Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick Talks Uncle Luke and Producing Pitbull's First Record

Uncle Luke and Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick backstage at LIV last year.
Uncle Luke and Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick backstage at LIV last year.
Courtesy of DJ Spin

Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick produced "Scarred," "It's Your Birthday," and "Raise the Roof."

And he was just 12 years old when he first saw 2 Live Crew in concert at the Miami Baseball Stadium.

He'd known the group's music since age 11, when a buddy from school showed him the "Throw the D" dance while walking down the street on the way home from school.

By 15, he was producing his own tracks and touring around the country as the DJ for the group Young & Restless ("Poison Ivy"). At 17, he found himself in Luke Records, where Fresh Kid Ice gave him a shot to prove himself. That led to producing Pitbull's first record. Here's what DJ Spin has to say about it, in his own words.

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"Pitbull had hooked up with Luke back in like 2000 or 2001, and Pit gave me a CD and said, 'I want you to make this beat for me.'

"Actually, first, we did 'Lollipop.' That's the single Luke put out, and it's featuring Pit and Lil Zane. I think it's Pit's first release on a label. He was mixtaping at the time, using other people's beats and rapping over them. Doing his own verses.

"So when Luke heard that, he brought him on and featured him on 'Lollipop,' which was a cool record. And after that, Luke said, 'Bring some tracks,' and we went back and forth and came up with 'Riding It Raw.'

Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick Talks Uncle Luke and Producing Pitbull's First Record

See also: Miami's Top Ten Hip-Hop DJs of All Time


"Pit and I spoke about what song ideas he had and how I could help bring them to life.

"'Riding It Raw' uses a real popular sample that everybody Spanish knows, Joe Arroyo's 'No le Pegue a la Negra.' Pit had stepped to me with this record, played it for me, and said, 'I want you to hook this beat up. It's a real popular Spanish song. One of my favorites.'

"So I made the beat, we recorded it, and Luke started circulating it through the record pools, but it never really came out. There was no promotion behind it. And then a few weeks later, Pit called me up like, 'Yo, I need my CD back.' [laughs] So I got it to him, and that was that.

Darren "DJ Spin" Rudnick Talks Uncle Luke and Producing Pitbull's First Record

"But it all started with Fresh Kid Ice bringing me into the label. He noticed I had something, some talent, and he helped me take it to the next level. I know a lot of people that he brought in the game and was getting them in different situations. He had several groups he put together.

"I did a song called '(Let Me See Ya) Booty Drop' with Fresh Kid Ice, featuring MC Madness, for Vision Records. And I still hear that song on the radio today. I also did a track called 'Legs Up' with the Groundhoggz, which was Flo Rida's group before he blew up. Flo was Fresh Kid Ice's hype man.

"He's the one that really got me in the door. I ended up producing a track for Luke called 'Slippery When Wet' with Terror Squad and Big Pun before he passed away. I also did 'Scarred,' which was Trick Daddy's first time on record. I did 'Raise the Roof,' which people are still doing the dance for today, sold 800,000 copies, and had a video with Ice Cube and Puff Daddy. 'Raise the Roof 'was a number-one Billboard hot rap single. 'It's Your Birthday' was in the movie Chasing Amy, and we did the theme song for the Jerry Springer movie Ringmaster. I got gold and platinum RIAA-certified plaques, and I'm glad to be part of that era of music history!

"When Luke did his vocals on my tracks, he had his own ideas and was very creative in his performance. He was always open to suggestions but knew what he wanted to hear, and he always came up with something catchy. No other artist could do it the way Luke did. And 2 Live Crew are legends that definitely put their mark in history.

"And from '94 to 2000, I did most of my stuff with Trick Daddy, like his track with Twista, 'Could It Be,' and 'Back in the Days,' which Slip-N-Slide forgot to give me credit for on the release and had to put a special note about it on the next record.

"A lot of it has to do with Fresh Kid Ice giving me an opportunity. To this day, I'm really close with all of 2 Live Crew: Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis, Luke, and I'm still cool with Hobbs even though we are not really in contact anymore. I was at the reunion show at LIV, and it was great to see them together. I would love to see them do more together, and I think it will happen. I got love for all of them and respect for all the Miami bass artists.

"This is a genre of music that will never be forgotten!"

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