Jay-Z "Dead Presidents" (1996)

Ski: "I was at this DJ event, like one of those 'How Can I Be Down?' events in Florida. Nas' Illmatic had just come out. And I was just listening to 'The World Is Yours.' I just fell in love with the pianos. Once I felt that vibe, I just went searching for anything with a piano that made me feel like that. Soon as I heard the piano, I was gonna fall in love.

I was just digging and digging, and I found that Lonnie Liston Smith joint ['A Garden of Peace'] and I thought it was fresh. And then I just threw that Nas sample in there just to see if it would work because I liked Nas' voice. I gave it to Jay and it fit right into the scheme of his album and what he was talking about.

"Jay had something in his head, [other songs] we didn't use them. We probably did like 20 songs that nobody ever heard and I don’t even have the tapes of. I wish I had the tapes for that. A lot of the songs that he did that never was released was incredible. I just threw them away, probably a couple of months after [we finished Reasonable Doubt].

I thought we was never going to have any need for these songs, ever. I wasn’t thinking about masters, I wasn’t thinking he was gonna be a legend or nothing like that. I just said, 'Whatever, let's get rid of this.' It was Reasonable Doubt-styled shit. We had this one song called 'Hurt,' 'Blow Up,' songs that was incredible. But we just never used them.

"He did 20 songs with me and he did like 20 songs with Clark Kent that nobody ever heard. Clark might have those songs but I know I ain't got mine. I think there might be a couple of things floating on Youtube that my DJ, DJ Cubby Chub, took from a tape I gave him that he put on Youtube. But the majority of it is gone. I'm pretty sure I gave Jay the tapes. Jay gotta have it...if he didn't throw the cassettes away."

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