Just Blaze Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Jay-Z "Breathe Easy (Lyrical Exercise)" (2001)

Album: The Blueprint

Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Just Blaze: “The magic in that album was that it was done in three days. ‘Lyrical Exercise’ was done for The Blueprint as well, but he left it off. Afterwards he regretted leaving it off, because it leaked and it was huge. That’s why it ended up on the The Blueprint 2.

 
We had to send out the artwork ahead of time and he couldn’t figure out how he was going to finish up the song. Jay-Z only had one verse and it wasn’t until after we sent out the artwork that he said, ‘Oh, I know how to kill it now.’
 

“At the time when we did the artwork and the track listing, we had to send out the artwork ahead of time and he couldn’t figure out how he was going to finish up the song. He only had one verse and it wasn’t until after we sent out the artwork that he said, ‘Oh, I know how to kill it now.’ So we used it for the album, but it couldn’t be on the official track listing.

“Everyone knows I made ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ for Ghostface. I’ve said that a million times, everyone knows that. ‘U Don’t Know’ was a work in progress. I had tried to do the beat a few times, and I couldn’t really catch it. Then it finally clicked for me one day, and as soon as it did Jay just went in and recorded his vocals.

“Jay built on that song little by little. He didn’t do the whole song in one shot. He did the first two verses and then a week later added more. Then he came back a couple of days later and did a little bit more.”

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