Probably my favorite producer, Just Blaze never ceases to amaze me. When he's not busy playing video games and steps behind the boards, he has been known to make some of the greatest beats in Hip Hop. Him and Kanye were essentially in-house producers at Roc-A-Fella, and created the backdrops to anything 'Roc' affiliated, whether it was a Jay-Z release or a song from Beanie Sigel. With all due respect to Kanye (who is also one of my favorite producers), I'll take Just Blaze any day over him. It was tough to pick out my 10 favorite beats when his catalogue is so extensive, but here's what I chose...
1) Kanye West- Touch the Sky
Although Kanye usually does almost all the production on his albums, he had no problem handing the reigns over to 'Just' for "Touch the Sky." The triumphant horns, sampled from Curtis Mayfield's song "Move On Up," fit perfectly with the rest of Late Registration's 'orchestral theme.' The video is especially memorable, as most of Kanye's videos are, and the Pam Anderson appearance doesn't hurt, either.
2) Freeway- What We Do
Easily one of the greatest songs to come out under the 'Roc-A-Fella dynasty,' "What We Do" is a jam. Every single person rips it... Free, Jay, and Beanie all kill it over JB's production. My favorite line is probably when Jay-Z says, 'so I move keys, you can call me the piano man.' Not much more has to be said about this song except that it is fire.
3) Fabolous- Breathe
"Breathe"... one of the hottest songs of the decade. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, Fab did his thing on the track, but this beat is just silly. Stupid hot. This is probably in the top 3 of my favorite Just Blaze beats, and maybe top 10 or top 15 beats of all time.
4) Cam'Ron- Oh Boy
Everyone HAS to remember this song. This was one of my favorites from back in the day, which is no coincidence due to the fact that it came out around the time when 'The Roc' was killin' mainstream music. When The Diplomats signed to Roc-A-Fella, it was over. Cam'Ron, Juelz, and the rest of Dipset would never have to worry about working with lackluster producers, as Just Blaze and Kanye were officially in-house.
5) Jay-Z- Public Service Announcement
An absolute banger, period. This is the Jay-Z I know and love. Personally, I don't think Jay has been the same since The Black Album. Just Blaze hooks up one of the best loops, possibly of the decade. It's a sample of Little Boy Blues' "Seed of Love," and Jay sounds great over it. Probably one of my top 5 favorite Jay-Z songs.
6) Jay-Z- Show Me What You Got
While it's not one of the greatest lyrical showcases for Jay, it is a great showcase for Just's production. The beat is pretty epic, and the edition of live drums definitely helps. The video is the definition of 'big budget,' as it's shot in Monaco and features cameos from Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
7) Saigon- C'Mon Baby
The Greatest Story Never Told is still one of my most anticipated CD's (right up there with Detox) and "C'Mon Baby" is a reason why. Sai spits heat over one of Just Blaze's most raucous beats. People that have heard The Greatest Story Never Told have said that when it is released, it will go down as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of the last 10 years. A big reason for that is Just Blaze producing 75% of the album. The video is pretty cool, and it features both Just and Swizz Beatz as well.
8) The Game- Why You Hate the Game
While, I'm not the biggest fan of The Doctor's Advocate, it did have some hot songs, including the magnum-opus ending, "Why You Hate the Game." It's a beautiful song, with Marsha Ambrosius on the hook, and NaS lending a hand as well. "Why You Hate the Game" might be a top 5 favorite Just Blaze beat, simply because of the large, grandiose scale of the song.
9) The Diplomats- I Really Mean It
"I Really Mean It" is by far my favorite Diplomats song, and it's one of my favorite beats of all time. I remember the first time I saw the video for "Dipset Anthem," which was a hot song in it's own right. Then it fades into "I Really Mean It," and the scene that follows is simply classic...
10) Jay Electronica- Exhibit C
The hottest Hip Hop song of '09, "Exhibit C" is too dope. It's one of Just's best beats in a while (partly due to the fact that he doesn't put out too much music these days) and Jay Elec absolutely massacres the song. If you haven't heard it by now, that is a FAIL on your part, but you can make up for it by checking it out below.
Honorable Mention: Cam'Ron- The ROC (Just Fire), Jay-Z- U Don't Know, Joe Budden- Pump It Up