After much anticipation, Nipsey Hussle and JAY-Z’s momentous collaboration “What It Feels Like” arrived Friday.
On the heels of its release, the Roc Nation mogul has announced that he donated his entire commission from the song. Half his fee went to Nipsey’s estate, while the other half was given to Hampton House, the childhood home of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who inspired the movie Judas and the Black Messiah.
“My fee, went half to the Nip estate, half to the Hampton House,” he told GQ.
He also revealed that he got involved with Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album at the behest of Blank Panther director Ryan Coogler, who produced the movie and soundtrack.
“My relationship with Ryan [Coogler] who I consider my little bro, [is what] brought me to the movie,” explained JAY. “And once I saw it, I was blown away by what [director] Shaka King brought to the table. I think I finished the song the next day or two. Like Chairman Fred Hampton said, ‘You can kill a revolutionary but you can’t kill the revolution’…every time you take one of our loved ones, their spirit and soul and ideas inhabit millions.”
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) February 12, 2021
The original “What It Feels Like,” produced by Mike & Keys, with co-production from Larrance Dopson and Marz, dates back nearly eight years. JAY-Z first heard it five years ago when Dopson put it in the hands of his longtime engineer Young Guru.
“JAY heard it five years ago when Nipsey was still here, and loved it,” Dopson said. “Then he asked for it again about a year ago.”
The triumphant track is featured on the star-studded soundtrack to Judas and the Black Messiah, which also includes contributions from Nas, Rakim, A$AP Rocky, Lil Durk, Polo G, and H.E.R.
“This beat was born in 2013. 2015 was when we added the horns. 2017, we put the strings on it and made [Nipsey’s line in his verse] ‘what it feels like’ into a hook,” said Dopson, who was inspired by JAY-Z’s 2006 Just Blaze-produced single. “We wanted to give you ‘Show Me What You Got’ 2.0.”
As HipHop-N-More uncovered, the song originated in 2013 as a collaboration between Nipsey and Mississippi rapper Tito Lopez, whose team shared the original version on Instagram.