Perhaps moreso than with any other producer in recent memory, Just Blaze‘s track work represents the place where your stringent hip-hop classicist and less finicky listener can bond in common sonic appreciation. Having come into his own – along with fellow then-fledgling Roc-A-Fella producer Kanye West – on Jay-Z‘s opus The Blueprint, Just’s most beloved beats for ‘Hov (“U Don’t Know”; “PSA”; “Show Me What You Got” etc.) and others (Cam’ron‘s “Oh Boy”; Dipset‘s “I Really Mean It”; Freeway‘s “What We Do”; Joe Budden‘s “Pump It Up”; Fabolous‘ “Breathe”) helped define the sound of an era – sample-based but brawny, reverential to rap’s Big Apple history but accessible and unhemmed by geography. That he’s continued to successfully hone this sensibility over the years via collaborations with T.I., Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Baauer is largely due to the fact that his ear has always eschewed boundaries. Young Justin Smith of Paterson, NJ came up obsessively taping Red Alert and them on the radio, and spinning house and techno, and loving 8- and 16-bit Sega Master System Japanese keyboard beats. Here, the guy who once flipped that Night At the Roxbury ish for Marshall Mathers and Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. discusses some of his favorite sample flips.
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