Pete Rock Discusses His “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” Sessions

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My personal favorite Kanye West album is 2010’s My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy. Individually, ‘Ye’s made songs that I’ve grown obsessed with on other albums (see: “Gone,” “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” and “Never Let Me Down”), I thought that his fifth LP hit his greatest stride in making a cohesive, intricate LP that feels like an emotional and sonic time-piece. Moreover, I love the story behind the album. We all fantasize what we’d do with creative control and big budgets, so Kanye soliciting the production work of RZA, Pete Rock and Q-Tip is just smart money. There were reports he was chasing Madlib and DJ Premier too, between that and Watch The Throne.

In the end, Pete Rock lent a vintage transitional drum-break sample of a sample to “Runaway” (my favorite Hip-Hop anti-love-song in years), and produced bonus-track #GoodFriday joint “The Joy.” In a new interview with, the Chocolate Boy Wonder reveals that he was supposed to rap on the song, but declined (that’s a major missed opportunity in my opinion), and that there was a lot more work accomplished.

“It was a big spot. It had an upstairs, and he was working on like three different things at once. You walk in, and he had signs up that said, ‘No Twitter.’ Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, and a bunch of people [were out there when I was there]. Kanye’s the type of dude who is musical, and different, and wants to do something better than the next person. And I like that. He’s very talented, and knowledgeable of the music, and what I had done. He would tell me how he used to sample my interludes. I’d be like, ‘Oh, nice.’

“Then we’d get a vibe, and I’d start playing him beats. I think I played him eight, and he picked three. And then he narrowed it down to one, which was ‘The Joy.’ He asked me to rhyme on it, but I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not ready.’ But then he put Jay on it, so I was kind of glad. He rhymed on it while I was out there. He was quick. Lyrically [sharp].”

Imagining Pete Rock and Rick Ross sitting across from each other at breakfast in Hawaii is a rather funny image for me. However, we should all remember that “Tephlon” (as he was on Erick Onasis), came up under EPMD/Def Squad for a hot sec.

Pete’s not always so revealing, but this is a great interview (love the history of “The Basement” and Greene Street Studios too). I can’t walk by without hearing “Escapism.”

Related: Pete Rock & Camp Lo – 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, Pt. II (Mixtape)