The lyrics of the Jay-Z song ‘Big Pimpin” were another reason why Pimp C almost declined a collaboration on the track. The celebrated Roc-A-Fella A&R Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua detailed the mix-up in a new interview.
While appearing on the ‘R.O.A.D. Podcast’, Hip-Hop was quizzed on his work and gossip as the label’s Head of A&R, a position he held for eight years starting when Hov, Dame Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke established the label in 1994.
The conversation flowed towards specific tracks of interest. After listing ‘Big Pimpin’ as a track he had to write the hook for before pitching to Jay-Z, he explained why Pimp C initially turned his nose up at it.
As Bun B previously pointed out, hip-hop shared Pimp C’s adoration for Tupac Shakur, whose death was still a fresh wound in the rapping community when Jay-Z was inching towards his first single. This was the first hurdle to complicate the collaboration prospect.
“But once he got past that, he thought Jay was saying that [Pac] was playing with his dick in the truck,” Joshua recalled. “So he’s like, ‘Man, I’m not getting on no song with another man talkin’ bout playing with his self in the truck! Young Hop, you my boy, but what you tryna have me doin’, man?’ He said, ‘That’s like career suicide!’”
Elaborating, Hip-Hop recounted the lyric in question, which hears JAY-Z sing: “Let ’em play with the dick in the truck.” The line was later confirmed to be targeted at female passengers. “He said, ‘I could see that. That makes sense now.’ Then he kinda got closer to doing it,” Hip-Hop added.
Beyond the negotiation with Pimp C, Hip-Hop was also grappling with the artistic approach for the track. Ultimately, he had the idea of bringing in a member of the iconic Southern hip-hop group, Goodie Mob, for help with the hook.
“He literally told me, ‘Man, I had to figure it out. I had to call up Big Gipp and ask him could I borrow his flow. Because shit, I couldn’t just come on it like how I be doin it. I had to be more choppier,’” Hip-Hop remembered.
Later, Hip-Hop praised Pimp C’s eventual contributions. “He really was well aware of what he was doing,” he said. “He really broke down his whole flow and his whole thing. Like, ‘I rap with the vocal tone of Run, with the choppiness of Scarface, and the Southern drawl of Willie D.’ And he did it for me, like in my face.
Listen to Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin” below.