The Neptunes and Jay-Z have crafted some timeless classics, no doubt about it. The Virginia production duo and the Brooklyn MC have an undeniable chemistry studio that has resulted in pure magic over the decades.
Whether it’s club bangers like “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)”, radio smashes like “Excuse Me Miss,” dense, lyrical cuts like “I Know” or introspective tracks like “Allure,” The Neptunes and Jay-Z have covered a wide spectrum of emotions through their music.
There is one Neptunes production that got away from Hov though. In an interview with Life+Times, Pusha T revealed that Pharrell had threatened to give the “Grindin'” beat away to Jay-Z.
Pusha T: I was actually home and Pharrell was in the studio and he called me and he was like, “Listen. Get up here right now. Get up here right now—I’ve got this record and if you’re not up here in 15 minutes I’m just giving it to JAY Z. I am. I’m giving it to him. If you’re not here in 15 minutes. I know you’re home. You’re home. You’re home. Your house is 10 minutes from here. That means you’ve got five minutes to get ready and get over here. If not, I’m giving it to Jay.” I couldn’t really deal with that. And I was there, needless to say, in 13 minutes.Pusha T Talks The Making Of “Lord Willin’” 10 Years On, Pharrell vs. Kanye, & G.O.O.D. Music | Life + Times
In the same interview, the Clipse rapper has also revealed that it was a challenge for him and his brother to write to the “Grindin'” beat.
“I think it was probably the first time I rewrote a record—and a record that me and my brother honestly rewrote a couple of times—just because it was unorthodox, it was new,” Pusha recalled. “We were like, ‘Wait a minute, where does the beat start? Where’s the verse? Where’s the hook at?’ It really threw us for a loop.”
The unorthodox production and re-writing of their verses paid off in the end. As their debut single, “Grindin'” became a top 40 hit in the summer of 2002, and propelled the Clipse into the hip hop mainstream instantly. And while it wasn’t The Neptunes’ biggest hit in their catalogue, “Grindin'” is arguably their most iconic.
Pusha T: It took nine months to break the record. People don’t understand that I did every $5,000 show with every drug dealer in the United States of America behind that record. Things start in the streets and the hustlers of the world resonated with that record so well that they were just booking us. It was an underground cult kinda thing. It was like, ‘Come to Detroit, five racks, wear a bulletproof vest’ and ‘Come to Milwaukee where you need armed security.’ And this isn’t a radio-driven thing. This is something that’s basically brewing in the streets.Pusha T Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs | Complex