8) “HEART OF THE CITY (AIN’T NO LOVE)”
Produced by KANYE WEST
JAY-Z: 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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