Every true Jay-Z fan has heard of Young Guru. But if you haven’t he’s Jay-Z’s engineer and mixer, who has worked alongside Jay since 1999. They’ve shared a close bond over the years and Guru has become Hov’s go-to-guy for any verse he lays down. So who better to reveal some of Jay’s inner-thoughts then his right-hand man when it comes to his music development. Young Guru sat down with Complex to discuss 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jay-Z. I thought it was a pretty dope read that you might find interesting. Check it out.
15. He Watches Every YouTube Rapper
Young Guru: “Jay-Z has probably watched every SMACK DVD, Grind Time battle, freestyle, and every battle that has ever been on YouTube. If you ever battle in any situation that has any remote type of promotion, he’s seen it. He calls me like, ‘Please come watch this battle.’ Jay watches all of them. I mean all of them. Every battle that has ever been on. Jay watches these dudes freestyle on YouTube. Like, if you’re a battle MC from Philly, you may not have been in a battle but you just get on YouTube and start rapping, Jay watches those religiously. It’s just the weirdest thing in the world but he really loves it to the point where I’m like, ‘Yo, turn it off.’”
14. Him & Beyoncé Leave Restaurants Separately
Young Guru: “Jay doesn’t lust for the limelight. He ain’t want all this nonsense of having to leave restaurants at a different time than [Beyoncé] because [the paparazzi] get more money if they snap both of them together. That’s so corny. He just wants to go and eat but he’s gotta think about dumb shit like that now. They can’t walk out the restaurant together. How dumb is that? But it’s reality.”
13. He’s Nice At Basketball
Young Guru: “[When we were recording The Blueprint 3] Kanye was like, ‘I just bought the crib in Hawaii. Come through, I’ll have the cook cook for us and we’ll go run ball before we hit the studio.’ We get up, me and Jay go over there, we eat breakfast, Kanye’s showing us this nice new crib, and then we go out and play ball. It wasn’t even like we shut down or rented a whole gym. We just rode around, found an outside court at some kid’s school, and we played ball. The kids looked outside and was like, ‘Oh shit that’s Kanye and Jay-Z playing ball on our court.’ We all went out and had a nice little exercise. Jay is absolutely nice at ball. He’s got a nice 12-foot jumper. He knows the game. He’s smart about the game. For Kanye and them it’s more exercise; they’re not ballers. I came from playing ball; I played ball in high school and college. For me, it’s like I’m super out of shape but I can’t let Kanye and Don C. beat me in basketball. I gotta use what I know to win the game. But that game was more about getting together and brotherhood thing.”
12. Jay Lets Young Guru Keep All His Music
Young Guru: “That’s part of where my job extends beyond normal engineering because once Jay got comfortable with me, it was more than ‘Record and mix my albums.’ It became ‘Oversee my music.’ That means, I hold it all. “First of all, Jay doesn’t want any of his music on any other drives but my hard drive. If it leaks, it’s on me. For Jay, it’s safer to have me as his central base versus it being scattered all over the city. Whether I mix them or not, I gather all the mixes. If Timbaland’s guy mixed this and Pharrell mixed this, I got all the mixes. I go present all the mixes to our mastering guy. I sit with the mastering guy doing the tweeks and EQing, doing the spacing in-between the records, all of that stuff. And we put the whole album together. If CBS is putting ‘Heart of the City’ in the beginning of some cop show, they’ll come to me and be like, ‘Can I get the instrumental TV track?’ because they know I hold everything. If he’s in Rocawear and we need a voice-over, call Guru. It’s those type things. That all falls into my responsibility. It’s gone beyond the normal thing. It’s become a gig to take care of Jay-Z’s musical world.”
11. His Adlibs Are Live
Young Guru: “If you hear Jay-Z say, ‘Guru, tell that girl open that Ace’ or ‘Turn the lights down,’ on a song, he’s really talking [to people in the studio]. Like on Scarface’s ‘Guess Who’s Back,’ when he’s talking in the beginning and he’s like, ‘Gu turn my headphones down, my headphones distorting,’ that’s all real.”
Continue reading the other top 10 over at Complex.com.