It’s not a mystery that Just Blaze is my favorite producer of all time and SwagGordon always asks me my top 5 or 10 Justin Blaze beats. Well, that task is entirely too hard for a man to accomplish in a timely manner. The main reasons Just tops my list is his versatility and his use of so many different sounds while still keeping it hard at the end of the day. I haven’t seen many producers be as consistent on beat quality as Just Blaze. So I’ve decided to just name a few of my favorite beats from him, no particular order. CAUTION: PLEASE PLUG IN YOUR SPEAKERS.
Young Gunz – Tough Luv
The way those hard drums start out after the perfect intro is just impressive. Match the drums with an intoxicating deep horn and airy chorus strings, you have one of the hardest beats ever made while still sounding smooth at the same time. Listen to that snare, smh. This beat is a hidden gem.
Fat Joe – Safe 2 Say (The Incredible)
From the start, the sounds just attack you then it stops with a snare (prepare yourself)…the beat drops. I always think about a rocker from the early 70s just getting busy on the eletric guiter and the drummer beating the hell out of his drum set (both with funky haircuts). I love the sounds in this and how it breaks down. The Public Enemy sound bite and the scratches don’t hurt either.
Jay-Z – You Dont Know (Remix)
I always love when a sound bite from the sample goes right along with the song as it did in this case. I remember reading Just Blaze saying that the original You Dont Know beat from The Blueprint album was not finished because of time constraints of having to turn the album in so for the remix, he finished it. That scream always seem to almost bring me to tears, it matches the energy of the beat so well. Listen how the beat comes in…ahh man, insane. The drums are nice but they took a backseat to the main sample which steal the show so easily.
Talib Kweli – Never Been In Love
The voice is going from talking into the beat so seamlessly, impressive stuff for sure. This beat is soft and hard. You have the “woo woo ooooooh” and piano keys with some nice drums, a bassline with the perfect depth, and a hard snare layered with a clap. There’s a grooves that comes in every now and then that make you just want to two step. Sounds so simple don’t you agree? Beautiful beat.
Freeway – Line Em Up
The intro makes me feel like I’m in church with that organ note. First of all, the electric guitar is one ill loop but what drives it all home is the unorthodox drum/snare pattern and the liveliness of it. The sound of the snare is of one you don’t hear too often and for this type of jam, it works flawlessly. Just Blaze has become known for his usage of the Organ Piano, this is one of the first beats I heard it on along with that scream from You Dont Know that I spoke on earlier.
Jay-Z – Hovi Baby
Who samples TLC and it sounds like this? Just Blaze and The Blazettes. The choppiness and hesitation of this track always have me shaking my head on how incredible it is, my goodness. He flipped the sounds better than TLC did! This is a busy beat but yet it grants spaces throughout to let it ride after the breakdowns. I remember hearing someone saying that this was Just Blaze’s worse beat, probably one of the dumbest remarks I’ve ever heard. Jay-Z described this beat perfectly, “chasing the hi hat all over the track, the snare is scared of the air in here, BOOM!”
Usher – Throwback
Just Blaze knows how to let a sample breathe when its due. In this case, it was due! I remember hearing this sample used on the State Property Vol.2 CD and whoever made it didn’t do the sample justice. Just Blaze laces it with some simple drums and a hard snare but the arrangement of the sample pieces are just right, I love the breakdown as well. Who would’ve thought this would turn out to be an incredible R&B track? Smh.
Saigon – Eyeball
A loosie track that I stumbled upon a few years ago. Most of time I listen to it and totally block Saigon out because the beat is freakin’ insane. The sample vocals “Don’t you know….Don’t you” sounds so lovely and then JB brings the adrenaline rush back with the second part of the beat. Crazy.
….part two might come later.