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Time To Build: The Making Of Jay Z’s ‘Blueprint’

Produced by KANYE WEST

YOUNG GURU: There’s a lot of times when people take shots at Jay, and Jay, because of the way that he is, doesn’t really answer people back.
All the time, I wish that he’d answer them back, but a lot of people, he’s like, “They’re not really worth it.” The Mobb Deep and the Nas thing had been going on for a minute… He came out and did one of the verses at Summer Jam, and then he went back and finished the record. He finished the Summer Jam joint with, “Ask Nas, he don’t want it with Hov,” and everybody went crazy. That was sort of baiting him, but the finishing of that record was just like, “Oh, this is retarded.” That’s
actually the first mix that I ever did for Jay.

LENNY S: Everybody in there was obviously super biased. Biggest Jay fans and supporters in the world. We were 100 percent gung ho, gassing
Jay to do it. I remember Kanye semiwondering, “Damn, am I gonna kill myself from Nas or anybody else ever taking my tracks?” [Laughs] But
at the end of the day, I don’t think he really cared. “It’s Jay’s words. I just happened to do the track. It’s not my fault.” But I definitely remember it being a question mark. Ask Ron Browz, to this day, feels the same about “Ether.” When I see him, he still mentions that.

YOUNG GURU: Jay, for me, is the consummate super-cool guy. I’ve never really seen this guy sweat. That’s a running joke that we have: He’s
an alien, because I’ve never seen him sweat. So it’s not like he [was] extra-mad in the studio, like, “I’m going to kill these guys.” It was just, “Let me think of the sick lines I can say.” I was just amazed at Kanye’s flipping of The Doors’ sample, so the whole time I’m in there, I’m just like, “This beat is retarded.” But it wasn’t this super-angry vibe. I’ve never seen Jay super angry, or he doesn’t show it. It’s always the poker face. I don’t want to give the impression it was this
super-angry record. Like I was saying, it was done in the middle of so much stuff… Say we just completed a song and go play PlayStation.
Twenty minutes later, he’s come up with another three verses.

JAY-Z: I only could take so much. I take one or two, and I’ma take one more from you, lil’ man, and I’ma… It was Summer Jam, and it just all
made sense. The last Nas verse I wrote, after he made one of those records that came before “Ether.”… It was another record [“Stillmatic”] that he had made. I was like, “Okay, I’m goin’ in on the last verse.” I did the last verse last. I didn’t have the last verse. “Takeover” was two verses, and then I added that last one.
[Editor’s note: “Takeover” actually has four verses total.] He called me a rap version of Sisqo: “H to the Izzo, you rap version of Sisqo.”

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