Jay-Z "Can't Get Wit That" (1995)

Album: “In My Lifetime” Single

Label: Payday

DJ Clark Kent: “That was the record he felt the best about to the point where he wanted to put it out. If you look at the logo, it’s says Jay-Z featuring DJ Clark Kent. It’s hilarious to think that’s what it was. It was like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, because we believed the DJ was important.

"I’ve got records with Jay, at least three records, where all he’s talking about is his DJ. And they’re crazy. People will never hear them, but still, that’s what it was about: us making these records.

 

Jay-Z had this notebook that had like a million rhymes in it. It’s funny because, the way he wrote them back then, no one could have read the rhymes anyway. I don’t know if he could look back and read the rhymes. [Laughs.]

 

“That was made at my house. Practically everything after a certain point was made at my house, because I had a studio at my house.

"I made a beat, that I didn’t think he would want, and he walked in and heard it and said, ‘Yo, let that play.’ He sat around, bobbed his head, walked out of the room, came back, and was like, ‘I’m ready, let’s do it.’

“At that point he wasn’t writing nothing. I don’t remember him writing since he was 15, 16. He had this notebook that had like a million rhymes in it. [Laughs.]

"It’s funny because, the way he wrote them back then, no one could have read the rhymes anyway. I don’t know if he could look back and read the rhymes. [Laughs.]

“He was saying things that people couldn’t fathom, and he looked like people couldn’t fathom. They were like, ‘He’s talking about being a millionaire. We’ve never heard of this dude, and all of a sudden he’s talking about being a millionaire?’

"With rap, it’s like people almost have to believe you. So when you’re talking about being a millionaire, they’re like, ‘Nah.’ And then, your rhymes are just so out of this world that they’re not even understanding you. So I think people just missed it.

“But when people look back at ‘Can’t Get Wit That,’ they go, ‘He was going crazy with his rhymes!’ He was spitting retarded on there. He was spitting on [Original Flavor] ‘Can I Get Open.’ He was nuts on ‘Can I Get Open.’

 

With rap, it’s like people almost have to believe you. So when you’re talking about being a millionaire, they’re like, ‘Nah.’ And then, your rhymes are just so out of this world that they’re not even understanding you. 

 

“We used to ride around listening to 2Pac, B.I.G., N.W.A., Ice Cube, UGK, Nas, AZ, Slick Rick, we just used to listen to whatever was happening. Driving around, in the burgundy Acura, just listening to it. His songs came from wanting to be way better than them.

"He thought, ‘From the beginning to the end, this song has to be a cohesive thought so that everybody gets it by the time it’s over.’ That’s why his songs are really, really, somewhere else.

“Back then, he was saying shit like, ‘I press more skirts than the cleaners.’ Like, who the fuck is saying that? He was saying incredible shit. And then, his two best friends, Jaz-O and Sauce Money, were insane lyricists, so he had to be good. These were the dudes that were on his neck all day.

"We were a group at one point called The Hard Pack—no homo. Me, Jay-Z, Sauce, and Jaz were The Hard Pack. And they were insane. Some of the best rhymes I ever heard came out of that stuff.

 

We used to ride around listening to 2Pac, B.I.G., N.W.A., Ice Cube, UGK, Nas, AZ, Slick Rick, whatever was happening. Driving around, in the burgundy Acura, just listening. His songs came from wanting to be way better than them.

 

“It’s funny because ‘Can’t Get Wit That’ came out way before ‘In My Lifetime.’ And then they re-packaged it with ‘In My Lifetime.’

"That was Lil’ Shawn’s white Lexus in the video, who actually was the person who took Jay-Z up to Hot 97 and introduced him to the Program Director so he could get his songs played on the radio.

“[He was rocking the Reggie Miller jersey in the video] because he liked Reggie. And be clear, I’m in that wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey, and that was way before the jersey thing. We were just sports fanatics.

"We loved sports, we loved sneakers, we loved getting fresh, we loved music, and we loved money. That was our shit. What you see in the video was us. This is how we do, daily.”

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