I wrote "What's Up" early in 2008, and funnily enough it was the second to last song we finished for the album. I grabbed the beat off P-Money when he was showing me a bunch of stuff he'd been working on for his album, and I remember instantly liking how the beat had a simultaneously shiny/sparkly yet raw rap feel.
The inspiration for the lyrics was a classic verse from Andre 3000 on Devin The Dude's "What A Job", where he rhymed about a couple talking to him on the street and telling him how his music influenced them. Everything in that song is something someone has said to me face to face, or something I've read online. I wrote the first verse pretty easily, just jotting down the usual positive shit people say to you on the street. The part about the guy mentioning the tat on his arm dedicated to his friend is true. I played a sweet 16 party in East Auckland, and a dude come up to me and told me his mate had recently died in a crash, and that he was an aspiring rapper who looked up to me. He just said he liked my stuff cause it reminded him of his bro, and that stuck with me as a high point in feedback I've gotten. I didn't want to make it a 'everybody loves Sam' ego fest though, so I wanted to flip it and talk about the negative side too. People have said that its a dope concept using the same verse structure, but it was really me just being lazy and not wanting to write another verse. I sat on the song for ages cause I had no idea what to do for the third verse, until I realized it didn't need one.
Me and Pete both knew the song needed a lot more added to it though, so we grabbed the Nas "One Love" acapella and he did some cuts. Then he sat down with Evan and they just went through different sounds until something caught his ear. At first I didn't know if the synths were going to work, but the way he layered the parts for the hook really brought the track to life and reminded me a bit of Kanye's Graduation sound. With only one track on the album, Money showed why he's NZ's illest producer.