When the Throne dropped their single “Otis,” MCs across the rap world took notice. Many sought out the song’s instrumental in an effort to do their own freestyle version of the [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist] and [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] collaborative single. So far, DMX, Freeway, Young Chris, Tinie Tempah and Skillz have tried their hand at the beat. For Jadakiss and Styles P, the decision to take on the Watch the Throne single was an easy one.
“It was a mean beat, it was a mean song, something both of us liked, and we felt like it was a New York song. It was hot,” Styles P told MTV News.
Jadakiss said he knew he and Styles had to take on the song the same day the Otis Redding-sampling track premiered on Hot 97. “[Funkmaster] Flex was playin’ it,” Jada explained. “After about the 99th time, I was like, ‘I think we gotta go in on this. I gotta call SP,’ ” he said. “When I called him, he was listening to it in the background, and he said the same thing I was tellin’ him. That made it crazy: He was thinking the same thing I was thinking.”
There was one problem, however: Producer Kanye West had not released the instrumental, so Styles called on Boston producer DJ Statik Selektah, who recreated ‘Ye’s beat from scratch. “He sent it over nice and looped up, so then once we got it, [it took] maybe like 24 hours [to record],” ‘Kiss said.
On the original “Otis,” Hov and Yeezy flow back and forth, rhyming eight bars at a time before passing the mic. That particular tactic is most effective when the two collaborating artists have chemistry: The better the chemistry, the better the exchange. It’s the type of chemistry that Jada and Styles, who make up two-thirds of the Yonkers, New York, trio the LOX, have displayed for the better part of their 15-year career.
Regarding how he and his partner decide who rhymes what and when, Styles explained there are “mad different ways to do it. It depends how it feels.”
Jada added, “With ‘Otis,’ we wanted to follow their format and then switch it,” noting the difference between the LOX version and the Throne version. “They were doin’ eight [bars a piece], so we did an eight, then fours, then twos.”
By the close of the track, the duo went from rhyming eight-bar verses to going line-for-line in a lyrical show of camaraderie. “Usually, we make it a little more in and out than that,” Styles said. “But we still did it at the end.”
What do you think of Styles and Jada’s version of “Otis”? Sound off below!