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by kenn on 3/24/2005 06:33:00 PM

You Know Just?

Source:RS

You Know Him From Tuned into hip-hop radio in the past five years? You've likely heard Just Blaze, who specializes in producing hooky singles that deftly incorporate old-school soul samples. He's supervised chunks of four Jay-Z albums, plus hits for Cam'ron ("Oh Boy") and the Beastie Boys ("Ch-Check It Out Remix").

The Breakthrough Fresh from a DJ spot on Usher's U.S. tour, Blaze (a.k.a. twenty-eight-year-old Justin Smith) launched his own label, Fort Knocks, and is producing the debut by his first signee, mix-tape phenom Saigon. But has Hova spoiled him? "It's not even work with Jay-Z," Blaze says. "I've watched him make up rhymes with no paper in twenty minutes, then get it with one take."

Sticky Fingaz Just Blaze's music-sampling habit goes way back. "I used to steal records from Kmart by accident," he says. "My mom would be pushing my stroller back to the car, and she'd notice I was holding records in my hands. I've always had this kind of weird connection with music."

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