Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch caught Diddy’s attention in the mid-1990s and joined the Bad Boy Records family as The LOX in 1996. After the release of their sophomore LP, We Are the Streets, in 2000, the rappers looked to establish themselves as solo artists. Jadakiss’ debut Kiss tha Game Goodbye arrived the following year.

Besides his quintessential New York hip hop delivery, Jadakiss has become known in the decades since then for his uproarious, gravelly laugh in his music. It turns out that making these sounds helped The LOX legend in the studio. Eventually, it took on a life of its own as an ad lib.

Kiss spoke about how it all came to be in an appearance on the “I AM ATHLETE”podcast on Feb. 27. While he was at the mic in the booth, the Kiss Café founder would use his voice as a way to split up whatever he was recording and ensure he goes into it with fresh vocal cords. His engineer at the time recognized the tactic’s unexpected musical potential.

“My engineer, [Dragan ‘Chach’ Cacinovic], I think he’s from Croatia. Ruff Ryders introduced us to him and he worked with us for years,” he explained. “I was recording some verses and my voice is so raspy sometimes, I’m clogged up, I would do that as a tension breaker to clear my throat and my voice before I’m about to do the verse.”

“[I] never intended on him keeping it. So I do it, I get out to come heat the verse and he kept it!” he continued. “I’m like, ‘What’s that?’ ‘Nah, you gotta leave that.’ I’m like, ‘Aight.’ So then I just started doing it and people started loving it!”

His laugh has become so well-known that people of all ages approach him on the street asking about it. “Aunties coming up to me in the morning, ‘Hey, ain’t you that boy who make that sound?’” he recounted. “Then it just became my signature trademark.”