Pound for pound, Just Blaze is one of the best producers ever. The Paterson, New Jersey native worked his way from being an intern at The Cutting Room studios in New York City to crafting the sound for Roc-A-Fella records.
After spending a few years in the late ’90s/early 2000s building his buzz (and his skill set) he became a star after producing a bulk of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint alongside Kanye West in 2001. Since then he’s been blessing us with bangers on the regular.
We got down with the man born Justin Smith to talk about his impressive catalog. In part one of our two part series, we focused on his lesser known records. Instead of exclusively talking about his best known records, we talked about how he got in the game and the beats he made along the way to making The Blueprint.
Blaze told us about how Big Pun gave him thousands of dollars of eqipment for free, how one of his most beloved records has a huge mistake on it, and the time Jay-Z told him he was the best producer in the game.
In part two of our interview we focus on the glory days of Roc-A-Fella. Mostly because, from 2002 to 2003, dude worked out of Baseline studios and made nothing but fire. We asked Blaze about producing on Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, Freeway’s Philadelphia Freeway, Cam’Ron’s Come Home With Me, as well as other records.
Blaze didn’t hold anything back as he revealed which song on Blueprint 2 was originally a Nas diss, how his relationship with Dame Dash wasn’t always all good, and how Erick Sermon helped him get one of his biggest checks ever (at that time). Plus, he told us about how (at one point) he had to take Freeway’s career into his hands, the lost remix to “Roc The Mic” which featured State Property and Jay-Z, and how Cam’Ron was genuinely excited to have Hov spit a verse on “Welcome To New York City.”