(AllHipHop News) This year will be the 10th anniversary of the release of Jay-Z’s seminal The Black Album. The names on the production credits for that LP read like a first-ballot induction list for a Hip-Hop Producers Hall of Fame. Timbaland, The Neptunes, Kanye West, Rick Rubin, Just Blaze, and DJ Quick all contributed tracks to what Jay presented as his “retirement album.”
There was also a relative newcomer that made the album as well, and since then North Carolina’s 9th Wonder has become one of the most sought after beatmakers in urban music.
Recently 9th sat down with Life+Times to discuss how he hooked up with HOVA and the process for making the R. Kelly sampled track “Threat” for The Black Album.
“‘A Woman’s Threat’ by R. Kelly is a very slow song,” says 9th. “I had to really challenge myself and say ‘ok how can I take this song and instead of time-stretching it, smush it and make it fit an upbeat tempo?'”
9th also talks about Jay requesting that he keep a “New York bounce” on the record.
“The New York bounce is when the swing is all the way up and it’s the boom-bap sound which was originated by DJ Premier and Pete Rock and Marley Marl,” explains 9th. “It’s kind of a derivative, or a play off of, or a descendant of ‘Impeach The President‘.”
Prior to working with Jay-Z on “Threat,” 9th Wonder was best well-known for producing Little Brother’s entire debut album The Listening that was released several months before The Black Album in 2003. 9th also produced every track on the Hip Hop trio’s (9th, Phonte, and Big Pooh) 2005 underground classic The Minstrel Show.
9th Wonder has also worked with Chris Brown, J. Cole, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, and many others. In 2012 he released two collaborative albums- The Solution with Buckshot of the Boot Camp Clik and The Final Adventure with Los Angeles emcee Murs.
[ALSO READ: Exclusive: Beatmaker and Educator 9th Wonder On His New Buckshot/Murs Albums and The HBCU Effect]
9th also released the remix album Black American Gangster in January. The 14-track project features Jay-Z’s vocals from the American Gangster LP over revamped soul samples from the 1970’s.
Watch the full Life+Times interview below: