Jay-Z “Kingdom Come”
“Ahmir from the Roots was like you got to get that Just track, you gotta get that shit, he flipped ‘Super Freak.’ Like, the genius in that record again is not me, really it’s the fact that he took one of the most commercial beats in hip-hop history and flipped it on some Premier shit. Like he made it like a real hip-hop record. It’s really weird how he did that shit.”
Just Blaze, producer:
“There’s tons of fake Myspace pages for people out there. So [to show mine was legit] I was just gonna go talk and be like, “This is Just Blaze, blah, blah blah” and be out. And, while I was thinking about what I was gonna say, I said, maybe I should have a beat in the background. So in the office in the front of Baseline, I had a stack of records. I had the ‘Super Freak’ twelve-inch that I had bought a couple of months ago in Chicago. Don’t ask. It was like $5. It was a 20-minute version which I never heard. So I’m flipping through and I was like ‘I should rip something that people wouldn’t expect.’ Then I came across the twelve inch and started playing it. A lot of times, once I hear a sample, I already have the beat done in my head before I touch the MP. This time I had no idea what I was gonna do. So I literally took every note on the record and put it on a separate pad. And broke it down to the minimum amount of beats you could. I started playing around with it and it began to fall together. So I was like, ‘I should rock it like this with no drums or nothing.’ Which I started to do and then I added drums.
I think Peter Gunz might have been here. Peter actually has the video of me doing the drums, I think Corey was around and me and Pete are cool. He was recording something for a Corey Gunz DVD and he just started calling everybody to come into the room like, ‘Yo, you gotta hear this beat.’ I never really thought it was that crazy when I first made it. I thought the creativity behind it was cool, more so than the beat itself. I never thought anything of it; it was just for Myspace. I do it, put it up and then later that day, I saw it had 400 hits. That night, 3700 hits. I hadn’t even had the page up that long. Then I got a message from Myspace administration like “We don’t know what you just did with your page, but your traffic has just increased by like 10 million percent.” Then I get an email from ?uest and he’s like, ‘I don’t believe you did it, the beat on your page!’ I’m like, ‘Ohhhh.’ A bunch of respect and love came from him and he wanted to know if Jay was on it. I was like, ‘Nah.’ I literally made that beat in 30 seconds. I thought nothing of it. He said “Jay has to hear that beat, now. If there’s a record for Jay and Nas to be on, it has to be that record. I haven’t been this passionate about something since I was trying to get off of Geffen.” I’m like, “Wow.” He emails Jay. Jay hits me about it and then I never hear anything about it again. This is like Jan/Feb and a few months go by.
“Ahmir was just constantly like, ‘I need it, I need it.’ I’m like, ‘Aight.’ Gave Jay the beat and didn’t hear anything from him. Then Jay almost doesn’t do it because Busta had done Rick James’ ‘In the Ghetto.’ I’m like, ‘So, it’s a different record.’ Obviously it’s his comeback so he doesn’t want to copycat. But it’s Jay-Z. The beat has already been all over the place, everyone knows it’s from my Myspace page so I’m like, “Just do it.” He does it and it became the perfect statement for the comeback.”
Young Guru, engineer:
“The best thing that I can tell you that there’s a song called ‘Kingdom Come’ on the album, which is the title of the album. The way that record came about was from a good friend of mine from college, Lance Williams, he’s one of those dudes that can memorize, he knows how many mics every album ever got. We’re both comic book guys and we’re talking about Kingdom Come which is a comic book that came out about Superman. He was just like, ‘Isn’t it weird where hip-hop is at right now, it’s like Kingdom Come and Jay needs to be like Superman.’ I was like, ‘You’re right.’ I hadn’t read Kingdom Come in so long so I went
out and bought it and read it. And I’m like ‘Oh shit! It’s parallel, it’s crazy.’ So I’m telling Jay the idea, I gave him the book and he got it. That’s why I love that song because one of the things that Superman doesn’t realize in the comic book is, not only how ill he is as a superhero but his influence on inspiring the rest of his peers that are superheroes. So when Superman jets and says, ‘Y’all shittin’ on me, y’all want the niggas that’s gon’ kill the people and I don’t kill my enemies, I catch ’em and, cool y’all deal with ’em. I’m good.” Wonder Woman comes and she’s like “It ain’t just you doing what you do but Green Lantern ain’t doing his thing no more, The Flash ain’t doing his thing, you’re the leader, you inspire them to keep going and doing what they do.” That’s where the parallel comes in. And Jay can take an idea and incorporate it into a song better than anybody that I know and when he finally vocalized it, I felt it was exactly what I was thinking about.
“He’s saying, ‘I don’t know what life would be in H-I-P-H-O-P without the boy H-O-V not only N-Y-C, I’m hip-hop’s savior, so after this flow you might owe me a favor.’ It’s bringing New York back but it’s also bringing that hardcore hip-hop shit back on top of a beat where Just takes a sample that was used for probably the most pop rap record ever. All the parallels are in there. It’s just a really good record and the people are gonna get it on one level and then a couple weeks later they’ll get it on another level and then they’ll really listen and get every single thing he’s saying in there. I always say he raps on three different levels and you’re gonna get it, eventually.”
PS: Like I said earlier, I got so much material. I’m thinking about putting together a full-fledged Countdown to Kingdom Come. Me and Bfred need to build and destroy the rest of yous.