You’ve worked with some of the best producers out and you are rumored to have a very discriminating ear. What does a producer need to bring to put you in that zone?
You know what’s difficult for me? I hear music differently, so a lot of times I won’t pick the beats that are the norm. I don’t pick what people expect a rapper to rap on. I pick the more intricate beats, where as soon as I hear them I can see something—a title or a mood.
That’s what influenced me so much about jazz. A lot of jazz records didn’t have words, but as soon as you played them it put you right in the mood. You could almost see the smoky bar and the jazz players around you. So, when I can see the music before I even start to write to it, that’s the direction I tend to lean toward. A lot of times it’s not the big million dollar seller or the club banger. It’s really just something I can mess with to make people say, “Okay, that’s that Rakim classic thing right there.”
So, yeah it’s a little difficult picking beats with me.