In honor of the 15th anniversary of Jay-Z’s classic debut Reasonable Doubt, Ski Beatz recently spoke to Soul Culture to discuss how the album was conceived. During the interview, he touched on producing the track “Dead Presidents,” explaining why he used a sample of Nas’ “The World is Yours,” later used as ammunition on Hov’s diss track “Takeover.”

“For me, when I made the ‘Dead Presidents’ beat, I first heard the Nas record [‘The World Is Yours’]. I was inspired by the music,” he said. “I was like, ‘Yo this is dope!’ so I just went into the crates and tried to find something which made me feel like that and I found the Lonnie Liston sample and I threw Nas’ sample on top as a tribute because I loved the song so much. Jay heard it and he was like, ‘this is dope,’ and went on to write ‘Dead Presidents’.”

The single’s initial release wasn’t the final version that made the album, as Jay laid a few new verses on the cut. “The new verses on ‘Dead Presidents II’ were to give people more of him. Back then, we didn’t really do remixes so for an emcee to give you an extra verse was just a bonus for you,” he said.

Read the stories behind “Ain’t No Nigga,” “22 Two’s” and “Brooklyn’s Finest” over at Soul Culture.

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