Rick Rubin Reveals Chris Rock Came Up With Jay Z Song '99 Problems'

Stand up reportedly devised idea to subvert Ice-T's 1993 song of the same name.

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Rick Rubin has revealed how the comedian Chris Rock first came up with the idea for Jay Z's song "99 Problems."

As NME notes, the 2003 track was produced by Rubin and, speaking to New York Magazine, Rubin says that the original idea behind the track came from Rock, who wanted to subvert Ice-T's 1993 song of the same name.

Telling the story, Rubin says: "[Chris] said, 'Ice-T has this song, and maybe there’s a way to flip it around and do a new version of that.' And I told Jay Z the idea and he liked it. The Ice-T song is about 'got 99 problems and a bitch ain't one,' and then it’s a list of him talking about his girls and what a great pimp he is."

He continues: "And our idea was to use that same hook concept, and instead of it being about the girls that are not his problem, instead of being a bragging song, it’s more about the problems. Like, this is about the other side of that story."

Earlier this year Rick Rubin was honoured with a "Lifetime of Harmony" award from the David Lynch Foundation at a Los Angeles ceremony. Jake Bugg was among the artists who performed at the ceremony to honour Rubin on February 27 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in LA. Proceeds from the event went towards the David Lynch Foundation's campaign to bring transcendental meditation programs to at-risk adults and young people around the world.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If you've watched/listened to Chris Rock's stand up it does sound like something he'd come up with. Plus what are these problems Jay-Z has? Having a really attractive wife Having to much money
    He was probably talking about first world problems Such as, "I won three grammys this year but my wife won five" or "I had my private jet repainted in a different color, now the staircases at the airport don't match"
    daniel c b
    obligatory post about this shit being on ultimate-guitar
    Obligatory post complaining about close - mindedness towards Hip Hop on this website.
    I personally love hip-hop (at least REAL hip-hop, not the shit that comes out now) but I still think Jay-Z is a terrible "artist".
    Gee, rappers stealing songs and melodies. You should see the shocked look on my face.
    yeah man, they should totally come up with theoretically sound and inventive riffs in 15/16 because that is truly what the genre is about.
    Not sure what you are getting at. I am just saying the genre revolves around the blatant rip off off other people's music.
    You obviously haven't listened to a lot of Hip Hop. Give The Roots or Atmosphere a shot (Hip Hop groups with a live band) before you pass that judgement.
    Vicryl 2.0
    you should took a photo of your face and put it here, then we will see the shock on your face.