Rick Rubin reveals that Chris Rock was the one who suggested that Jay interpolate Ice-T's "99 Problems".
It's no secret that the hook to Jay Z's "99 Problems" was lifted from an Ice-T song, but a lesser known fact is that it was actually Chris Rock who suggested the concept to Jay. Rick Rubin, who supplied the powerfully minimal beat for the track revealed the strange story in a new interview with New York magazine.
"Chris Rock had the idea for the chorus," he said. "It’s based on an Ice-T song called '99 Problems,' and [Rock] said, 'Ice-T has this song, and maybe there’s a way to flip it around and do a new version of that.' I told Jay Z the idea and he liked it."
Rubin then explained how they were able to flip the entire subject of the song, while working with the same line. "The Ice-T song is about 'got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one,' and then it’s a list of him talking about his girls and what a great pimp he is," he said. "Our idea was to use that same hook concept, and instead of it being about the girls that are not his problem, instead of being a bragging song, it’s more about the problems. Like this is about the other side of that story."