DJ Khaled is fresh off the release of his star-studded new album, Grateful, but in a new interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra host DJ Semtex, the We The Best Music Group head honcho harkened back nine years, to share the behind-the-scenes story of how JAY-Z landed on the remix of his 2008 single, "Go Hard."
According to Khaled, JAY-Z was supposed to be on the original version of the The Runners-produced record, joining existing guests Kanye West and T-Pain, but, unfortunately, Lenny S., JAY-Z's longtime A&R and Khaled's plug for Hov, wasn't able to net him the verse before the album's fall release date.
"I heard he did it, but nobody's playing it for me and nobody's giving it to me," Khaled explained to Semtex. "So, I'm confused. Maybe Jay, at that time, wasn't sure [about] giving me the verse. You gotta remember, JAY-Z was retired at that time."
Though disappointed, two months after the release of We Global, Khaled selected the Hov-less version of "Go Hard" as the album's second single, which debuted the week of November 19, 2008, at No. 69 on the Billboard Hot 100.
One month later, though, and right before the start of the holidays, Khaled received a phone call from Lenny S. He had some good news.
"Yo, Jay wanted me to send you the verse," Khaled recalls Lenny saying. "Merry Christmas."
Khaled says he "lost his mind" when he heard Jay's verse, being a huge Jay fan and all, and immediately went to the studio with Runners producer Mayne Zayne to chop up the original version, edit the introduction and craft a remix.
Almost a decade later, Khaled and Jay have added several songs to their collaborative résumé ("I Got The Keys," "Shining") and elevated their working relationship. Khaled is currently managed by JAY-Z and Roc Nation.
While JAY-Z has long been checked off of his bucket list, there's still one rapper that has eluded Khaled's prolific collab portfolio who he's been trying to work with for years: Eminem.