Rick Rubin reveals secrets from Kanye West, Jay Z and James Blake sessions on lyric site Genius

Rubin annotated some of his most famous productions as well as favourite songs

Rick Rubin has annotated songs from Kanye West, James Blake, Jay Z and more on the community-maintained annotated lyric site Genius.

The Def Jam founder signed up for a Genius account and edited some of his most famous productions and favourite songs. These also included tracks by Dr Dre, D’Angelo, the Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Slayer, LL Cool J and Ghostface Killa.

Rubin said of James Blake’s ‘Retrograde’: “There are so many records now where it’s about really, really heavy sub-bass, maybe a hi-hat, and just a voice. I think a lot of it is the James Blake influence. I feel like he’s really influenced everybody a lot. I know in the artist community everybody loves Blake. James Blake is spectacular, I love him all the time. Live, he’s even better than on record.”

Alongside verse two of Jay Z’s ’99 Problems’, which he produced himself, Rubin wrote: “This is the one verse that he [Jay Z] wrote down. It’s the first time I ever saw him write anything down.”

For Johnny Cash’s ‘Hurt’, the producer added: “There were a lot of songs that he needed to be convincing about. Eventually, he trusted me enough that if I felt strongly about something, he’d do it. I would send him compilations of CDs of songs to listen to, and I remember that on several compilations in a row, ‘Hurt’ was the first song. There’s just something about it. I imagined him saying those words being very powerful.”

You can read all of the annotations here.

Earlier this month, it was rumoured that Rubin was working with Justin Bieber after the popstar posted a picture of himself with the producer on Instagram. It is thought that Bieber’s fourth album will be released later this year.