Published by HipHop DX; Written By Kyle Eustice:
JAY-Z and Nipsey Hussle’s collaborative single “What It Feels Like” arrived on Friday (February 12) courtesy of the Judas & The Black Messiah soundtrack. The Hit-Boy track examines the stress that often comes along with success and simultaneously touches on the assassination of the film’s protagonist Fred Hampton.
While Hov’s verse was likely penned specifically for the film, Nipsey’s lyrics were actually written in 2013 for a song by Mississippi rapper Tito Lopez. Produced by Mike & Keys, Mars and 1500 or Nothin, the original version swaps Jay’s verse for Lopez’s verse.
A member of Lopez’s team released the OG song via Instagram on Friday (February 12), which features the exact same Nipsey verse.
“Look, the only reason I survive ’cause a n-gga is special, first,” the late Crenshaw legend raps. “You get successful, then it get stressful, thirst/N-ggas gon’ test you, see what your texture’s worth/Diamonds and pipes, one of ’em pressure bursts/Street n-gga, still I get checks, in spurts/I’m from Peach but before I get pressed, I murk/Better days pray for but expectin’ worse.”
According to A&R Matthew “M80” Markoff of Holy Toledo Productions, the verse was able to be repurposed thanks to a verse licensing idea he birthed several years ago.
“The Nipsey Hussle x Jay-Z track ‘What it Feels Like’ just provided my verse licensing business with the greatest form of validation the world has ever known,” Markoff wrote in an Instagram post. “For those of you who don’t know, the Nipsey verse is 8 years old and was a feature from a Tito Lopez record. Special shout out to Shet Wexner x Khalif-Delence A. Sheares Sr. for using me as the motivation for the launch of VerseBooks as well. I look forward to the 419 x 614 connecting to bring greatness to the world at large.”