DJ Quik Breaks Down Jay Z’s “Justify My Thug”

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The Black Album is highly regarded as one of Jay Z’s best works and coveted largely because of its production value. One of the projects most random pairings is the DJ Quik produced, “Justify My Thug.” Hov’s Life+Times recently chopped it up with the Cali rapper/beat maker for their Decoded segment and got him to break down his involvement with the song. According to Quik, he met Jay in San Fransisco and began sending the Brooklyn rapper beats through a mutual friend for a project that was described as a collection of some of the time’s best track masters. “In Jay’s words it was a project,” he said. “The word was it was going to be Dre, Rockwilder, Just Blaze, Kanye, Swizz Beatz. I hearing all these names and I’m like this is awesome. This is going to be like putting together a basketball Dream Team for the Olympics.”

The Compton vet described the sampling process of the track saying one of borrowed elements of the song came from Madonna’s “Justify My Love.” The pop maven was even supposed to sing on the track. “The way we envisioned it, Madonna was gonna come into the recording studio and sing the hook for us,” said Quik. “I was excited to be able to record her. She’d come in and just do ‘justify my thug’ and just do it in a different fun way. She’d heard the track and everything. But in the 23rd hour, she pulled out.”

Quik went on to praise Jigga’s musical ear. “Jay hears music beyond music,” added Quik. “He’s a super conceptualist. He’s totally experienced in all that music. So, he heard these things go together, and they did.”

Check out the entire interview, below.