Categories: NewsVideo

Here’s The Story Behind Kanye West Making The “Otis” Beat

This year on August 8 Jay Z and Kanye West‘s collaborative album Watch The Throne will be turning five. A magnum opus for the two rappers the 12 track release was highly anticipated for a number of reasons, but the main (and obvious) one being two incredibly talented artists such as J and Kanye making a full album together.

Years later and the album is still cherished and seen as one of the best rap albums to come out in the past five years. From the eclectic production to the two artists rapping about everything from fame and power to respective subjects such as fatherhood (Jay Z) and being deemed a social villain (Kanye West), Watch The Throne ended up being a commercial and critical success.

But that’s not to say that the album had hits, because it did. “H*A*M,” “No Church In The Wild,” “Niggas In Paris” and, of course, “Otis.” From the first moment you heard “Otis” you knew it was going to be a standout from Watch The Throne. J and Kanye trading bars about decadence and wealth; that music video that dropped a month later and featured the two “modifying” a Maybach luxury car; and that genius sampling of Otis Redding‘s “Try A Little Tenderness.”

Well, the single turned five yesterday (it was originally released July 20, 2011) and in its honor Roc Nation executive Lenny Santiago took to Instagram to talk about how the song was made. The most important and surprising (well, maybe not too surprising, since Kanye has kind of become known to churn out work under short amounts of time) bit? That Kanye made “Otis” in 15 to 20 minutes. Here’s a snippet from Lenny’s post.

“He was being reminded that he had to leave to catch his flight, he sort of brushed that off and was like, fuck it, let me just play y’all a piece of the song so you could see how dope it is. He then approached the MPC and Keyboard and plays it. Everyone in the room does the ugly face like when you hear some dope shit or see the sickest slam dunk at a contest. […] 15 or 20 minutes later before he runs off to catch his flight, he creates the phenomenal track known to us as ‘Otis.'”

Incredible. Maybe now’s a good time to revisit “Otis,” huh?

Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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