This was surprisingly the final track to be recorded for the "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" album.. Jay-Z laid down this gem immediately after deciding to transform the project from a Roc-A-Fella crew compilation to a solo endeavor. Little did they know that this club-ready anthem would catapult Jay-Z to the pinnacle of the Hip-Hop/R&B chart, marking his first #1 hit in this genre.
The mesmerizing beats of "The Dynasty (Intro)" were crafted by none other than The Neptunes, while the melodious hook was delivered by Pharrell Williams, one half of the renowned duo. The song also featured future NER*D bandmate Shay Haley and rapper Omillio Sparks. Its success ushered in the distinctive Neptunes sound, characterized by electrifying synthesizer riffs and Pharrell's signature falsetto-sung chorus, introducing it to the mainstream music scene.
Jay-Z recalled the track's genesis, sharing, "My man Sparks had this hook for a while, and I was looking for a beat for it. I was searching high and low, reaching out to numerous producers, telling them, 'Hey, I've got a hit on my hands; I'm telling you it's a hit. All I need is a track that matches it.' It took me a couple of weeks, but then I found the perfect track... and The Neptunes were the masterminds behind it."
Jay-Z came up with the idea for the song when he visited Virginia Beach and met with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. According to Jay-Z, Pharrell played him the beat, and he immediately knew it was the one. Jay-Z said that he wanted the song to be fun and upbeat
But then on an episode of Bill Maher's show, he claimed the song was based on a true story about events that occurred during the May 4, 2000 birthday party for Kimora Lee Simmons, the ex-wife of Def Jam’s co-founder Russell Simmons.
The song incorporated samples from Rick James' 1981 single "Give It to Me Baby"
and a distinctive four-bar snippet from Notorious B.I.G's "The World Is Filled."
Interestingly, the original choice for the lead single was "Parking Lot Pimpin'."
However, Jay-Z made a game-changing decision just one day prior to the video shoot. As he reflected, "I had 'Parking Lot' ready to roll. It's an incredible, sizzling track. I was all set to go with it, but the very next day, I created this song, and it was all about the vibe. The atmosphere in the studio… the immediate reaction, people were singing along by the time the second chorus hit. We played it 30 times in the studio the night we made it. Two days later, I switched the single from ‘Parking Lot Pimpin’‘ and was shooting the video for 'I Just Wanna.’ I made this track with a particular Kimora Lee party in mind. The Carl Thomas' song ‘I Wish’ was hot at the time, and Mary J. Blige was on the floor dancing like crazy. I captured that night in the track. ‘When the Remy’s in the system…’ was the perfect way to start the track. Why do I have to think of another line? There’s already a perfect one and it comes from my guy. I also credit Pharrell who brought a whole soulful, Curtis Mayfield vibe to the track."
The Dave Meyers directed video features cameos from rappers Beanie Sigel, Lil' Kim, Jermaine Dupri, Damon Dash, Lil' Cease, Memphis Bleek, and comedian/actor John Witherspoon, who is best known for his Friday series. Other music promos that Witherspoon has featured in include Field Mob's "Sick of Being Lonely, Goodie Mob's "They Don't Dance No Mo'"and LL Cool J's "Ain't Nobody."
The song was voted #1 by Complex magazine on their Best Songs of the Decade list. They said: "A sing-along anthem so undeniably infectious, it's still an instant party starter to this day."
Remember when hip-hop used to sound like this and was basically all-party anthems? The fact we're still playing these songs 30 years later in the club and house parties is crazy.
Here is Alicia Keys doing a verse from the song
And here are a couple versions of Jay-Z performing it live