Grindin'

Album: Lord Willin' (2002)
Charted: 41 30

Songfacts®:

  • Jay-Z rapped about how he "used to run base Juan Pierre" on his verse in Beyoncé's "Deja Vu." On Grindin', Pusha T of Clipse raps that you can call him subwoofer because he pumps so much base. In both cases, it's a reference to dealing cocaine; Clipse and Jay-Z have similar origin stories where they're "grindin'" it out on the streets on their way to the top of the music game.
  • This song was produced by The Neptunes, who are the team of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. Pharrell and Clipse knew each other from growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Pharrell produced their first album, Exclusive Audio Footage, which was made in 1999 but never released. The Clipse duo was signed to Elektra Records, but released just one single on the label, "The Funeral." When they left Elektra, they signed with The Neptunes' Star Trak label, which released "Grindin'" as the lead single from their album Lord Willin'.
  • At the time, The Neptunes were one of the hottest production teams in hip-hop and had even crossed over to with the Britney Spears hit "I'm A Slave 4 U" in 2001. One of their clients was Jay-Z; according to Pusha T, when The Neptunes came up with the track for "Grindin'," Pharrell told Clipse that if they didn't come to the studio right away, he would give it to Jay. This didn't go over well with Clipse, but they got the track, which was so unusual it took them a few stabs at writing lyrics before coming up with something that flowed.
  • The chorus is carried almost entirely by the beat, with just word "Grindin'" whispered throughout by Pharrell.
  • According to Clipse, they promoted this song by playing private concerts thrown by drug dealers in various cities. The song quickly got picked up on hip-hop radio and got the duo on the pop chart for the first time.
  • Pharrell gives himself a shout-out on the intro ("I go by the name of Pharrell, from The Neptunes") - something only the top producers could get away with.
  • The Neptunes have songwriter credits on this track along with Pusha T and No Malice from Clipse.
  • This song influenced many producers across a range of genres, including Jeremy Lloyd of Marian Hill. "It's mostly drums, harmonics come in much later," Lloyd said of the track. "I just love the way it knocks and it was a big influence on how I wanted things to sound and what sounded good to me."

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