On the surface, “Benjamins” seems almost too odd to be true (despite the fact that Jay has spent recent months big-upping folks like Grizzly Bear ), but the song was announced via an official-looking press release, which hinted that it would see the light of day on a reissue of The Blueprint 3, which was “scheduled for release in 2009.”
Somewhat understandably, news of the song — which was, according to the press release, produced by someone named Mirk from the New Familiar Music Group — spread like wildfire across the parched topiary of the blogosphere, and by the end of Wednesday, it was taken for gospel. Despite, you know, anyone bothering to check if it were true or not.
Turns out, it was. But it also wasn’t.
Seems like the press release — which bore the name (and contact info) of Jive Records A&R manager Ant Rich — wasn’t actually approved or released by Rich. We reached out to Rich for comment on the matter, and he was pretty eager to explain himself.
“Mirk from the New Familiars produced a track (which I co-produced) that has a Regina Spektor sample in it … which is called ’Crispy Benjamins,’ ” Rich told MTV News by e-mail. “Jay-Z purchased the track for The Blueprint 3, [but it] wound up not making the album. I was told by Jay Brown [who does A&R for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint] that there was potential for the song to be used on a re-release. At some point, a press release was sent about the track using my contact information. Neither Mirk nor myself had ANYTHING to do with the press release. We are currently trying to find out who sent it out so we can clear up this matter.”
MTV News attempted to reach Brown for comment, but those attempts proved unsuccessful, which means that while “Crispy Benjamins” seems to be legit, it’s not clear where it might be released. A spokesperson for Atlantic Records — which distributed The Blueprint 3 — could not be reached for comment, and a spokesperson for Jay-Z told MTV News she was unaware of any plans to reissue the album. The spokesperson added that the rapper will be releasing a greatest-hits album through his former label Def Jam. And the album — Hov’s third greatest-hits go-round — will “supposedly” hit stores November 24.
At press time, there was no word whether “Benjamins” will appear as a new cut on that greatest-hits package. And with that, we bring to close perhaps the most convoluted news story in recent memory.