"I analyzed the mistakes and tried not to make those mistakes."
Jay-Z's 13th studio album 4:44 has been greeted with instantaneous praise following its release Friday. The album's concise 10-track presentation and cohesive No I.D. production have been hailed as strengths, as has Jay's open and introspective demeanor. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, No I.D., who produced the album in its entirety, has shared some insight into the songwriting process, as well as revealing there're more to come.
"There's three more songs that are coming out as bonuses," the producer revealed after suggesting the album was envisioned as "10 really good songs." "James Blake came in and joined into the process. There's more coming shortly that's equally as revealing." With the album rumored to be released across all streaming services next week, those songs could be available very soon, or as Young Guru has suggested, will be saved for the physical release.
The producer also pointed to a few albums that inspired the cohesion found on 4:44. "Sometimes these classics, the continuity is what makes them classic, and then you have these examples of reaching for the single or the radio record," he said. "Albums I was pointing to were like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, Confessions by Usher, [Jay-Z's] The Blueprint, [Nas'] Illmatic, [Kanye West's] My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I analyzed the mistakes and tried not to make those mistakes."
It all started with I.D.'s challenge for himself: "I decided to just do 500 ideas in a short amount of time. It's like shooting free throws in the gym," he said. "I'm going to do this until I have something new. When I got up in the hundreds, I thought I had something new. The first person I actually went to see was J. Cole. I played him them and said, "Who do you think I should give this to?" I wanted a different perspective. We discussed some things, and it led to me hitting Jay-Z up."
The producer's pitch to Jay Z was an ambitious one, and it worked. "My actual email was: "I got some things that I think are Blueprint-level, [Jay-Z's widely acclaimed 2001 album]," he recalled. "I know that's a lot to say, but we need to do this." And from there, I literally probably gave him three to five new ideas every day for a nice amount of time."
When asked about the title track, which stands as the most vulnerable moment across the project, No I.D. gave a bit of perspective on how the track was recorded (Jay previously revealed he woke up at 4:44 AM to write the song). "He recorded it at his house with nobody around – on [Beyoncé's] mic," he said. "I'll let him tell the rest of the story. But I remember Guru brings it back and he does this little thing, walks in the room and doesn't say anything. He stops everything, presses play, and walks out the room."
Read the full interview here.