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There’s a grainy clip on Youtube that captures the exact moment Timbaland played JAY-Z the culture-shifting “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” beat. While offering Hova the beats for what became Ludacris’ “The Potion,” the super-producer accidentally played the zany instrumental that prompted Jay to respond the same way everyone does when “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” drops—to grimace and violently bop your head.
One would think that would be Timbaland’s favorite beat he produced for Hov, but it’s not.
While on the pink carpet at the 2023 VMAs, Timbaland revealed the favorite beat he produced for Jay is actually, “It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)” off Jay’s Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.
When asked what his favorite beat he produced for JAY-Z, he cooly responded, “When It’s Hot It’s Hot.” He added, “That’s my favorite one.”
“It’s Hot (Some Like It Hot)” wasn’t released as a single, but became a classic Jigga track thanks to the popular line, “Go against Jigga yo a** is dense/ I’m about a dollar — what the f*ck is 50 cents?”
According to HipHopDX, Jay performed the Timbaland-produced track at Hot 97’s Summer Jam to clap back at 50 Cent who had dissed him, earlier in the year, on his ‘99 street anthem, “How To Rob.” 50 Cent revealed the mention helped validate and propel his career.
“I never went to radio until after he said that about me. I don’t know if my career would be where it’s at if he didn’t respond,” he told Rolling Stone in 2003.
Timbaland and Jay Z have collaborated on some of JAY-Z’s biggest hits. From “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” to “Big Pimpin’” to “Nigga What, Nigga Who,” (a personal favorite, “Is That Yo Chick”) and ‘Holy Grail,” Timbo and Jay are a match made in hip-hop heaven.
“It’s Hot” samples Elsie Mae’s “Whole Lot of Lovin’.”