Ordinarily the “Decoded” series on Life + Times features MCs breaking down the meanings to some of their favorite bars. Instead, the latest edition veers to the production side of things, this time featuring beatsmith and college professor, 9th Wonder, recalling his work on “Threat” from Jay-Z’s The Black Album a decade ago.
“It was Saturday, September, 20, 2003,” said 9th, crediting his memory to him being a historian. That day, Jay-Z took home one of the North Carolina native’s beat CDs, only to arrive at their next studio session the following Monday with an entirely new idea.
“Jay comes in and he sits down. I play more beats for him; play more beats for him. And he says ‘Look man, let’s just stop for a minute. I have a song called Threat. I have an idea for a sample I want to use, and I want to see what you can do with it,” recalls 9th Wonder.
That sample was R. Kelly’s “A Woman’s Threat” from TP-2.COM, which the former Little Brother beat maker was given a half hour to sample and rework. After the allotted half-hour time period, 9th had only chopped the sample, and it was completely devoid of drums. Despite this, the Brooklyn MC knew he had the track he sought. The rest was apparently history.
See 9th Wonder tell the story in full below.