"Told 'em I finished school and I started my own business/They say, 'Oh you graduated?' No, I decided I was finished." —Kanye West

Gee Roberson: “Those skits were genius. That was Kanye’s idea. That didn’t come from us. Skits [are important because] they’re there to help paint the picture and move the album. We all agreed to that in terms of the tone of the album and mood, he set the stage.”

Plain Pat: “[The amount of skits] was a thing we fought him on. We were like, ‘You can’t put two skits back to back.’ He would be like, ‘Why? I’m doing it.’ He would add those skits as we were mastering the album. He would just keep adding them and adding them. We were like, ‘No more skits!’ But he wanted it that way and we had to make it happen.

 

"The amount of skits was a thing we fought him on. We were like, ‘You can’t put two skits back to back.’ He would be like, ‘Why? I’m doing it.’"
—Plain Pat

 

"Dealing with artists, you never tell an artist no. They’re supposed to think crazy and out of the box. You want them to think that way. We let them get it out and we just figure it out later.”

Gee Roberson: “You know how many years of my life I lost dealing with that Aretha Franklin sample? I’m already losing years of my life because of the Lauryn Hill sample, so now enter Aretha Franklin. That sample was denied and was not going to happen. It was mission impossible. But Kanye had to have it—there was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So I’m going crazy.”

"School Spirit" samples Aretha Franklin's "Spirit In The Dark" (1970)

Hip Hop: “Kanye wasn’t a big old record collector like that. He didn’t have lots of old records. His girl's father gave him a crate of records that a lot of [samples on the album] came from. He had Al Green, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin all in there.”

Plain Pat: “We had like three other versions of the song. I was camped out at the studio while they were mixing all these other versions but we were just waiting for the sample to get cleared. He hated the other versions. That song would have been so weak if we didn’t get that sample cleared.”

 

Kanye wasn’t a big old record collector like that. His girl's father gave him a crate of records that a lot of [samples on the album] came from. He had Al Green, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin all in there.
—Hip Hop

 

Gee Roberson: “It’s funny how these stories keep going back to uncontrollable things in your life and places you work at. This goes back again to me accepting a job at, of all places, Atlantic Records. I called upon Craig Kallman, the head Atlantic, to get involved and help me get that sample cleared once we got denied. Like a true guy, Kallman made it happen on my behalf.

“But the stipulation was that it had to be clean, which is why [it’s edited even on the album version]. That was the only way it had to be done, then we were both understanding about [it having to be clean].

“I was learning this from the living example himself, Kanye West, that you never take no. There’s no choice for me but to have the same mentality because I’m speaking 24/7 to the guy who’s living his life and being the example of all examples of that. In the midst of the no’s, I had to figure out a way. And I figured out a way.”

The uncensored version of "School Spirit" can be found online