....Jay told the reporters that he had no plans of making an opus until a few weeks ago, when he was invited to a screening of the film, and his inner D-Boy got a wake-up call. Not that Jay had a sudden urge to skydive from the his 28th-floor president's office and stand in front of the nearest bodega to hustle, but the film brought back memories of when Jay lived a more disreputable lifestyle. As portrayed by Washington, the movie's real-life subject, Frank Lucas, possessed a laid-back demeanor, drive and business acumen that Hov could relate to. So, he decided to make an album that filled in some of the scenes and emotions that Jay felt he wanted to see in the film, but for one reason or another didn't make it to the big screen.
Here's the irony that those who live a charmed life sometimes run into: While Jay was conjuring up this idea to do a record to complement the film, Diddy was sitting on tracks that would serve as the jumping-off points of the album.
Jay talked about how P.D. had approached him about wanting to executive-produce one of his albums, but Jay has never let anyone exec-produce his LPs and wasn't going to start now. Still, Diddy — who had no idea Jay was thinking about doing the "Gangster"-inspired album — called Hov about a month ago to Daddy's House Studios to hear some records he had in the stash. The tracks, which were being built by producers Sean C. and LV, happened to have that soulful '70s feel indicative of the "American Gangster" setting.
"That's our kinda sound; that's what we do," LV said. "We was in the studio one day. Me, Puff and Sean, we was going through the joints; just listening, bugging out, dancing, having a good time. Puff was like, 'Let me just call this n---a right now.' Maybe like 15, 20 minutes later, Jay walked in. This was like three or four weeks ago. We played him the first couple ones, and he felt the zone. He felt the vibe."
Jay reacted immediately: "I was like, 'Sh--! Where did you get this music and what are you doing with it?' " Jay described of his initial session with Puff.
He got to work right away, and although Diddy and his producers weren't in the studio while he was laying his vocals and making hooks, the songs were definitely collaborations.
"As soon as I would finish a record, it seemed like Puff was here in minutes," Jay laughed....
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