Pete Rock Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records

Kanye West f/ Jay-Z “The Joy” (2010)

Album: G.O.O.D. Music Friday Series

Label: G.O.O.D. Music

Pete Rock: “‘The Joy’ is a beat I had since ‘96, ‘97. And I was just sitting on it, debating on who I would give it to. First I gave it to Strong Arm Steady, and that didn’t work out, because Busta said he did something to it. Then that didn’t work out, so I gave it to Kanye West and he did something to it and put Jay-Z on it, and that was the end all be all right there.

“Kanye’s ex-bodyguard reached out to me and said he was looking for me. I went to Hawaii, and I played it for [Kanye] and he loved it, and he wanted to use it as soon as he heard it. I brought a lot of other stuff there that he liked.

“I laid down a version to ‘Dark Fantasy,’ and on ‘Runaway’ those are the drums from ‘The Basement’ that I chopped. Those drums, the way that they’re looped, you can’t just put the record down and get it. The pattern, the way I put it together, is like a jigsaw puzzle.

“He got Jay-Z on it. That’s his homie, you know. Jay-Z didn’t come to Hawaii to lay his vocals [when I was there]. I was there for a whole week, and then after I left, weeks later, Young Guru the engineer called me and said, ‘I got a surprise for you.’ He played me the song with Jay-Z on it, and I was blown away. Because for years I’ve been trying to work with Jay, and I think he says the same thing, but we just kept missing each other.

“I’ve laid tracks down for [Watch The Throne], but I don’t think they’ve used anything. I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. I have no idea if [‘The Joy’] is going to be on Watch The Throne. I don’t want to say nothing until I know the facts. My suggestion is that it has to go somewhere. To not use it would be a travesty.

“I thought about [rapping on ‘The Joy’], but it’s all good. I didn’t want him to outdo me on my own track either. But I would rap with Kanye, it’s not like I’m scared to do it. At that point in time, I didn’t have anything. I have to be in a certain mode for my rhymes to sound correct.”

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