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

Produced by KANYE WEST

I just made “Hard Knock Life,” then “Big Pimpin’.” Any time you have that type of success, it’s gon’ be some type of backdrop. So I was recourse—going through that whole thing. I remember [the Notorious B.I.G.] telling me, going through that whole thing—that’s how I started. I remember having this conversation with him, and he felt the same way. At the same point, I remember him making “Mo Money, Mo Problems.” I was going through that moment.

YOUNG GURU: At that time, if you remember, the Jay and R. Kelly song [“Fiesta (Remix)”] was popping. We’re sitting in the studio, that
[“Heart of the City”] beat is on for about a half hour, 45 minutes, and just by coincidence the “Fiesta” video starts. Jay taps me, like, “I’m ready”… He walks out the door of the A room, walks down the hallway into another door, gets in the booth [and] spits all three verses. Walks out that hallway, walks back in the door, and the
“Fiesta” video is still on. That’s how fast he recorded that song.

DURO: Kanye wasn’t even really a part of his mixes [back then]. As he grew as a producer, he became more involved in all aspects of the
mixes. But back then, I was definitely in my zone, especially with the Jay records. I probably mixed at least 50 Jay songs. So he’d just send
them to me, and I did my thing. Then I sent them back, then I get a little comment here or there.

LENNY S: The dope shit about Kanye, man, Kanye laid out every part of a song, painted the entire picture. I’m talking about every album,
literally, from “Heart of the City” to “Encore.” With “Heart of the City,” he was there, music loud, whispering in Jay’s ear while the beat was playing. Clapping his hands. With Kanye there as excited as he was, it was easy for Jay to pick that record off of the beat CD.

HIP HOP: I know “Ain’t No Love” was for DMX, because it had the choir-type chorus. But the way the beat broke down, X could’ve
definitely rode that part. Jay wanted that to be the first single, too. But it was too far. Everybody loved “Izzo” at that point. But I know he was playing with the idea of putting out “Ain’t No Love” as the first single, and then go into “Izzo.”

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  • sosa

    Mannnn i was 9 when the towers fell,and wasn’t really familar with hip hop that wasn’t a single on the radio or a video on TV.Its funny how time flies,from nelly to ja rule to ludacris and the commerial rap changes up.I found out about the blueprint when i was 15 and was a fan of hov every since.No wonder why hes still relevant unlike his contemporaries in 01′. I wish i could trap myself in those days when life was easy and simple.

  • Sean Izzle


    You got that right, I still remember september 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. I remember the clothes is wore and how the weather was since it was such a special day. That morning, everything was different. But still these 10 years that passed alot has happened. We all went from boys to young men. I love the 2000′s and will always remember it and think of it. From Nelly, Ja Rule, Ludacris, Mystikal, Eminem, Petey Pablo and all that other good commercial Hip Hop of those years to the commercial Hip Hop we have today which sucks.

  • Pingback: Killer Mike Reflects on Jay-Z’s Real Blueprint | XXLMAG.COM

  • TicNitty706

    Props to Jay and the team for making one of the best rap albums period. People take for granted these days I think what a true classic album can do for your career and legacy.

  • Sean Izzle

    To this day I still havent heard Fabolous debut- Ghetto Fabolous album and it came the same day as The Blueprint :P anyone else?

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