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Have you ever listened to a hip hop song and imagined another rapper over it? Chances are, that beat probably made its way to a bunch of artists before settling on the one.

Rap history is littered with stories about rappers passing on beats or producers creating them with another artist in mind, like when Busta Rhymes passed on “Halftime” or when Just Blaze created the “Girls, Girls, Girls” beat with Ghostface Killah in mind.

Here are 27 instances when a hip hop beat was meant for another artist.

Future – “Codeine Crazy”

Album: Monster

Released: October 28, 2014

Producer: TM88

Original artist: Nicki Minaj

TM88: I really made the beat for Nicki. She was working on her album and I wanted to give her some beats so bad [but] I ended up not giving them to her. Future called, I think it was the next day or next two days, and he was like, ‘Bro, I need some beats. I’m going in. I need you.’ I was like, ‘fuck it,’ and I sent the whole [beat] pack to him.

TM88 Talks “XO TOUR Llif3,” Triple Platinum & More (HNHH Interview)

Nas – “Halftime”

Album: Illmatic

Released: April 19, 1994

Producer: Large Professor

Original artist: Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes: I went over [to Large Professor’s house], and he made the “Halftime” beat in front of me, and he was gonna give it to me at the time. I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t know why I didn’t know what to do with it, because I loved the shit out the beat. Then I heard it on “Halftime,” and I was like, Goddamn, I was a stupid ass for not touching this beat!

Still Ill | XXL

Black Rob – “Whoa!”

Album: Life Story

Released: March 7, 2000

Producer: Buckwild

Original artists: Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, Amil

Buckwild: Only two people who heard the record said it was going to be a big record. One was Lord Finesse, and the other was Lenny S from Roc-A-Fella. Lenny S gave the beat to Jay-Z, then Memphis Bleek, then Amil, and then other people. They all passed on it. So Rob does the record and a week later I walk into Def Jam, I hear Lenny playing the record going, ‘I told ya’ll this record is going to be crazy! All ya’ll niggas slept on this record.’ That record kind of brought Bad Boy back. I think that was the first video, which Puff was actually in for a long time.

Buckwild Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records | Complex

Rick Ross ft. Drake & Chrisette Michele – “Aston Martin Music”

Album: Teflon Don

Released: July 20, 2010

Producer: No I.D.

Original artist: Drake

J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League: We didn’t do the song specifically for Ross. A few other people made songs to it. Actually, I sent it to Drake before I sent it to Ross. Ross did the song with him and Chrisette Michele, and DJ Khaled sent it to Drake. Then when Drake got it, he text me and was like, ‘Yo! Why didn’t you send me this beat?!’ I was like, ‘My man, that was in the first set of beats I sent you’. He got on it and did his thing, though.

Beat Break: Rook Shares the Story Behind J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League’s 5 Biggest Songs | DJ Booth

GOOD Music – “Mercy”

Album: Cruel Summer

Released: April 3, 2012

Producer: Lifted, Mike Dean (add.), Mike Will Made It (add.), Kanye West (add.), Hudson Mohawke (add.)

Original artist: Kid Ink

Kid Ink: I think the biggest beat I ever slept on was the Kanye ‘Mercy’ beat. I didn’t have a Murcielago, so it didn’t really make sense. I didn’t have a Lambo, so I can’t really rap about this cause the hook was on there. I could’ve probably forced some ideas if I thought about it a little harder. I didn’t have any Lambos, so I just felt like I was faking it, rapping about being in a Lambo.

Shay Diddy Interviews Kid Ink Pt 1 | ShayDiddyTV

Drake – “0 to 100 / The Catch Up”

Album: N/A

Released: July 15, 2014

Producer: Boi-1da, Vinylz, Frank Dukes, Nineteen85, 40

Original artist: Puff Daddy

Puffy: It was the beat, and it was just a misunderstanding. I sent him the song for him to ghostwrite for me. Sometimes you can be in a room with someone who has a better idea than you, and you’ve got to be open to that. I’ve never apologized for any of that. I want the best record, if someone can go out there and write a better record than me, I’m the one that has to go out there and pull it off.

Puff Daddy Wanted Drake to Ghostwrite ‘0 to 100′ for Him | Spin

50 Cent ft. Olivia – “Candy Shop”

Album: The Massacre

Released: February 15, 2005

Producer: Scott Storch

Original artist: Fat Joe

Fat Joe: I’m pretty sure the world don’t know we actually produced Candy Shop together. I produced it with him [Storch], made the intro, put the sounds together. I figured at the time Lean Back was popping so Scott called me like 50 times, 100 times: ‘Yo, you sure you don’t want to use it? 50 Cent called me. 50 Cent want it.’ I never had a problem with this dude. I was like, ‘Go ahead.’ The next day, I get in there and hear Candy Shop. Sometimes you know beats ain’t for you.

Fat Joe Weighs In On 50 Cent War With Candy Shop Confession | Contact Music

French Montana ft. Swae Lee – “Unforgettable”

Album: Jungle Rules

Released: April 7, 2017

Producer: Jaegen, 1Mind, C.P Dubb, Mike WiLL Made-It

Original artist: Drake

Mac Sutphin (1Mind): I see this message on Twitter from Oliver, OVO Oliver, he’s like, ‘Yo, this is our last session for Views, send some more shit if you guys have any last ideas to send through’. So I was like, aww shit, I guess I do probably have to make something right now. So I kind of ducked off back to my friend’s house, did a little session for four hours, and that turned out to be the ‘Unforgettable’ beat. And I sent it back to Oliver, he’s like, ‘Yo, this is fire, hold onto it.’ Obviously, [Drake] didn’t end up using it, but, um, yeah, I think it worked out for the best.

French Montana’s Smash Single “Unforgettable” Was Originally Made for Drake | DJ Booth

50 Cent – “In da Club”

Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Released: January 7, 2003

Producer: Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Mike Elizondo

Original artist: D12

Joe Budden – “Pump It Up”

Album: Joe Budden

Released: March 24, 2003

Producer: Just Blaze

Original artists: Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Jay-Z

Jay-Z – “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)”

Album: The Blueprint

Released: September 11, 2001

Producer: Kanye West

Original artists: DMX

Kanye West: I remember he had a Gucci bucket hat on. I remember it like, like it was yesterday. And Hip-hop said, “Yo play that one beat for him.” And I played “Heart of the City.” And really I made “Heart of the City,” I really wanted to give that beat to DMX.

Kanye West – “Last Call” | Genius

Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx – “Gold Digger”

Album: Late Registration

Released: July 5, 2005

Producer: Kanye West, Jon Brion

Original artist: Shawnna

Plain Pat: He did that beat a while before the movie [‘Ray’] was even thought of. He did the beat at Ludacris’ house in Atlanta and he did it for Shawnna. She passed on it, actually. I’m not sure why.

Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Kanye West’s ‘Gold Digger’ | MTV News

Jay-Z – “Girls, Girls, Girls”

Album: The Blueprint

Released: September 11, 2001

Producer: Just Blaze

Original artist: Ghostface Killah

Just Blaze: I already had “Girls, Girls, Girls” made for a minute. I was toying with the idea of giving it to Ghostface. I played it for [Jay], and he was like, “Let’s go do it right now.”

Just Blaze & Young Guru talk Jay-Z, Dame Dash,The Blueprint, Higher, Ghostface, Busta Rhymes + More

2Pac – “How Do U Want It”

Album: All Eyez on Me

Released: February 13, 1996

Producer: Johnny “J”

Original artist: Crooked I

Crooked I: I sat in the office at Virgin and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m cool with that.’ And then a couple months later 2 million sold.

Slaughter House talks beats & lyrics | On-Air Idiot Show

Jadakiss ft. Styles P – “We Gonna Make It”

Album: Kiss tha Game Goodbye

Released: August 7, 2001

Producer: The Alchemist

Original artists: Jay-Z, Nas, Ras Kass

The Alchemist: Hip-Hop [former A&R at Roc-A-Fella Records] is my man and I used to go over there [Baseline Studios] and play beats. One day, I was there, Jay came in the room, heard it—and, you know, that’s the regular occurrence if you’re going to go to Roc-A-Fella at that time and play beats. If he wanted it, he would have been like ‘Yeah, I need that.’

Production Credit: Alchemist Recalls Shopping Jadakiss’s “We Gonna Make It” Instrumental | XXL

Cam’ron ft. Juelz Santana – “Oh Boy”

Album: Come Home with Me

Released: May 14, 2002

Producer: Just Blaze

Original artist: Memphis Bleek

Just Blaze: There was drama about that song being Jay’s originally, and that they stole Jay’s beat or whatever. It totally wasn’t like that. Originally, the beat was much faster. I made it as an up-tempo record for Bleek but he turned it down. I reworked it and slowed it down, but he still wasn’t really feeling it.

Just Blaze Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2) | Complex

Jay-Z – “Blue Magic”

Album: American Gangster

Released: November 6, 2007

Producer: The Neptunes

Original artist: Yung Joc

Yung Joc: He [Pharrell] gave me this rap flow. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Rakim. Yeah, I know that shit.’ I was listening to the beat and the concept. I was like, ‘I don’t know if that’s me. I want some of that wild shit you do. This shit’s kind of calm.

Yung Joc Reflects On Passing On Jay Z “Blue Magic” Beat In Studio With Him, Pharrell and Diddy

Kanye West – “Heard ‘Em Say”

Album: Late Registration

Released: August 30, 2005

Producer: Kanye West, Jon Brion

Original artist: Common

Common: [Another] one of the beats I passed on—that I regret—is the song he did called ‘Heard ’Em Say.’ He made that beat for me in the studio. He was like, ‘Rash, you want this?’ I was like, ‘Man, it’s cool…’ He was like, ‘You sure? You want this?’ He gave me about 30 seconds to think if I wanted it; usually, I can sit with ’em. I said, ‘It’s cool.’ He said, ‘Man, I’m takin’ this, I’m gonna rap on it.’ He wrote the song in about 15 minutes.

Common (Full) – Rap Radar

Jay-Z – “Jigga My Nigga”

Album: Ryde or Die Vol. 1

Released: April 27, 1999

Producer: Swizz Beatz

Original artist: Jadakiss

Swizz Beatz: Jada had ‘Jigga’ first. Listen to the record close: the original record was ‘Jaaaada,’ and he didn’t want it. Then ‘Jigga’ came out and we got into some words. [Kiss] didn’t drop a verse on that.

Swizz Beatz | Drink Champs (Full Episode)

D’Angelo – “Devil’s Pie”

Album: Voodoo

Released: October 31, 1998

Producer: D’Angelo, DJ Premier

Original artist: Canibus

DJ Premier: It was actually a Canibus track for Niggonometry. And he said, ‘I just want a hard bass line, and some drums.’ I did that beat, but he said I’m not cutting it in to his vision. Then D’Angelo called me the same night talking about, ‘Yo, man, I want you to hear what I’m working on and get a track from you.’ So I go by there, and I played him the track Canibus didn’t want, and D’Angelo was like, ‘Ooooooooh!’ He gets really amped. You see him all sexy and naked in the video, but he was running around the room, and we were just looking at him like, ‘Wow.’ He was like, ‘Yo, this is it.’ And then we cut it.

DJ Premier Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records | Complex

The Notorious B.I.G. – “I Got a Story to Tell”

Album: Life After Death

Released: March 25, 1997

Producer: Buckwild

Original artist: Foxy Brown

Buckwild: That was originally meant for Foxy. Tone from Trackmasters picked the beat for Foxy, and Foxy heard it, then she said, ‘It’s the worst beat I heard in my life.’ But you can’t knock it because Foxy’s album is so dope and has so many hits on it. So fast forward to next year. Biggie does the song, Foxy comes in, she hears it, and goes, ‘Big, this got to be the best record on your album.’ And then I called Tone and said, ‘Yo, this the same beat I gave Foxy. I thought you said she didn’t like it.’ Tone was just like, ‘Man, don’t pay attention to her.’

Buckwild Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records | Complex

T.I. – “Bring Em Out”

Album: Urban Legend

Released: October 19, 2004

Producer: Swizz Beatz

Original artist: Beanie Sigel, Joe Budden

Busta Rhymes – “Touch It”

Album: The Big Bang

Released: December 13, 2005

Producer: Swizz Beatz

Original artist: Eve

Swizz Beatz: She just wasn’t vibing on it at that particular moment, but Busta couldn’t wait to take it. ‘I’ll take it, duke. Give me it now. What are we doing?’ He started doing this dance. It was over in 2.1 seconds. I knew it was over.

Swizz Beatz Says Busta Rhymes’ “Touch It” Was Initially Made For Eve | Vibe

Kanye – “Everything I Am”

Album: Graduation

Released: September 11, 2007

Producer: Kanye West

Original artist: Common

A$AP Rocky – “Goldie”

Album: Long. Live. ASAP

Released: April 27, 2012

Producer: Hit-Boy

Original artist: Jay-Z

Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas in Paris”

Album: Watch the Throne

Released: August 8, 2011

Producer: Hit-Boy, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Anthony Kilhoffer

Original artist: Pusha T

Pusha T: ‘Ye gave me beats and that was in the bunch. “Niggas in Paris” was playful to me and I was in demonic rap mode. I was like, “Yo, I don’t want this right now,” he was like, “Man, this will be a club smash,” and I’m like, “Maybe, but don’t ask me to wrap my brain around that when I’m writing stuff like ‘My God,’ which is another Hit Boy beat.”

Pusha T | Sneeze Magazine

Rick Ross – “Tears of Joy”

Album: Teflon Don

Released: July 20, 2010

Producer: No I.D.

Original artist: J. Cole

J. Cole: But ‘Tears of Joy,’ I couldn’t have did what Ross did on that, because [I] was in a bad place. Me and No I.D. was in the studio, but the label was on me about some hits, so it was a bad session. I squeezed out a verse on ‘Tears of Joy,’ but I was not in a good place to do anything close to what Ross did on that. But I still smack myself about those.

J. Cole Explains How He Missed Out On Nas’ “Stay” & Rick Ross’s “Tears Of Joy” | Hypebeast
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