Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne may be in contention for Best Rap Album at the Grammys, but Dion “No I.D.” Wilson—who produced one of the disc’s bonus cuts, “Primetime”—initially wasn’t too impressed with the blockbuster collaborative LP.
“I kinda didn’t agree with the direction that Watch the Throne was going because I felt like, ‘Y’all were two of the best that did it as far advancing, pushing the bar, the envelope of what hip-hop can do and is,’” Wilson told XXLMag.com. “And I felt like some of the songs were copping out a little to me.”
Months after his first listen, Wilson was fortunate enough to hear the final WTT version while in New York for Big Sean’s Finally Famous listening session. Again, Jay and ‘Ye’s frequent collaborator wasn’t thrilled. Something was missing. Yeezy had been working closely with RZA, Q-Tip, The Neptunes and Hit Boy, just to name a few, but he hadn’t produced a record on his own as he did on his previous records.
“I get the co-productions, but how you gon do an album and you don’t go to the machine and do one beat by yourself?” No I.D. explained. “We have always sparked this challenge in each other and it bled into the world, so I just wanted to hit him in the stomach real quick. This is what you got? He was like, ‘No, that’s cool. I’m bout to do something.’”
No I.D.’s challenge resulted in Yeezy chopping up Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” for The Throne’s smash hit, “Otis.” The song was added to WTT at the 11th hour and became the LP’s second single. It’s now nominated for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance at the Grammys.
“I remember even at the time at the label they was like, ‘What the hell? No I.D. just came in and messed up our release schedule,’” he recalled. “We all amongst ourselves really are battling each other each and every minute of life, but it’s all in the spirit of advancement and the pursuit of dopeness is what I call it.”