Evidence Talks About The Time Kanye West Jacked His Beat (Video)
Twenty-five years ago, The College Dropout put a long-striving Kanye West the spotlight. 2004 proved to a breakthrough for the Roc-A-Fella Records artist who had been stacking credits since the late ’90s. After some critical production work on albums by JAY-Z, Beanie Sigel, Scarface, and Talib Kweli, ‘Ye was able to be the artist he always envisioned. Eventually grabbing two Grammy Awards, College Dropout was suddenly in a class of his own. As a double-threat, West handled almost all of his solo debut’s production. One of the few exceptions was “Last Call” (embedded below), credited as a co-production between him and Dilated Peoples’ Evidence.
Ev’ would earn a Grammy Award for the “Best Rap Album” winner. Just a few months after Dropout, West appeared on Dilated single “This Way.” Recently appearing on People’s Party With Talib Kweli, the MC/producer opened up about “Last Call.” In doing so, he revealed some noteworthy history.
Ev’ recalls driving Kanye West around his hometown of Los Angeles, California. The celebrated producer asked a favor of West, who was signed to JAY-Z’s label. “‘I got a beat called ‘Mr. Roc-A-Fella, can you get this to JAY-Z for me?'” Evidence recalls asking. At the time, Jay was at work on The Black Album. The 2003 LP gathered production from across the Rap landscape, including new collaborations with DJ Quik and 9th Wonder. “And he’s like, ‘Let me hear it.’ And it plays for a minute or two, and he goes, ‘Nope, I think I’m gonna use that because I’m the new Mr. Roc-A-Fella.'” Kweli and co-host Jasmin Leigh laugh at the story. Ev’ continues, “And I’m sitting and looking at him – and his [College Dropout] album’s not out yet – and I’m like, ‘Who are you to deprive me of a shot to get at Jay-Z?’ He was so early with that.”
Evidence then says while Kanye was recording what would turn out to be “Last Call,” he got a call from Capitol Records A&R Joe “3H” Weinberger (who ironically co-produced “My 1st Song” from The Black Album), informing him that they were almost done putting the song together. The Dilated member zoomed over to the studio and the scene was set.
“I walked [into Larrabee Sound Studios] like, ‘What the f*ck?’ And the musician’s replaying the sample [I used]; I guess it didn’t clear. I caught the end of it, I guess they were doing the end of the verses and I got to be a part of seeing the record finish and [Kanye West] and I had a big argument.” Evidence, who has since worked with The Alkaholiks, Roc Marciano, and Sean Price. “He was like, ‘So, this is going to be the biggest Rap album in history, so we need to talk about when people ask who did what.’ So I was like, ‘How did it go?’ And he was like, ‘You did the music; I did the drums.’ I’m like, ‘Alright.’ But then we’re listening and I’m like, ‘That’s my 808, right?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, but I put it low.’ And I’m like, ‘Wait, those are my chimes too.’ [Kanye West is like] ‘Yeah, but I put the ‘Just To Get By’ drums on top.’ And I’m like, ‘Gotcha, whatever.'” Ironically, Jay speaks as the beat begins on the ’04 LP.
Although the credits never reflected Evidence’s level of contribution to the song, he acknowledges the significance. “It was just so funny to see something that literally changed the whole era of Rap.” College Dropout would eventually turn out to achieve a triple-platinum certification, along with its awards and critical praise.
Also during the People’s Party episode, Evidence describes Dilated Peoples’ origins and how living adjacent to Quincy Jones’ son, producer QD3, made his childhood home a popular hangout for a group of Hip-Hop hopefuls that new includes Alchemist and will.i.am.
Evidence’s Weather Or Not was voted “Best Rap Album Of 2018” by Ambrosia For Heads readers. An interview with Ev’ is available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 7-day subscriptions.
#BonusBeat: Kanye West’s “Last Call” (co-produced by Evidence):