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Chris Rock Came Up With Jay Z’s “99 Problems” Hook

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There’s no denying the innovative talents of hip-hop icon Jay Z, but when it comes to his 2003 smash “99 Problems,” he can’t take all the credit. This fact comes courtesy of producer Rick Rubin who was recently interviewed by New York Magazine for its “Annual Yesteryear Issue” that features a cover story on Jay-Z.

In the interview Rubin states it was comedian Chris Rock who came up the idea for the hook, which he lifted from an Ice-T song of same name.

“Chris Rock had the idea for the chorus,” said Rubin. “It’s based on an Ice-T song called ’99 Problems,’ and (Rock) said, ‘Ice-T has this song, and maybe there’s a way to flip it around and do a new version of that.’ I told Jay Z the idea and he liked it.”

Rubin said they decided to take the MC turned actor’s 1993 song that chronicled what it took to be a great pimp, and flip the concept while keeping the hook to focus on the problems.—Chris M. Garner 

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