Jay-Z Memorizes Each Song Before Recording, Young Guru Reveals

(Young Guru looking back on his history with Roc Nation)

By Muhammad Abdulhafith

Diehard hip-hop fans know Young Guru’s name, even if they rarely hear him speak. The Wilmington, Delaware native is best known for his work behind the boards, engineering Jay-Z’s recording sessions and creatively he probably knows Hov better than anyone.

“Jay doesn’t go into the booth until he’s completely memorized the record. So when he’s recording it, he’s already memorized it,” Guru told CNN Radio during an interview earlier this week. “Most MCs they write rhymes and then immediately run in the booth and read it off a piece of paper.”

Jigga is also an expert editor. “Sometimes we scrap whole verses,” Guru said, revealing that Jay often writes three verses to a song and then drops the weakest one, only to rewrite it. “That amount of care and that amount of critiquing yourself is what allows these records to come out at this level, it's not just let me spit whatever comes to mind.”

Guru has also worked with Kanye West, who he dubs as the hardest working guy he’s ever seen. “He will take six months on a record and that’s why they come out so good,” he said. “Kanye’s records probably exist in 10 different forms before you actually hear it.

“He grows his albums to the point where they are musical landscapes,” Guru adds.

Young Guru is an artist in his own right, taking whatever his artists lay down and mixing it to achieve a signature sonic richness. “I tried to take the bottom end of A Tribe Called Quest and combine it with the clarity of a Dr. Dre record. I think that’s the best way to describe what I try to do,” he said.

What do you think of Young Guru’s come up?

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