DJ Quik Decodes Jay Z’s Justify My Thug (Video)

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Back in 2003, when the production was announced for Jay Z’s The Black Album, there were two big curiosities: 9th Wonder and DJ Quik. While DJ Premier, Ski Beatz, and Irv Gotti were notably absent from what was billed as Jay’s curtain-call album, he helped get Little Brother’s co-founder the biggest look of his career through album-cut “Threat.” Interestingly enough, L.B.’s own take on the song would later appear on the preliminary version of The Chitlin’ Circuit. With 9th working with Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, and signing major label deals with both Atlantic and Asylum/Warner Bros. Records after that look, the rest is proverbial history.

For DJ Quik, it’s a bit different. The Compton MC/DJ/producer may have crafted hits for 2Pac, AMG, 2nd II None and Penthouse Players Clique, but in the early 2000s, Quik wasn’t a name that appeared on too many production wish-lists (or so it seemed). “Justify My Thug,” with Madonna vocals, a thumping bassline, and one of the most quotable Jigga verses of the day stood apart. Like 45 King’s production on “Stan” and “Hard Knock Life,” it seemed seemingly out of nowhere. The two have not worked together since.

While Jay has focused on work with Kanye West, Timbaland and Just Blaze, Quik’s recently focused on live instrumentation, and mixed albums for Murs, made full-length collabos with Kurupt, and even inked a short-lived deal with Interscope with AMG (as The Fixxers).

Jay’s Life + Times picks Quik’s ear about “Justify My Thug”:

Related: DJ Quik Playlist