Producer Russell W. Howard recently decided to reconstruct Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s “Otis” Watch the Throne single and show how Yeezy made the Otis Redding-sampled track a national hit.
Howard, who has produced for Jay-Z in the past, took the track completely apart.
“I want to kind of just break down on what the track has and where he got it from,” Russell W. said in a video. “So we’re gonna just literally start right now. I’m gonna be honest. I had to Google, I went on Google and I just typed in, ‘Where did Kanye sample Otis?’ and it’s from this song called ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ by Otis Redding. So what I want to do is just play the song and take you through the process of how the beat’s probably made, how Kanye probably made it and how I’m gonna make it. We’re gonna sit and just dissect the original right here.” (Russell W.)
The producer also realized Ye decided to keep some of the original song’s elements in the new record.
“So what I’m listening for right now, I’m just listening for those little pockets, those little sections that he sampled, that he grabbed, kind of keeping a memory in my mind, just a mental note, ‘OK, he grabbed that and that — and then I’m gonna grab some things that maybe he didn’t grab. ” Russell explained. “Basically Kanye has about two to three parts in the track that he did. He took two to three sections from the original and used them…Personally, I thought the ‘Got-ta-got-ta-nay-nay-na’ were actual little sections in the song that he was grabbing but it’s not. it’s all looped in here — Kanye chose to keep it real bare. I personally think he did that on purpose. It didn’t sound like he added any drums on top of that, not that he couldn’t — I personally feel maybe he was like, ‘You know what? Everything’s so pretty in hip-hop and over produced, how about we just say f*ck it and keep it under produced.’ That to me sounds like what he did.” (Russell W.)
Last month, Redding’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews, discussed Jay and Ye’s new record.
“No, we never met with them. It all went through the record companies. That’s the nature of the business and it’s probably better that way. [If we met with them], we would probably bring more personal considerations into it. But this is a wonderful opportunity. We really like the song and the swagger elements that are in the song. It speaks to the star that Otis was in his day.” (Billboard)
Russell W.’s industry profile blossomed after producing on Jay’s 1999 album, In My Lifetime, Vol. 3.
As a producer, Russell caught the attention of Kobe Bryant, just as he was making his leap to the NBA. While recording a track with Kobe, Russell was paid a visit from hip-hop icon, Jay-Z, who was blown away with the quality and style of his beats. Russell then produced two tracks, “S. Carter” and “There’s Been a Murder,” on Jay-Z’s multi-platinum selling album The Life and Times of Shawn Carter Vol.3. After this incredible experience, Russell notes, “I was officially a legitimate producer in the business.” (Russell W. Blog)
Check out Russell W. Howard’s video below: