Pete Rock spoke to Vibe for their “Full Clip” series about making Kanye West’s “The Joy.” The Mt. Vernon legend was working with Kanye in Hawaii but had no idea that Jay-Z was going to be on the record.
“He played me ‘Runaway’ and was like, ‘Yo, look…I took your drums from ‘Mecca & The Soul Brother.’ It was a nice way he put it together,” he told Vibe’s Keith Murphy. “I started playing him beats and the ones he liked he put them to the side, and the Curtis Mayfield joint was one of them.
“I used to love that song as a kid (Mayfield’s ‘The Makings of You’). I also liked Gladys Knight’s version. But I never heard the live version of it. So when I heard the live one with Curtis and the bass player going crazy I was like, ‘Oh shit….let me fuck with this!’ I was just playing around and experimenting. I was just going to do one part of the sample, but when I heard how Curtis sounded singing it I just said, ‘You know what? Fuck that…’ I put the vocals on it…and that shit was butter.
Now what really fucked me up was Jay-Z being on it. I’m going to tell everybody right now. I had no clue that Kanye was going to do that. Because the way we were working on the song it was just him on it. And I jumped on it and did my adlibs. Then my man Young Guru called me and was like, ‘Yo Pete…I got a surprise for you.’ He played it for me over the phone. At first I couldn’t hear Jay’s voice too good. Guru is like, ‘You heard it?’ I’m like, ‘Nah..’ I was driving so I didn’t want to get pulled over by the cops so I just stopped the car. I heard Jay’s verse and I almost had a heart attack [laughs]! I was like, ‘Is that fucking Jay-Z??? Finally, I can’t believe it.’ But then when ‘The Joy’ didn’t come out on Kanye’s album people on Twitter and Faceback were like they brought his album because they thought it was going to be on there. But hey…maybe it will be on Watch The Throne.”