Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Jay Z’s “All The Way Up (Remix)” was one of the biggest moments of 2016, and in a recent Rap Radar interview, Memphis Bleek explained how he helped make it happen.
Shortly after the remix was released, Fat Joe told AHH that he called N.O.R.E. because he had rapport with Bleek, one of Jay’s longtime friends. He went through Bleek because Roc-A-Fella and Terror Squad had beef stretching back as far as 12 years ago.
“I’m driving to the city, N.O.R.E. hits me like ‘yo, Fat Joe wants your number,’” Bleek said. “You sure Fat Joe wants my number? Me, out of everybody?”
Bleek explained that Fat Joe wanted to say that he didn’t have any unsettled resentment from their past feud, and Bleek said he was sure Jay Z felt the same way.
“I’m like, we only had one incident with them. There is no drama. Hov’s not thinking about that situation no more,” Bleek said. N.O.R.E. gave Bleek’s number to Fat Joe, and Joe called Bleek ten minutes later. The conversation involved formally moving on from their previous feuds and moved along to the idea of Jay jumping on a remix to “All The Way Up.”
“‘I just wanted to holler at the big homie and let him know, niggas is beyond the bullshit, and we need to do something to unify the city,” Bleek remembers Fat Joe telling him. “‘You think Jay will do the remix of the joint?’ … I was like, ‘I ain’t going to answer that for him, I don’t answer for nobody. But I will relay the message for you.’”
He thought Jay Z would decline the offer, but he called Jay about it anyway. Jay was surprised the phone conversation even happened, but he loved the original song, and got Joe’s number from Bleek.
Minutes later, Jay Z called Bleek to spit his verse over the phone, taking Bleek back to their days of friendship in the 1990s. “Crack hit Bleek on the jack like let’s make it happen,” Jay says in the intro of the song.
Along with showing Bleek’s penchant for storytelling, the interview is fascinating because it’s yet another look into how some songs come to be. Granted, it's a safe assumption that it would take multiple phone calls to get a hold of Jay Z. But we heard a similar story when Fonzworth Bentley explained how he made a phone call to get Gucci Mane on Kanye West’s “Champions.” There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to putting certain collaborations together and many of the people who we think of as “weed carriers” or also-rans, have essential relationships and access to people that can make some of the biggest records happen.
However long or short, every song has a story, and its characters. He may be facing financial hard times, but don't say Memphis Bleek isn't still making things happen.
By William E. Ketchum III on Twitter at @WEKetchum