B-Money's Beat Kicks Off the New Jay-Z

from myspace.com/bmoneynicc
B$ gave Jay-Z "The Prelude"
When the throngs pop in Jay-Z's new CD, Kingdom Come, the first notes they'll hear will arrive courtesy of native St. Louisan Brian "B-Money" Hughes. B-Money produced Track 1 on the Jigga's highly anticipated "comeback" album (can one "come back" after only two years gone?), a huge break that places the Wax Murdaraz-er alongside top-shelf producers Just Blaze, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, Swizz Beats and the Neptunes.

"The Prelude" is a smooth, rolling East Coast-style track that samples Mel and Tim's "Keep the Faith," a 1974 song from Memphis-based Stax Records. It features soft strings, a floating clarinet melody and an odd, wobbly bass line, over which rhyme king (and Def Jam Records president) Jay-Z announces his return: "I've been through with this bullshit game/But I never can/I used to think rapping at 38 was ill/But last year alone I made $38 mil."

B-Money, who relocated from St. Louis to Queens in 2000, struck gold last year by landing "Hustler's Ambition," the first track on 50 Cent's soundtrack to the film Get Rich or Die Tryin'. But that placement was a long time in the works. Kingdom Come arrived out of the blue, says Hughes, and was a very secretive affair. "My manager called me up late last month and was like, 'Yo, I need this song. Somebody at Def Jam wants it.'" He sent over the song and his manager commenced dropping hints. "He was like, 'Yo, this might be big. It's for somebody at Roc-a-Fella.'"

Hughes did the math. "I was like, Okay, who else is there at Roc-a-Fella? I put it in my head, 'It must be Jay-Z, because there's nobody over there left.'" A few days later his hunch was confirmed. "I was like, Okay, that'll work. The rest is history." The budding producer, whom most St. Louisans know from his days DJing at longtime hip-hop night "The Science" at Blueberry Hill and as head hip-hop buyer at Vintage Vinyl, says kicking off Jay-Z's album is making him a busy man. He's taking meetings at Universal and Interscope in coming weeks and working on tracks for Erykah Badu's new CD.

It's not Jay-Z's only recent interaction with St. Louis. Last month Anheuser-Busch named him "co-brand director" for Budweiser Select. In that capacity, the rapper will relocate to St. Louis and deliver beer to some of the city's top tier accounts. Just kidding. The nebulous title will see him consulting with the brewery on marketing decisions and offering insight into the highly sought-after hip-hop demographic.

Expect an expanded look at B-Money's big break in the RFT's print edition.

-Randall Roberts

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