Masta Ace was already a hip hop prodigy by the time Sittin' On Chrome came out in 1995, but the album marked a turning point in the Brooklyn MC's career. Under the banner of his collective Masta Ace Incorporated, which included Lord Digga, Paula Perry and Leschea, Sittin' On Chrome reached No. 19 on Billboard's Top R&B/Rap Album chart, spawned three hot singles and took residence in the Billboard Top 200 for months.
Now, 20 years after the album first dropped, Ace sits with WatchLOUD to reflect on the making of the record and his beginnings in hip hop as a student of DJ Premier.
Ace says he concieved of Sittin' On Chrome "sort of in the middle of SlaughtaHouse. We were on the second single I guess, I decided to do this remix to 'Jeep A** N***' which turned out to be this song called 'Born To Roll.' The B-side track "blew up crazy" he notes. The video started getting "crazy spins," reaching No. 1 on The Box and [an X-rated version] on Luke Skywalker's late night video show.
He also reveals the story behind the hit "INC Ride," saying, "the version that everybody knows is really the remix. People don’t realize that the original version of that song was made by a Louis Phat Kat. His version was more Dilla-ish. It was way underground but in a good way."
Elsewhere in the interview, Ace talks about learning how to sample from Preem himself. "Somewhere around ’91 or ’92 DJ Premier told me which equipment he had and I bought the exact same stuff," he recalls. "He showed me how to basically work it. I actually still have the notes that I took the day he showed me how to sample something, how to grab it, to truncate it, etc. I have all of those notes that I took at his crib that day."
Sittin' On Chrome turns 20 Saturday (May 2).
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(Photo: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)