Jay-Z Reveals The Secrets To Creating A Classic Song

06.01.11 6 years ago 22 Comments

There was a reason we ran through the 20 biggest airballs of Jay-Z’s career. It’s because listing his top 20 game winners is like saying Sarah Palin will sweep the minority vote in 2012. If you know what I know about the behind the scenes workings at TSS, that e-mail chain would be miles long with no real conclusion in sight.

That being water under the Brooklyn Bridge since we’re all aware Hov knows a thing or two about making a track with the intangibles to stand the test of time. He recently served as a guest writer at RollingStone.com to break down what it takes to produce a classic record.

I spend a lot of time fighting myself to stay out of the way of a great song. It’s hard for me to leave a song alone, in its natural state. I want it to have that mass appeal, but once I start trying to push it too far, you can feel that something isn’t right. When you can hear what a writer is trying to do, it’s like watching a dancer and seeing him counting his steps. Music is emotional — if you’re singing that you’re in love with somebody but it doesn’t really feel like you are, people can tell.

Some of my best songs aren’t the biggest ones. A song like “Can I Live” is so full of emotion to me — it was better than “Hard Knock Life” or “Empire State of Mind,” but it lacked that accessibility. ­Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album may not have been bigger than Thriller, but the songs had better melodies.”

Even if the tunes weren’t easy to digest, it’s hard to argue with a man who’s had many more makes than misses.

H/T: Rolling Stone

Previously: The 20 Worst Jay-Z Songs

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