but I don't answer my phone during a gig," said Tripp. "Doc Ish told me to pick up the phone because they were trying to call me. So I called my manager the next day to see what was up, and they said, 'Yup, you got discovered.'"

Tripp and In Ya Head were unsure if the song would be a single or if it would just be buried somewhere on the CD. Shortly after, a buzz started about the song, which was soon also made into a music video. Although Tripp isn't featured in the video and Eminem begins the song by saying "Jessica Simpson, please sing the chorus" she has no hard feelings.

"I think it was a blessing to just get on the track," said a very gracious Tripp. "Just that alone I was happy about. Of course I would have loved to be in the video, but this is opening doors."

Doors are surely opening for Tripp as she has been receiving calls from all over the world asking her to write and sing, and she will be releasing her own CD this summer along with her backing band, Porter Soul. The future is also looking bright for In Ya Head Music as they will continue to produce songs for mainstream acts, and they have been asked to score the soundtrack for an upcoming Miles Davis biopic.

"Doc Ish is our quarterback and we have an awesome playbook," said Belly. "He's throwing us some passes right now and we have to receive them. But you'll know what the Abnormals are about when we hit the pavement."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Advocate.
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