"Killing y'all niggas on that lyrical shit/Mayonnaise-colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips/And I am..." —Kanye West
Coodie: “He made sure he got everybody because when he’s telling the story and he says their part, they had to actually say their part. It was a process of getting everybody to come in and do it.”
Evidence: “I first met Kanye West through our [Dilated Peoples] song ‘This Way.’ Black Eyed Peas had just come with ‘Where Is The Love,’ and they were blowing up, so Capitol Records thought we could do it just like they did. Capitol said, ‘We want you to work with Scott Storch or Kanye West.’
I said, ‘Jay is making The Black Album. Can you show this beat to him for me?’ He was puzzled. He said, ‘No, I’m the new Mr. Roc-A-Fella.’ But he wasn’t even out yet. In my mind, I’m like, ‘You’re pretentious.’ —Evidence
"Our album was done and we were happy with it. But when they said that, they also said that the budget was unlimited and that we didn’t have to recoup. We were like, ‘[It’s not] going to hurt us. So deal.’ We choose Kanye West. I didn’t really understand what was about to happen [in his career].
“At the same, my friend Porse, who would go crate-digging and then come to producers’ studios and sell gems, brought me this Bette Midler record, ‘Mr. Rockefeller.’ So I made the beat. I played him the beat one day and said, ‘Jay is making The Black Album, can you show this beat to him for me?’
"He was puzzled by it, like telling a kid that he can’t have this candy. He said, ‘No, I’m the new Mr. Roc-A-Fella.’ But he wasn’t even out yet. In my mind, I’m like, ‘You’re pretentious.’ But if you watch Fade to Black, he plays it for Jay Z and Jay Z was open off of it. But then Kanye hit me and said, ‘Jay Z passed. We’re going to prove a point.’ I was like, ‘OK.” [Laughs.]
Kanye West plays Jay Z the beat for "Last Call" on Fade To Black
“I didn’t hear anything back from him for a long time until my friend, who was working as an A&R at Capitol, called me and he was like, ‘You did ‘Last Call,’ right? I’m at Larrabee Studios and I can hear them mixing it.’ That was about an hour from my house, so I decided to drive over. I just walked in like, ‘What’s up? This is mine.’
"He said, ‘Look what we did with it.’ I couldn’t believe it. The sample didn’t clear and they had musicians replay it and musicologists sitting there telling us when it was good to be rightfully ours for copyright. The beauty of that was we got all the publishing. So, the checks that came from that were more than I had ever anticipated. We had actually been arguing over the advance that I was going to get. Had I known who he was going to be, I would have done it for free.
The best part was when he pulled me to the booth and said, ‘Yo, we need to talk about the interviews because this is going to be the biggest rap album of all time. So, we need to talk about what to say if people ask something about the beat.’ I started laughing, I couldn’t hold it back.
“The best part was when he pulled me to the booth and said, ‘Yo, we need to talk about the interviews because this is going to be the biggest rap album of all time. So, we need to talk about what to say if people ask something about the beat.’ I started laughing, I couldn’t hold it back. To me, he’s not a god, he’s just a guy. Like, if you told me this interview is going to be the best thing to ever come out, I’d be like, ‘Sure.’ [Laughs.]
“He told me to say that I did the music and he did the drums. Which is true. My drums are low. The kick pattern is my pattern. But then we were playing it and I was like, ‘That’s my shaker.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘That’s my chime, too. It’s still in there.” And, he’s like, ‘Yep.’ But, then the ‘Get By’ drums are in there. And, the loop I inspired, I would have given up at the point where the sample couldn’t clear. ‘Alright, let’s just put a whole new track to it.’ But, he didn’t give up. He deserves it. If it says Kanye West and Evidence, it should because what I brought to the table and what you hear is substantially different.
“Dilated Peoples got to go on The College Dropout Tour. I also got a Grammy and a platinum plaque for it. He looked out.”
"Last Call" samples Bette Midler's "Mr. Rockefeller" (1976)
Dame Dash: “Jay didn’t want to give him the Roc-A-Fella chain off his neck. But Jay always did that shit man, he did that shit with Cam’ron too. He’s just not that dude that would be trying to be like, ‘Oh, congratulations.’ Then again, he was with an artist that he wasn’t 100% behind in those days. No disrespect to Jay, but at that time that was his opinion. Him and certain other artists, he didn’t want me to put out. But he was outvoted because Biggs would vote with me.
“On the day [we gave him the Roc chain], I was like, ‘Yo, announce him.’ Jay was like, ‘You do it.’ And I was like, ‘Alright, I did it.’ I took the chain off my neck, but it was my chain that had my motherfucking canary yellow diamonds. I never got it back. He better still have it. I need to get that shit back. [Laughs.]
Jay didn't want to give him the chain off his neck. So I took the chain off my neck, but it had my canary yellow diamonds. I never got it back. He better still have it. I need to get that back. —Dame Dash
“But again, because of his fear, he was fearless, so he would be playing with people. I remember after we made ‘We Are The Champions,’ he was in a compromising situation in an after-hours diner. He had his Roc-A-Fella chain on and he wasn’t getting out of there with that chain. He called me so me and Beans went down there. It wasn’t even a tough thing, people respected us and they were upset because they didn’t know who he was. Once we got there, he felt safe and he was ordering dessert. I’m like, ‘What the fuck is you doing?’ He was talking with some girl and I’m like, ‘Get in the car.’
“By the time we got in the car, the dudes that were in there were kind of like getting their heart up and they ran out. They were getting ready to do something but we were already in the car. We almost got into a compromising scenario.”
Gee Roberson: “No one did the story stuff on their first album. No one took use of the journey on leading up to it like, ‘I’m finally here, I’m delivering the world my first album, let me give you a snapshot of what it took for me to get to this point.’ The outro is genius because he’s giving you the premise of the inspiration of these songs.”