By Maurice Bobb
When Big Sean’s “Control” hit the Internet, hip-hop was abuzz about Kendrick Lamar’s verse , but what if the beat that shook up the game had never made it to the Detroit player? According to legendary producer Dion “No I.D.” Wilson, the beat was originally made for Jay Z.
“I had this beat. I had actually done it for Jay, right before I let [Sean] hear it. I said, ‘You should take this beat, I think it would be great for you to show up on one of these beats, forget money, forget everything’,” the Executive Vice-President of Def Jam Recordings told Complex. “I had a conversation with Big Sean towards the end of his album. I told him, I felt like he needed to do some straight, hardcore hip-hop records. Sometimes we focus so much on selling records that we leave some artistic points uncovered.”
The incendiary track, which prompted a litany of diss records from rappers that weren’t even mentioned, wasn’t even intended to be a full song.
“For a while—I’d say, since Common’s “Ghetto Dreams”—I’ve been on a hip-hop crusade. To try and just bring that energy back that I felt was not present,” he said. “I just wanted him to show up on one of those beats and then he did a freestyle to it. He was like, “I’m gonna drop it as a freestyle.” I was like cool. Then he was like, “Yo, I’m gonna get Jay Electronica on it.” I was like, “Okay, cool.” Anyway, that’s where “No I.D. (Freestyle)” comes from, it was a No I.D. beat and he was freestyling. It didn’t have a chorus, it wasn’t intended to be a full song even.”
Elsewhere in his rare interview, the hitmaker praised Rick Rubin and expressed his disdain for attention.
“I just want to do music and live life and let the songs have the life,” he added. “I like the fact that ‘Control’ got out there and we talked to the artists and I didn’t jump out there and say ‘Yeah! You know I did the beat!’ It’s getting old for me to see and do it, I just want to do music.”