A Star Is Born (Jay-Z song)
|"A Star Is Born"|
|Single by Jay-Z featuring J. Cole|
|from the album The Blueprint 3|
|Released||June 25, 2010|
|Recorded||2009; Avex Honolulu Studios (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Roc the Mic Studios (New York City, New York)
Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)
|Label||Roc Nation, Atlantic|
|Writer(s)||Shawn Carter, Dion Wilson, Jermaine Cole, Kanye West, Maurice Jordan|
|Producer(s)||Kanye West, Kenoe, No I.D.|
|Jay-Z singles chronology|
"A Star Is Born" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Jay-Z from his eleventh studio album The Blueprint 3 (2009). The song, produced by Kanye West, Kenoe and No I.D., features a verse from American rapper J. Cole, Jay-Z's protege and the first artist to be signed to his Roc Nation label. In the song, Jay-Z recognizes rappers who have risen to fame in the last decade, such as Eminem, Kanye West, 50 Cent, T.I. and Lil Wayne. Notably, Jay-Z also gives shout-outs to Nas and Mobb Deep, two artists whom he had previously insulted on his 2001 song "Takeover".
Background and recording
After graduating from college, J. Cole sought to attract the attention of Jay-Z in the hopes of working with him. Following several efforts, including increased social networking activity and seeking internships at recording studios, J. Cole was finally contacted by Jay-Z and invited to contribute to his eleventh studio album The Blueprint 3 (2009). Cole also subsequently signed a recording contract with Jay-Z's record label Roc Nation.
The duo's The Blueprint 3 collaboration came in the form of "A Star Is Born", which features verses from the two rappers. The song was produced by Kanye West, Kenoe, and No I.D. and incorporates samples of the 1977 song "Touch Me" by R&B group Mother Freedom Band. It was originally slated to have two verses performed by Jay-Z and one by J. Cole, but the former added a third verse during a recording session. Cole wrote his verse for "A Star Is Born" in about 45 minutes in the studio. Its chorus is performed by R&B singer Tony Williams; an early version of the song featured vocals from both Williams and hip hop recording artist Kid Cudi, but only the former's contributions were ultimately used in the final mix. Williams himself was not aware of the prominence of his vocals on "A Star Is Born" until his friend Omar Edwards approached him and complimented his performance on the song.
"A Star Is Born" received mixed reviews from music critics. Charles Aaron of Spin praised its "anthemic, edgy soul-clap" beat and the two rappers' individual performances, lauding Jay-Z in particular as "effortlessly dazzling". Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen, however, dismissed the song as a "numbingly non-committal salutation" Alexis Petridis, writing for The Guardian, negatively described "A Star Is Born" as a "mass of indistinct tracks".
Release and live performances
"A Star Is Born" impacted urban contemporary radio in the United Kingdom on June 25, 2010, and it was added to the playlist of urban radio station BBC Radio 1Xtra the same date. On July 21, the song was added to the BBC Radio 1 playlist. While not officially released as a single in the United States, "A Star Is Born" peaked at number 91 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart following the release of The Blueprint 3. J. Cole performed his verse on "A Star Is Born" at the 2010 BET Awards, where he also added an additional verse. Cole also performed the song at New York-based radio station Hot 97's 2010 Summer Jam concert.
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||91|
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- Jones, Biz (June 17, 2010). "J. Cole Follows Jay-Z's Blueprint, 'I Try To Model Myself & My Moves After Those He's Made'". SOHH. 4Control Media. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
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- "Tony Williams of G.O.O.D. Music Talks Most Memorable Studio Sessions With Kanye". Complex (New York). April 19, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
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- Cohen, Ian (September 14, 2009). "Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
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- "Jay-Z Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Jay-Z. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- "J. Cole Performs 'A Star Is Born' At BET Awards '10". Roc Nation. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- Oakes, M. Gosho (June 28, 2010). "J. Cole 'Star Is Born' BET Awards Full Performance × Interview". Soul Culture. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
- "J. Cole Takes Summer Jam By Storm!". Roc Nation. June 7, 2010. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved October 13, 2013.