Flashback: Phish and Jay Z Join Forces For '99 Problems'


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Jay Z and Phish have extra in widespread than one may suspect. They each rose out of an underground scene to unimaginable prominence within the mid-1990s regardless of a scarcity of mainstream pop hits, and each attracted an unlimited viewers with their superb reside performances and sophisticated, witty tunes. They've a historical past of saying retirements with nice fanfare, after which roaring again just some years later with new tasks. They're additionally not precisely strangers to the world of unlawful medicine or the U.S. courtroom system.

However the one time their worlds truly collided was one unimaginable night time at Brooklyn's KeySpan Park on June 18th, 2004. Phish had simply kicked off a much-hyped farewell tour and Jay Z was in "retirement" mode himself after the discharge of The Black Album the earlier yr and his retirement celebration present at Madison Sq. Backyard. Three songs into Phish's second set, proper after "Down With Illness," out walked Jay Z to surprised applause. "We will deliver out a good friend of ours," says Trey Anastasio. "Brooklyn's personal. Nice musician and nice singer. Can you set it collectively for Jay Z."

"You guys having enjoyable on the market?" Jay Z requested the gang. "Brooklyn make some noise!" He then launched into "99 Issues." As Kelefa Sanneh of the New York Occasions identified, the music actually related with the jam band viewers. "Jay Z rhymed about eluding an unlawful search ('Properly, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk within the again/ And I do know my rights, so that you gon' want a warrant for that'), there was a sympathetic roar," he wrote. "Who says Phish followers and hip-hop stars don't have anything in widespread?" They adopted it up with "Massive Pimpin'."

"They only reached out to me to do one thing," Jay Z told Rolling Stone days later. "I all the time consider in simply good music and dangerous music, and I need to attempt new issues. I noticed this as an ideal alternative. I went out and had a good time, and I've by no means carried out in Brooklyn like that. That was lovely … I simply stored listening to their identify and the way robust they was stay, how huge a following that they had reside and that they have been doing it for like twenty-one years. That was superb to me. I used to be intrigued."

Two months later Phish wrapped up their farewell tour with the three-night Coventry pageant, which became a mud-soaked catastrophe when rains ruined the grounds and lots of followers could not even get to the location. It might have been a awful solution to finish issues, however lower than 5 years later they got here again and have been touring closely ever since. Sadly, Jay Z has but to carry out with them once more.