No I.D. Talks Making 4:44 and Teaching Kanye How to Sample on 'Ebro in the Morning'

The legendary producer talks Kanye West sample missions and the "difficult process" of producing Jay Z's 4:44.

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Image via Getty/Matt Winkelmeyer

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Grammy award-winning producer No I.D. recently visited Hot97's Ebro In The Morning and revealed details not only about how Jay Z's acclaimed album 4:44 came together, but also about the beat sampling missions he used to send Kanye West on.

The 26-year music veteran, who has worked with everyone from Common and Big Sean to Logic and Jhené Aiko, sat down with Ebro, Laura Stylez and Peter Rosenberg for the hour-long interview where he touched on everything from his house music roots to the difference between a producer and a beatmaker. Early in the interview, he shared the full story of how he met a then 14-year-old Kanye West, who he jokingly admits was "absolutely" annoying at the time.

"Our moms knew each other," he explained. "My mom is a teacher and his mom was a teacher. So [my mother] comes home like 'I have a friend, can you help her son?'" He agreed to assist the fellow Chicago native work on his craft, which didn't sound anything like the Kanye we know today. "He was making beats on his little computer but didn't really know what sampling was about, so I would send him on missions like 'This is how you sample. Go do that and come back.' And he just kept coming back." 

Currently, No I.D. is up for five awards at this year's Grammys, one for Producer Of The Year and four for his work as the main producer of Jay Z's last album, 4:44. Having helmed the sounds of entire projects in the past, he admits that producing a whole album is a "difficult process" that is far different from having a handful of credits on a single project.

"He hit me up a few years ago with an idea for an album," he says. "It's two people sitting down really exchanging visions. He's not tapping pads, but he's sharing his thoughts."

The album came together organically, but not before No I.D. was ready to finally share what he'd been working on. After Jay reached out for help on a Vic Mensa project, he suddenly had a burst of ideas. "I just started hitting him with 5 [beats] every morning," he shared. Still, it wasn't until he'd sent the beat for "Kill Jay Z" that he got a call to meet up in the studio.

After telling Jay to create a playlist of songs for him to pull samples from, he laid the groundwork for much of the tracks so quickly that Hov almost didn't believe him. "He said 'come on, you ain't got it.' Before I know it, he had the lines to the [Story of OJ] chorus. You just have to toss the ball in the air and he just goes."

Watch the full interview with Ebro In The Morninghere.

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