Just Blaze Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2)

Jay-Z f/ M.O.P. “U Don't Know (Remix)” (2002)

Album: The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
Label: Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam

Just Blaze: “We did the Blueprint in such a short period of time that we knew we had to get it out right away. Not that I rushed through 'U Don't Know.' We knew it was hot, but I wanted to do more with it.

“I always wanted to make it bigger and better, and make the drums hit harder, and the bass more in your face. I always say to myself, 'I wish I got the opportunity to do that over.'

“We always used to say that M.O.P should have been on that record, even though we all like the original. It's one of those things where you look back and say, 'Yo, M.O.P would have killed this.'

“We were all talking about it in the studio one day and, Jay didn't even tell anybody. I guess he was trying to surprise us, but he walked into the studio one day and was like, 'Yo, put this in.' Put in the CD, and it was M.O.P rhyming on 'U Don't Know.'

 
I always wanted to make it bigger and better, and make the drums hit harder, and the bass more in your face. I always say to myself, 'I wish I got the opportunity to do that over.'
 

“Our jaws hit the floor. We were like, 'When did you do this?' I guess he had the conversation with them, and they made it happen. They did it to the original beat, but I said, 'There's no way I'm letting this come out with them rhyming over the instrumental. We've got to make this special.'

“This was my opportunity to do it all over again with all the things that I had learned since I had done the original, and all the ideas that I had with the original that I didn't get to implement. I'm constantly learning, so it was one of those chances to take a hallmark record of mine and revisit it with new techniques and new approaches.

“I had gotten a lot better at time stretching and my mixing had gotten a lot better. So the end result was a dope followup to a classic record, without it being disrespectful to the original. They sound really good back-to-back.

“'U Don't Know' the original comes on when I'm spinning, and it sets the tone. Then I play the remix, and it's the same beat but it's smashing you in your face so much harder that it really brings the whole thing home. So, its the same dynamic of starting something, but then really revisiting it later on and luckily I was able to.”

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