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Veteran Chicago producer No I.D. has toiled for years as an unseen force behind some of Hip-Hop’s most celebrated records. The longtime producer for Common and mentor to superstar Kanye West has risen from his early boom-bap days to the offices of legendary label Def Jam, where he is serving as the Executive Vice President. No I.D. revealed in a recent interview details about his Def Jam job, helping shape the sound of Watch The Throne and working alongside Kanye West and Jay-Z.

The reclusive No I.D., born Dion Wilson, granted a rare interview to Complex in which he shared how he came to finally gain success after producing for over 20 years. No I.D. exuded both extreme confidence and humility nearly all at once during the interview.

“When I started working with G.O.O.D. Music, I was the president for a while. That led me to meet Big Sean, and I developed a relationship with [Island Def Jam head of A&R] Karen Kwak and [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Island Def Jam Music Group] L.A. Reid at the time. They got to know me and that led to them offering me a job,” said No I.D. “I come from an era where you just build something. Me and Common built what we built from Chicago from scratch. Then helping Kanye get to where he’s gotten.”

No I.D. was candid about his behind-the-scenes involvement on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collaborative Watch The Throne release. “For example, I came in when Watch The Throne was happening,” shared No I.D. “It wasn’t like I was actively working on the project, but I came in with some insight that helped bring records like ‘Otis,’ ‘Made In America,’ and ‘No Church In The Wild.’”

Referring to the glowing accolades Kanye West has showered upon him, No I.D. takes quiet credit. “I never wanted to even say that I was his mentor. I never once even said that,” said No I.D. “When you think about it, I never said, like, ‘Yeah I taught Kanye West’ This is what he says. I always thought of myself as the male figure that he didn’t have growing up because his father wasn’t around.”

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