DJ Daryl, who crafted a sound known as “Bay Area mob music,” helped foster the musical legacies of Long Beach’s Snoop Dogg, New Orleans’ Mystikal and Master P, and, of course, 2Pac — a then-young, aspiring rapper.
“People don’t know my face,” said the producer, born Daryl L. Anderson, who created the sound bed for 2Pac’s classic 1993 single “Keep Ya Head Up.” “They know my sound. They say to me, ‘I got these beats, dude,’ and they’re mine. It’s funny, for a long time, I didn’t realize my sound influenced a new generation.”
“Keep Ya Head Up” was recently certified as Diamond, indicating 10 million in sales, by the RIAA. The hit single was re-released in 1998 in a 2Pac greatest hits album, in 2007 for a 2Pac box set and in 2008 as a single.
“Tupac had heard some of our music,” said DJ Daryl about meeting the rap legend. “We didn’t know who he was. We were working with a friend and he asked to be on the album.
“Our group 415 was recording with Digital Underground. In our city, we were well-known. Tupac was there carrying equipment. … We didn’t know he was a rapper. We wore bandanas and people thought we were Crips,” DJ Daryl said with a laugh of the early days with Tupac.
The group 415 included rappers Richie Rich and D-Loc and producers J.E.D. and DJ Daryl. They independently released “41Fivin” in 1990. In 1991 DJ Daryl co-produced group member Richie Rich’s solo album “Don’t Do It” with 415 member J.E.D. They signed a deal with Priority Records and released “Nu N-ggaz on Tha Blokk,” which turned out to be their last project together.
“[Tupac] got a deal … He asked me to produce his album,” DJ Daryl said about how he became one of the producers of Tupac’s second album. “For ‘Keep Ya Head Up,’ he didn’t want to rush that song. We were in Studio A and B … we are in B and Yo-Yo and DJ Pooh was in A. We found out later they were using the same beat — same sample. When they realized it, it was a competition. [Tupac] called a friend to sing the hook — Dave Hollister. They called him ‘Black angel.’ He did something in that studio I never seen before … straight rap, no ad libs.”
DJ Daryl said he has been working on a documentary and movie script for the past two years about his time with Tupac. He also produced Tupac’s “Troublesome 21” before his death, of which nine of the 14 songs were released by Interscope Records.
Go to www.A1YoLA.com for more information about the producer.
Eunice Moseley has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with her The Pulse of Entertainment column (www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com). She is also a public relations strategist and business management consultant at Freelance Associates, and is promotions director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times.