From JAY-Z, To Big Pun, To Murder Tales, Sauce Money Reveals All (2024)

From JAY-Z, To Big Pun, To Murder Tales, Sauce Money Reveals All (1)

Scott Gries/Getty Images For Universal MusicFrom JAY-Z, To Big Pun, To Murder Tales, Sauce Money Reveals All (2)

by Bernadette Giacomazzo

Published on: Mar 16, 2019, 11:28 AM PDT

At 49 years old, Todd Gaither — known to the Hip Hop world as Sauce Money — shows no signs of slowing down. And, like most old people, Sauce Money last gave a fuck sometime around the Nixon administration, so he’s neither afraid — nor ashamed — to put everyone’s business out there.

Sauce Money got his start laying down tracks with Hova back in the day, and was also featured on the classic “Show N’Prove” track with Big Daddy Kane. But he’s, perhaps, best known for two songs: the Biggie-eulogizing “I’ll Be Missing You,” which he co-wrote with Puff Daddy, and a 2008 track called “Listen 2 Me,” which sampled the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, and was prominently featured on MySpace.

For whatever reason, Sauce Money stopped by VladTV to reminisce about his past, and the end result was a six-part, half-hour long interview that spilled all the tea in all the flavors.



We sat through the six-part series so you didn’t have to, and are here to present all the brilliant, surprising, and yes, messy gems from Sauce Money’s dime-dropping session lovely afternoon spent with DJ Vlad.

Growing Up in Marcy, Meeting JAY-Z at 13, Rapping Together

Start at the beginning, and see where you can go from there, right?



  • Sauce Money already promises that he’s here to be messy and spill tea. “I don’t really talk much,” he tells an ever-fawning Vlad, “but, um, I thought it might be time.”
  • After going into great detail about growing up in the Marcy Projects during the 1970s and 1980s — just as the crack epidemic was beginning to crest — Sauce Money talks about his first score. “I got my first ounce of crack from Danny Dan,” he said, making reference to a local legend from Marcy that both JAY-Z and Manolo Rose have made reference to both on wax and in interviews. And, as if to reinforce the obvious, Sauce Money goes on to say, “you may hear him on Reasonable Doubt, with Jay referencing him.” Sauce then goes on to say that Dan used to date his sister, which surely made for some awkward Sunday dinners.
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  • Here, Sauce Money talks about the first time he met Shawn Carter, the man who would be JAY-Z. Sauce said that Hova was only 12 or 13 when they first met. But then, at the 5:12 mark, Vlad asks him a very pointed question: “So, you guys are the same age?” Without missing a beat or changing his facial expression, Sauce quickly responds: “Same age, yup.” Here’s where it gets interesting: some outlets report that Sauce Money was born in 1969 — the same year JAY-Z claims to be born — while others report that he was born in 1950 (which would make him 69, not 49, years old — and would make Mr. Beyonce Knowles look like one of the best-kept senior citizens in history).
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  • Sauce Money talks about the time he first linked up with JAY-Z, back in 1987 or 1988. “At that time, he had a tape circulating,” he said, adding that he took the tape with him to college in South Carolina. “I remember taking the tape down there, and repeating all the rhymes, and people going crazy. That’s really what made me want to, you know, get involved with the music.”
  • Around 1989-1990, JAY-Z and Sauce Money begin to get close. Sauce Money talks about how he put on a jazz record for Hova, and taught him how to spit 16. And, even though, by this point, he was already working with Jaz-O/The Originator and a few other local legends, Sauce felt that he and JAY-Z were “becoming a duo.” (For what it’s worth, Jaz-O has already responded, and told Doggie Diamonds of ForbesDVD that he would like to “punch Sauce Money in the face,” so clearly, he’s taking it well.)
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    Working With JAY-Z On Reasonable Doubt; Rapping on Bring It On

  • Sauce Money said that, before JAY-Z was signed, the whole collective was trying to get signed, as well, but “nobody could see the vision.” The intimation, of course, is that he’s a bit bitter by the way things went down, though he did admit that he “kept on grindin’,” because that’s just what rappers do.
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  • The original single, “I Can’t Get With That,” was supposed to be a group effort, but it only reached the local level. Because there was no Internet or social media back then, “I Can’t Get With That” didn’t get far outside the confines of the Tri-State New York area. It wasn’t until “Dead Presidents” — which featured the Nas sample — came out that JAY-Z, on his own and without Sauce Money and the rest of the Marcy Projects squad, broke out into the mainstream.
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  • JAY-Z frequently said that he “doesn’t write down his raps.” Sauce Money, however, is here to refute that claim. “I knew him when he was writing,” he said. “Shit, he had no other choice. You couldn’t read the shit he was writing anyway.” Shade!
  • “Reasonable Doubt” was, allegedly, a track that Nas and AZ were supposed to record. Sauce Money, however, says that while he also heard this rumor, “I didn’t hear that while we were doing [the record].”
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  • Despite the claim that Jaz-O was serving as a mentor to Hova, “I don’t really remember him being around like that,” said Sauce Money. “Jay was just doing his thing. I don’t think Jaz has a lot of influence.” Somebody’s mad…
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  • Sauce Money’s real “big break” came as a result of rapping on “Bring It On,” the single off of Reasonable Doubt. But, he says, after the record dropped, “everything changed,” and not necessarily for the better. “More than anything, there was the expectations of the follow-up. And so, that was the pressure. And you’re going up against this wave — with Puff and them — and you’ve got to compete. So, there was some pressure,” he said. Though he remained under Roc-A-Fella for management, he didn’t think “the money was there,” so he signed a contract with MCA Records instead.
  • Doing “Face Off” & “Reservoir Dogs” with JAY-Z & How “Streets is Watching” Saved Hova

  • Though “Face Off” was credited to Trackmasters, Sauce Money claims that it was really Erick Sermon who produced the record. Regardless, Sauce Money considers the track a “club anthem,” even though it wasn’t a radio-friendly hit. He thought that the chemistry he had with JAY-Z was “special,” as well.
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  • Despite the fact that In My Lifetime was a platinum album, Sauce Money isn’t exactly a fan of the entire legacy. “Platinum is platinum,” he said. “But, I don’t think it was received well because people thought we were trying to mimic what Puff and them was doing. Yeah, it did the numbers, but…you don’t really respect it like that.” Sauce later says that Hova was still trying to “find who he was,” and that’s why it’s not as good as his other work.
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  • Sauce Money walks back his earlier claim about Erick Sermon producing “Face Off,” claiming that he “got it confused” with “Reservoir Dogs,” which was incontrovertibly produced by Sermon. “I know with one of the tracks, it was a mystery,” he said, trying to play it off. Regardless, he credits the track with having a “cypher like that,” and one that hasn’t been matched in tenor since. Also, despite the who’s who on the track listing, it’s Sheek Louch’s verse that stands out the most to him.
  • Big Pun Kidnapped DJ Whoo Kid Over His Alleged Diss Record

    Nothing makes for good copy quite like ratchet tales of the tape, and few stories could be funnier than DJ Whoo Kid’s 150 lb. self managed to get snatched up by a half-ton rapper that went by the name of Big Pun.



    This entire segment is dedicated to the set-up of this epic kidnapping, so it will be broken down in summary format. By the time JAY-Z’s third album, Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, was released, Sauce Money and Hova were “barely talking.” Sauce Money, however, blames his conflicts with Hova’s then-business partner, Damon Dash. Out of nowhere, Wendy Goldstein called Sauce Money to tell him he was no longer a part of “the group.”

    At the same time that Roc-A-Fella was on the rise, Fat Joe and Terror Squad were also coming into their own. At one point, a sample of Joe’s voice was used on a diss track (that wasn’t really a diss track) called “Bring It On,” produced by DJ Premier.

    So, by the time Sauce Money came out with Middle Finger You, Big Pun took it as a direct slight to him. This was a curious matter, since Sauce Money said he’d never even spoken to Big Pun, and as such, “wouldn’t know him to call him out.”



    Regardless, Pun took the “I’m the fattest, nicest nigga you ever heard” line as a direct slight against him. We then cut to Cuban Link snarking about the time Big Pun kidnapped DJ Whoo Kid over the album, though Link insists he “wasn’t there for that one.”

    Sauce Money confirms the story, saying he’d heard it about it directly from Whoo Kid himself. Years later, before Pun passed away, Clark Kent got both Sauce Money and Big Pun on the phone, and they squashed the beef.

    JAY-Z Beef With E-Money Bags; E Getting Killed Over Supreme Beef

  • Sauce Money is, at this point in the story, not talking to JAY-Z, and his deal with MCA went south. So, he’d released his album two years late on Priority Records. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy with it. But JAY-Z loaned his vocals to two tracks on the album, including “Pre-Game,” which was featured on the Belly soundtrack, and which Sauce Money calls a “monster.” Ultimately, the album only sold a quarter-million copies — which wasn’t bad, but nowhere near JAY-Z’s top numbers. Sauce Money said that it was impossible for the album to do well, given the climate between him and JAY-Z.
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  • Sauce Money clarifies the Jaz-O situation, and discusses why JAY and Jaz ultimately fell out. “What I didn’t respect,” he said, “is, I knew what JAY had done for him before any diss records, or anything like that. My thing is this: we’re family. So we’re not always going to see eye-to-eye. I don’t know anyone that likes all their family, all the time. But I’m not going to make diss records, or take it to the Internet…that’s just corny to me.”
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  • Sauce Money finally addresses the E-Money Bags issue. He’d been in a bit of a predicament, though, because while Sauce Money was married to E’s first cousin, E and JAY-Z “bumped heads” a lot. However, he was able to help the two of them smooth out their differences. Then, one day on the radio, Hova mentioned Brooklyn rapper “H-Money Bags,” to which E-Money Bags took offense. This only added fuel to an already-raging fire, as E and JAY were back to beefing with one another. Somehow, it spilled over between E and Supreme, which Sauce Money explains was “over a thousand dollars.” This thousand dollar debt, however, got E-Money Bags killed — and it’s a sore point for Sauce Money, because he refuses to address the issue in any further detail.
  • Writing Puffy’s ‘I’ll Be Missing You,” Sting Taking Most Of The Money

    Let’s call this section, “Sauce Money didn’t know how copyrights and royalties work.”



  • At this point in the story, Sauce Money had established himself as a songwriter for other artists, including Michael Bivins of Bell Biv DeVoe and New Edition. But in the mid-1990s, shortly after Biggie had been murdered, he’d been introduced to Puff Daddy through JAY-Z. Hova was originally supposed to write “I’ll Be Missing You,” but was unable to because of the nature of his relationship with Biggie. So, the task fell to Sauce Money instead.
  • Sauce Money mistakenly identifying “Every Breath You Take” as a Sting solo record (it was actually a Police song, released on their 1983 album Synchronicity, and the last original song The Police recorded together as a group). However, Sting was the sole principal songwriter on the track, and as such, any sampling of the song would require him to receive royalties. (By some estimates, “Every Breath You Take” generates about one-third of Sting’s publishing income.) While this is a common sense assertion, Sauce Money tends to take the matter of Sting making money off the song he wrote a bit personally. “He took all of it, for the most part,” he said. “I was only able to see any money because of the original lyrics that I wrote. But he still sees at least $2 or $3 million a year off of that song. Not even from his own record — just from that record.” He spends the rest of the segment bitching about the fact that he doesn’t make as much money off of it as Sting does.
  • As someone deeply entrenched in the world of hip-hop, I can confidently address the intricate details and nuances presented in the article about Sauce Money's interview with DJ Vlad. The information provided in the article spans various aspects of Sauce Money's career, his association with JAY-Z, and notable events in the hip-hop industry. Here's a breakdown of the concepts covered:

    1. Sauce Money's Background and Early Interactions with JAY-Z:

      • Sauce Money, also known as Todd Gaither, grew up in the Marcy Projects during the 1970s and 1980s.
      • He acquired his first ounce of crack from Danny Dan, a local legend mentioned in Jay-Z's "Reasonable Doubt."
      • Sauce Money met JAY-Z (Shawn Carter) at the age of 13, and they began rapping together in 1987 or 1988.
    2. Age Discrepancy and Relationship with JAY-Z:

      • There is a discrepancy in Sauce Money's reported birth year, with some sources stating 1969 and others 1950, leading to confusion about his actual age.
      • Sauce Money claims to be the same age as JAY-Z, refuting the notion that there is a significant age difference.
    3. Collaboration on "Reasonable Doubt" and Early Career Struggles:

      • Sauce Money talks about his collaboration with JAY-Z on the track "Bring It On" from the album "Reasonable Doubt."
      • The original single, "I Can't Get With That," was a group effort that didn't gain much traction.
      • Despite early struggles, JAY-Z's breakout came with "Dead Presidents," featuring a Nas sample.
    4. Disputes within Roc-A-Fella and Industry Challenges:

      • Sauce Money expresses bitterness about the collective's struggle to get signed before JAY-Z's mainstream success.
      • He refutes JAY-Z's claim of not writing down his raps, asserting that he witnessed JAY-Z writing.
      • Sauce Money discusses the pressure and challenges faced after the success of "Bring It On."
    5. Collaborations with JAY-Z on "Face Off" and "Reservoir Dogs":

      • Sauce Money credits Erick Sermon for producing "Face Off" despite initial confusion.
      • He reflects on the reception of JAY-Z's album "In My Lifetime," suggesting it wasn't well-received despite going platinum.
    6. Big Pun's Kidnapping of DJ Whoo Kid and E-Money Bags Dispute:

      • Details emerge about Big Pun's kidnapping of DJ Whoo Kid over a perceived diss record.
      • Sauce Money discusses conflicts between E-Money Bags, JAY-Z, and Damon Dash, leading to E-Money Bags' death over a dispute.
    7. Sauce Money's Role in Writing "I'll Be Missing You" for Puff Daddy:

      • Sauce Money wrote "I'll Be Missing You" for Puff Daddy after Biggie's death.
      • He mistakenly attributes the song sampled, "Every Breath You Take," to Sting's solo work, expressing dissatisfaction with Sting's royalties.

    In summary, the article delves into Sauce Money's experiences, collaborations with JAY-Z, industry challenges, disputes within Roc-A-Fella, and his role in writing a significant song for Puff Daddy. The interview provides a candid look at Sauce Money's perspective on various aspects of his career and the hip-hop industry.

    From JAY-Z, To Big Pun, To Murder Tales, Sauce Money Reveals All (2024)
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