Pharrell detailed Hov’s writing process during a recent podcast appearance.
Where some rappers are constantly writing in a notebook, or in the notes app, others never write a single lyric.
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Jay-Z has long been known as someone who doesn’t write lyrics. His raps aren’t necessarily freestyles, but they aren’t read off a page, either. Hov is known for having one of the best minds in the game, and much like with Lil Wayne, fans and peers have been in awe for two-and-a-half decades at his ability to keep every line of every song just inside his head.
Explaining that Hov is “one of us,” Pharrell explained his process as “weird,” but “amazing.”
“Jay-Z is another one — people don’t realize that. He’s one of us,” Pharell told Uncovered host Mark Ronson. “He’s not good because he’s just made good records. No! He’s really a character. He’s an odd guy. When you have a conversation with him, it’s not a regular conversation.”
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“When he writes, he’s just sitting there mumbling to himself — in falsetto, by the way. Yo, when he writes a rhyme, he doesn’t go, ‘[tough voice] Chyea! When the Remy’s in the system’ — he doesn’t do that,” he continued. “He goes, ‘[falsetto voice] Yo, yo, when the Remy’s in the system/Ain’t no telling will I f*ck ’em? Will I diss ’em?/That’s what they be yellin’/I’m a pimp by blood.’ And he taps you on the shoulder and takes it back again. He writes in falsetto.”
Pharrell explained that even though he doesn’t know why Jay writes like that, the Blueprint rapper has always done it.
“That’s odd and different and weird and amazing! And makes him a character,” he said. “I gotta ask him why he does that, I don’t know why he does it. But he’s always done that.”
What do you think of Hov writing in falsetto? Let us know down in the comments.