"99 Problems" is the third single released by American rapper Jay-Z in 2004 from The Black Album. The song was originally written by rapper Ice-T in 1993. Throughout the song Jay-Z tells a story about dealing with a racist police officer who wants to illegally search his car, dealing with rap critics, and dealing with an aggressor. The song reached number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The track was produced by Rick Rubin, his first hip hop production in many years. Rubin provided Jay-Z with a guitar riff and stripped-down beat that were once his trademarks. In creating the track Rubin used some classic 1980s sample staples such as "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier, "Long Red" by Mountain, and "Get Me Back On Time" by Wilson Pickett. These songs were long coveted by early hip hop producers, in particular the drum beat from Big Beat, used most famously by Run–D.M.C. on "Here We Go" in 1985 and by British rapper Dizzee Rascal a year prior to Jay-Z on his break-through hit "Fix Up, Look Sharp". It also featured on the popular Ultimate Breaks and Beats series.
While the song's meaning is widely debated, the chorus "If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you son/I've got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one" was defined in Jay-Z's book, Decoded, as referring to a police dog. Jay-Z wrote that in 1994 he was pulled over by police while carrying cocaine in a secret compartment in his sunroof. Jay-Z refused to let the police search the car and the police called for the drug sniffing dogs. However, the dogs never showed up and the police had to let Jay-Z go. Moments after he drove away, he wrote that he saw a police car with the dogs drive by.
The title and chorus are taken from Ice-T's "99 Problems" from his 1993 album Home Invasion. The song featured Brother Marquis of 2 Live Crew. The original song was more profane and describes a wide range of sexual conquests. Portions of Ice-T's original lyrics were similarly quoted in a song by fellow rapper Trick Daddy on a track also titled "99 Problems" from his 2001 album Thugs Are Us. Jay-Z begins his third verse directly quoting lines from Bun B's opening verse off the track "Touched" from the UGK album Ridin' Dirty. File Hashes
HASH2: 0D88DBA41B94B106 (MP3)
HASH2: E8C0E079B59DF55B (MP3)