Although New Jersey bred producer Just Blaze spends most of his time these days behind the turntables at some of the biggest EDM festivals around the world, his work in the early 2000s as an in-house producer for Roc-A-Fella Records helped him achieve icon status in the hip hop world. Some of his best work came from his collaborations with fellow hip hop heavyweight Jay-Z. Here is a look back at some of the classics the two have cooked up over the years.
Photo Credit: James Coletta Photography
1. “Intro” - The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
The Dynasty album saw Jay-Z trying to increase the profile of other Roc-A-Fella artists Memphis Bleek, Beanie Siegel and Freeway. He also tapped the upcoming beatmakers Kanye West, The Neptunes and Bink! for production. Just Blaze offered up a soulful track featuring a sped up sample to kick off the album and help shape the soundscape that became typical of the Roc during the labels prime.
2. “Girls, Girls, Girls” - The Blueprint
The Blueprint quickly became one of Hov’s most critically acclaimed albums after it’s release in September 2001. Standout track “Girls, Girls, Girls” featured Jay-Z running down a hilarious list of dating issues alongside looped strings and sped up sample vocals. Background vocals from Q-Tip, Slick Rick and Biz Markie raised the bar making this one an essential piece of Jay’s extensive discography.
3. “U Don’t Know” - The Blueprint
In his 22 years in hip hop, Jay-Z has become one of the most financially successful artists and entrepreneurs the genre has ever seen. On “U Don’t Know” the MC details his adept skills for earning money atop a hard hitting drum pattern and Bobby Byrd’s chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing.” The remix featuring M.O.P is also a must listen.
4. “Show You How” - The Blueprint 2
Just Blaze provided a haunting mix of DJ scratches and eerie synths on the Blueprint 2 standout “Show You How.” Jay-Z did his part by serving up boasts of his luxury filled lifestyle and a tips for hustling to his level of success.
5. “Public Service Announcement (Interlude)” - The Black Album
The Black Album features Jay-Z dropping some of his most inspired lines despite the announcement that it was supposed be the legends last album before retiring. On “Public Service Announcement,” Hov reintroduces himself over a somber piano melody.
Honorable Mentions: “Somehow, Someway,” “Song Cry,” “What We Do”
Catch Just Blaze, Cam’Ron, Dame Dash at the 2015 A3C Festival & Conference.