Henry Stone and his son Joe have been working together in the music business since the 1980s, when their HOT Productions ushered in the new era of Miami Bass, rap, freestyle, and techno music. They were heavy in the distribution business and also had global smash hits with Company B, L’Trimm, and 2 Live Jews. Here’s a conversation between father and son about those exciting days.
HENRY: I started HOT Productions and the first record we come up with, big record was Company B, “Fascinated,” biggest fuckin’ freestyle record ever. The first one that blew up on HOT Productions. “Ronnie’s Rap“ was on the pop charts, that was Joe Stone’s first record he produced, we put it on Profile Records, a big label at the time.
JOE: I was in the studio doing stuff and working records in the street for Sunnyview as a promotion guy taking records to the clubs and we had the studio and we had FHL Records which we did like “Ghetto Jump,” “Kango II” and all those early records, early bass records
HENRY: We brought 2 Live Crew to Miami. I brought em into Miami.
JOE: We were doin stuff with Luther Campbell
HENRY: They came to Miami cause we broke their records here.
JOE: They were with Macola
HENRY: And we distributed the record
JOE: We did, we sold the fuck out of that record off Macola, and then they came and Luke was doing records with us too at the time. Then they came to Miami and they hooked up with Luke and they did “Throw That D,” and that took off
HENRY: We were supposed to get the distribution on “Throw The D.”
JOE: And then Luke went all fuckin sideways on us
HENRY: Luke found out how we pressed the records. Joe showed him how to press the records, where to go, yaknow
JOE: I used to sell records out of my trunk at the Pac Jam on Saturday nights, the bass records. And Luke was always asking questions, and Disco Ricky was always asking questions, and yaknow, they were cool, we were all like comin up. But then so we did “Ronnie’s Rap,” Ish Ledesma was back there doin some R&B, fuckin horrible R&B records with Paul Lewis singin’ and I remember tellin’ Ish, “Bro, you should be doin’ dance records.” And he was like, “Nah, nah, I’m doin these r&b things.” I remember I promoted Ish’s album on the Geffen, I got him on the news, got him all sorts of coverage
HENRY: He was big time on Geffen. I mean, he fucked up with Geffen somehow man, Geffen loved him
HENRY: Geffen was gonna make him a big star. I don’t know how he fucked up but he fucked up
JOE: That album sucked. That album was bad “On This Corner”
JOE: It was a bad album. I got him really good publicity. I got him some great publicity. I got the news channels to come out to the studio. Hometown boy makes big yaknow
HENRY: So then he came back to us, Ish, crawling on his knees. His two little kids hangin in the studio
JOE: I helped him move all his shit back in the studio and set everything up.
HENRY: And we said, “Here’s the key to the studio,” yaknow, same thing, here’s the key. Go to work
JOE: And I told him “You should be doin dance music, dude. This dance music sells like crazy.” I said, “The R&B shit nobody’s interested in.” And then he started doin some dance. Then Paul Lewis brought Charlotte around. And Paul Lewis was singin on some records. And I was in there makin records. I did the “Ronnie’s Rap” record which we put out on Whitehouse Records and then licensed to Profile, which had RUN DMC and Rob Base, and that went to the pop charts. That was my first record was on the pop charts. Henry says to me, I was all cocky as shit, I was like “Yeah motherfucker, I got a record on the pop charts.” Henry goes “Schmuck. You’ll never see a fuckin penny.” He said “You wanna make some money?”
I said “Whattaya mean Im not gonna make any money? I got a record on the pop charts.”
He said, “You’ll never see a fuckin’ penny from those guys. You wanna make some money? Put a show together, go out and do some shows.”
I was like, “Really?” And I never saw a penny from Profile records. Not one fuckin cent. But I went out and did shows, and musta made ten thousand dollars doin shows. At least ten thousand dollars doin shows.
HENRY: You know so then Ish, while he’s screwing around with those little kids. While he’s changing diapers there, what was it 2 or 3 kids? The boys?
JOE: He had 2 kids. Charlotte went in the studio with em.
HENRY: So they go and come up with this Company B thing. Pow. We put it out down here, and I said Wow, I gotta get. You gotta hear the whole story. You may not know this part of the story
JOE: I created the label for that record. Summer Records. I did all the art work and layout.
HENRY: You may not know this part of the story.
JOE: Which part?
HENRY: I put the record out down here, that’s when I left Morris Levy and Sunnyview Records already.
JOE: I took it to Hot 105. To Duff Lindsay….
HENRY: Listen to me now. We put the record out down here. It busted wide open, man. Huge. I said if we wanna make, if I wanna make this a national record, I called Larry Yasgar. He was the guy that had the Atlantic dance stuff. I said “Larry you gotta hear this record. I’m comin up.” He checked Miami right away and said “Get your ass up here immediately! I wanna make a deal.”
JOE: Yeah Atlantic was signing all the Miami artists at that time
HENRY: So I went up to Atlantic and I made the deal for Company B and we put the record out. Morris calls Ahmet, he says “That motherfucker Henry Stone’s got my record.” So I call him up and I says “Whattayatalkin Morris. We already made our deal. I split with you man. I started my own thing again.”
He says, “Yeah but you shoulda done this for me” ahhahahahaha. You don’t know that part did ya
JOE: Nah I didnt know that part
HENRY: He called Ahmet Ertegun and Ahmet called me he says “Shit what’s with this Morris Levy thing, man.” I called Morris up right away. I sez “Morris I left you already. I didn’t do this while I was with you. I did this when I went back to Miami and tried to do my own thing again.” So he says “Okaaay…” hahahahaha
JOE: Did he, he said ok?
HENRY: Yeeaaaahhhh. Cause he called Ahmet Ertegun…I was like fuck you, you can’t have that record, that’s mine. Yup. See you didn’t know that part
JOE: No I did not know that part. I didn’t know Morris tried to get in on that.
HENRY: Yeah, he called, he didn’t call me, he called Ahmet.
JOE: That’s, that’s when you’re in the loop
HENRY: That New York loop yaknow. Oh boy. That was somethin. It was quite a lot of history there in that little period.
JOE: Good times. Always peaks and valleys bro
HENRY: It’s like I say, you can make a hit record but if all you ever do is play it for your aunt and uncle, who gives a fuck. You gotta put it out there and let the people decide. Put it out there.
©Jacob Katel and Henry Stone Music USA Inc. No unauthorized reproduction. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
From 1946 to 2014, Henry Stone ruled the Florida music industry with an iron fist, a brick of cash, and a warehouse full of vinyl. HSM is the last of over one hundred record labels he personally founded. The HSM record label includes works from every decade in his sixty-five year career right up until today. Licensing available for film, samples, advertising, movies, video games, and more. Family owned and operated.