Dead Presidents

Dead Presidents


“Dead Presidents” was the first single released for Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt. This version was used for the music video but didn’t make the cut for the album; however, its sequel “Dead Presidents II” did make the cut.

Producer Ski Beatz provided some background information about the track in an interview with Complex:

I was at this DJ event, like one of those ‘How Can I Be Down?’ events in Florida. Nas' Illmatic had just come out. And I was just listening to ‘The World Is Yours.’ I just fell in love with the pianos. Once I felt that vibe, I just went searching for anything with a piano that made me feel like that. Soon as I heard the piano, I was gonna fall in love.

I was just digging and digging, and I found that Lonnie Liston Smith joint [‘A Garden of Peace’] and I thought it was fresh. And then I just threw that Nas sample in there just to see if it would work because I liked Nas' voice. I gave it to Jay and it fit right into the scheme of his album and what he was talking about.