Album: The Blueprint III
Label: Roc Nation, Atlantic
Swizz Beatz: “I got this call from Pharrell and Q-Tip about the band Justice and they were saying, ‘Swizz you should vibe with Justice. You’re the only person who could pull it off and throw that hip-hop vibe to it.’ Pharrell told me about Justice, and they cornered me on the phone—him and Q-Tip—and were like, ‘Yo, go look online. Go get the DVD.’ I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’ll do it.’
“So I bought all the Justice stuff and was just going through different things and I was like, ‘This is crazy.’ I found probably 10 things I wanted to do with it but I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just going to tap it.’
“The ‘On To The Next One’ sample is not even saying, ‘On to the next one.’ I just made it sound like ‘On to the next one.’ I took three seconds from that song and made ‘On To The Next One’ from it. That was a nice way for me to introduce people to Justice.
“I knew people would want to know where that came from and that they’d trace it back to Justice. I did the same thing with Daft Punk and ‘Touch It.’ I took the ‘Touch It’ thing and now let me take this thing and mess around with it. I was just having fun and we ended up getting a Grammy for that shit.
“I figured out my model early and I stuck with it. Now my catalog consists of probably five to 10% samples. At this point, you’ve just got to have fun with the samples, like on ‘On To The Next One’ or ‘Fancy.’
“Sometimes I use the samples to inspire a different sound. Like if I want people to get into the Justice sound, I’ll make it something that’s familiar but still unfamiliar and have fun with it.”
“That was last minute. Jay was like, ‘I’m wrapping the album up, what’s up?’ I was like, ‘Listen, I’ve got one track. I’m just going to send this one track and that’s it. It was ‘On To The Next One.’
“It already had the hook on it when I gave it to him. I don’t like just sending beats, that’s giving artists too much time not to fuck with it. He called me from London going crazy, ‘This is a hit. Wait till you hear the verses on this. This is fucking outta here. Thank you, I knew you had something. I’m gone.’ And that was it.
“That always happens: Songs are either last minute or not supposed to be for that person. Like on Watch The Throne, the last minute shit we came up with was even crazier than what I had on there."