With the release of Jay-Z’s 4:44 album, No I.D. spoke with Rolling Stone on executive producing the project with Hov from the initial formation, inspiration, and creative process.
Here’s couple quotes from the article:
How did you first start working on 4:44?
Maybe a year ago I saw Jay-Z at a restaurant. He goes, “You got any music for me?” And I go, “Nope.” He goes, “What are you working on?” I said, “Getting better.”
The thing that made me want to get better was I heard a quote by Quincy Jones where they asked him, “What do you think about music nowadays?” He said, “four-bar loops.” It really affected me. I said, “Wait a minute, that’s not what I want to be a part of.” So I went and did some studying with the intention of growing.
A little after that, I decided to just do 500 ideas in a short amount of time. It’s like shooting free throws in the gym. I’m going to do this until I have something new. When I got up in the hundreds, I thought I had something new. The first person I actually went to see was J. Cole. I played him them and said, “Who do you think I should give this to?” I wanted a different perspective. We discussed some things, and it led to me hitting Jay-Z up.
My actual email was: “I got some things that I think are Blueprint-level, [Jay-Z’s widely acclaimed 2001 album]. I know that’s a lot to say, but we need to do this.” And from there, I literally probably gave him three to five new ideas every day for a nice amount of time.
When you and Jay-Z started working on this, was it clear that it was going to be an album and just you two working on it? He’s never made an album with just one producer.
I don’t think we discussed anything. Another part of the beauty was: I saw that he, from our initial conversation, wanted to say more and wanted to say some things that he hadn’t said. Part of my growth as a producer was not just about making beats but also helping in the process of inspiring the song and making the song the center. This album is about Shawn Carter, Jay-Z, opening up, and me scoring that. It only came about me doing the whole album because the scoring part of the story started getting so specific that no one else knew how to do the music that fit what was going on. That just happened by default. Half of this album we credited him as co-producer on. At a point, I said, “Man, make me a playlist of songs you like. Where’s your taste at right now?” And there’s a value in a one-producer album. Most of the greatest albums in the history of music are one producer. It’s just a fact. Or one collective.
Check the full article for more.