According to producer Just Blaze, it didn’t take much for the idea behind Keep It Real Wednesdays, an impromptu producer showcase held at the Roc-A-Fella studio, to come to fruition. While speaking with Hard Knock TV, the New Jersey beatsmith detailed the story of how one particular incident involving Jay-Z and an unnamed producer sparked the idea for the beat showcase.
“So, Keep It Real Wednesdays was this thing we used to do right. There was one producer, who I will not name, who came through played Jay a bunch of beats…He comes through, plays a bunch of beats,” Just Blaze explained. “And Jay calls me like trying to get me tight like ‘Yo, he just came through and played like 20 joints. He might just do the whole album. You might just wanna go do something else. You better go make something crazy.’ And I’m just like ‘Alright, whatever.’ So then, I go to the studio the next day and I find the DAT. I still have this DAT to this day actually. I put it in the player and I’m like, ‘These beats aren’t really that good. What is he hearing? They’re really not that good.’”
Just Blaze later listened to the beats alongside Jay-Z, who went on to confess that the beats on the DAT weren’t as great as he had previously thought. The problem, the producer discovered, was that most beats tend to sound better when played on high-end speakers.
“From that came this thing called Keep It Real Wednesdays,” Blaze revealed. “Where every producer was gonna come play beats for anybody at Roc-A-Fella. Whether it was for Jay, Free, Bleek, Cam and them, whoever it was. You had to play them on a boombox. In the lounge, at the pool table. And they made t-shirts that said, ‘I survived Keep It Real Wednesdays.’”
Young Guru later shared his thoughts on Keep It Real Wednesdays and commented on the weekly showcase being one of few places where top-rated producers could get laughed out the building and talent off the street were given the chance to showcase their music.
“Now this is your favorite, ‘I make $50,000 per beat’ producers,” said Young Guru. “All the way down to you can walk off the street and play beats. I think that was the best thing about Keep It Real Wednesdays. Because it’s basically saying to any producer, ‘I don’t care who you are you can come in here.’ Now, granted that you can do this, you will get laughed out of the building if your beat is wack…Some of your favorite producers got laughed out on Keep It Real Wednesdays.”
Hard Knock TV’s full interview with Just Blaze and Young Guru can be found below.