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What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by rocafan on 12/01/2003 12:51:00 AM

His 1st(and maybe last) Jay Song

Everything is still too surreal for Nicholas "Aqua" McCarrell. Just
two years ago he was an intern at MTV News, making BETA tape copies
of news footage and transcribing interviews with artists such as Jay-
Z. This year, he helped Jay make The Black Album.

"Yeah, sometimes I think I'm on 'Punk'd,' " Aqua said last week in
his old stomping ground, the MTV News room in New York. "MTV was a
great way for me to decide what I wanted to do. It shows you a lot
of different perspectives of the music industry and it made me
realize I didn't want to be involved in the corporate ladder and sit
behind a desk all day."

The 21-year-old still can't believe how his life is turning out.
After his internship ended in August 2001, Nick, who's gone by the
name "Aqua" since he was in ninth grade, returned to his hometown of
Los Angeles, where he realigned with his childhood friend and
Capitol Records A&R man Joe "3H" Weinberger. 3H shares production
credit with his friend and brokered the deal for Aqua's beat to
surface on The Black Album, on the track "My 1st Song."

"We'd been doing lots of money-making ventures all throughout high
school, from party-throwing to concerts to things I can't even talk
about on the record," Aqua explained about his beatmaking
origins. "But I started out DJing and then I realized that spinning
the records was not really where you generate the most income. I
figured I wanted to be the guy who made the beat on the record
that's being spun."

Aqua compiled his first beat CD in January 2002 and started to
generate a buzz in the industry, especially in the Roc-A-Fella camp.
A friendship was fostered with track guru Kanye West, and Beanie
Sigel rapped on a bunch of Aqua tracks. Even though those records
have yet to be released, Roc A&R rep Joshua "Hip Hop" Kyambo kept
Aqua's craftsmanship in mind when it was time for Jay-Z to work on
The Black Album.

"I get a call from Hip Hop and he was like, 'Have Aqua go to the
studio right now and track [the beat],' " 3H remembered about the
nod he got four months ago.

"It didn't hit me at all," Aqua said about his excitement at the
prospect of his record making the cut. "I just kept living as
normal." He did have a slew of other projects in the interim, like
producing records for DJ Whoo Kid's upcoming compilation album,
which will feature guest appearances by everyone from the G-Unit to
Missy Elliott to Beanie Sigel.

Reality set in over the summer when Aqua had the chance to meet the
Jiggaman right before Jay got onstage in Vegas during the Rock the
Mic Tour.

"We had a cool 10-minute conversation about the music and where he
wanted to go with the song and different things he was trying out,"
Aqua said. "It was a deep creative talk. I was so impressed by the
way he spoke to me, like there was nothing condescending about it. I
mean, I'm a 21-year-old white kid, I have red hair, I don't really
look like your typical hip-hop producer, so most of the time people
might laugh, think I'm a runner, ask me to go get them coffee.

"One of the coolest parts about [the song] it is that it's
entitled: 'My 1st Song,' " Aqua continued. "There's a lot of
underlying symbolic meaning going on."

"That's actually the last song on the album, but it's really the
first song," Jay clarified further. "It's about having the same
focus throughout your whole career, about me treating my first song
like my last and my last song like my first."

You can say that musicmaking is in Aqua's blood. His father, Ron
McCarrell, worked in Marketing and A&R on such albums as Michael
Jackson's Thriller. Besides working with rappers, Aqua also scores
music for the "The George Lopez Show."

*' treat my first like my last and my last like my everything!!!!'---fittin aint it*

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