Politics as Usual

Politics as Usual

JAY-Z

When you are a drug dealer, your “body politic” consists of your supplier, your customers, the police, and the competition. To paraphrase former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill: For a cocaine dealer, “all politics is local.”

Producer Ski Beatz created the beat for “Politics As Usual” with a sample from “Hurry Up This Way Again” by The Stylistics, which producer Clark Kent also sampled and submitted to Jay later but Ski’s version was used for the album. Ski talked about the track in an interview with Complex:

We was working on Reasonable Doubt at the time. Anything I made hot, Jay was trying to have dibs on it.

The system we had, we would make music first, he would reference it in my house. […] We would do pre-production at the crib, he would go home and get the lyrics memorized even more, and then go to the studio and re-lay it. He would just get in his own place, stare into space, and next thing you know, an hour later he got a song. He just wrote them and went in the booth, it took him two or three takes at most and it was done.

I had done ‘Politics As Usual’ for Jay-Z, but Camp Lo wanted the beat because of the horns. And they was like, ‘Yo how you gonna give that beat to Jay-Z? What about us? You always giving Jay the dope beats!’

Ski added:

That’s one of my favorite records to this day. I think that was the blueprint to what Kanye [West] and Just [Blaze] are doing now, the whole soulful voice thing.