Was this questionable Jay-Z lyric about masturbation?
(Credit: Alamy)

Old School Archives

Was this questionable Jay-Z lyric about masturbation?

Jay-Z is one of the most legendary rappers of all time. Born and raised in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood, from the day Hov stepped on the hip-hop scene, power dynamics began to shift. Coming to prominence in the late-1990s, following the death of Biggie Smalls, New York City had a big void that needed filling. Following his 1996 debut album, Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) persistently released music, and by the turn of the millennium, he had become the hottest artist in New York. 

As hip-hop was preparing its transition from one millennium into another, Jay-Z was hard at work in the studio, gearing up to release his fourth studio albumVol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter. Carter knew that if he was to prosper in the following millennium, he would have to put out a quality project. As a result, Jay-Z gathered and recruited some of the hottest artists and producers in rap to help him assemble a body of work that would impact the culture like no other.

Released in 1999, Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter has an unfathomable amount of producer credits. For the record, Carter called upon DJ Clue, DJ Premier, Rockwilder, Swizz Beatz and most importantly, Timbaland. Born Timothy Mosley, Timbaland was fresh on the scene at this time and was red hot. Known as the ingenious producer behind Missy Elliot’s Supa Dupa Fly, and Aaliyah’s, One In A Million, the late-’90s saw Timbaland in high demand. However, he had plenty of time for Carter.

Their shared time and collaboration resulted in the iconic ‘Big Pimpin’. Released in 2000 as the third and final single for the album, the song did exceptionally well. It debuted at number 18 on the Billboard 100, which was unexpected as it was his third single. The exceptional track has a well-known catchy melody. However, the tune did cause some copyright issues later down the line. For the beat of this single, Timbaland sampled ‘Khosara Khosara’, an instrumental flute-piece performed by Hossam Ramzy. However, the musical piece itself was composed by Baligh Hamdi in 1957. The Hamdi family did enter a lawsuit against Jay-Z and Timbaland. However, after 11 gruelling years of legal proceedings the court ruled in Jay-Z’s favour.

For ‘Big Pimpin’, Carter called on the Texas rap duo UGK. Comprised of Pimp C and Bun B, the track provided their first big breakthrough. However, Pimp C didn’t initially want to feature on the song, according to Kyambo Joshua, a former A&R at Roc-A-Fella. Earlier this year, during his appearance on the R.O.A.D. Podcast Joshua reflected on how he had to convince Pimp C to record the track. 

As Joshua recollected the series of events, he recalled how, due to the rapper’s prior friendship with Tupac Shakur, Pimp C hated all people from Brooklyn. However, he later revealed something even more disturbing and unnerving as he detailed, “He hated a lyric Jay had put down. He thought Jay was saying that he was playing with his d*ck in the truck. So he’s like, ‘Man, I’m not getting on no song with another man talkin’ bout playing with himself in the truck! Young Hop, you my boy, but what you tryna have me doin’, man?’ He said, ‘That’s like career suicide!’”

Joshua continued and recalled how after he explained that it was about women who would join Jay in the car, he got it. He recounted, “Pimp then said, ‘I could see that. That makes sense now.’ Then he kinda got closer to doing it.” You can watch Joshua on the R.O.A.D Podcast below as well as the epic music video for ‘Big Pimpin’.