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 99 Problems
Song

99 Problems

Jay Z
Album:
The Black Album

Song Meaning & Background of 99 Problems


From the 1993 Ice-T single "99 Problems" off of the album Home Invasion, the chorus hook "I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one" was borrowed. In a conversation with Brother Marquis of the Miami-based 2 Live Crew, the hook was created.


Jay-Z describes a story in the song about having to deal with rap haters, a police officer who wants to check his car based on race, and an attacker. In the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the single peaked at number 30.


Rick Rubin produced the song, his first hip-hop work in a long time. A guitar riff and simple groove that were formerly Rubin's hallmarks were given to Jay-Z. Rubin used samples from songs like "The Big Beat" by Billy Squier, "Long Red" by Mountain, and "Get Me Back On Time" by Wilson Pickett to create the track.


Bun B's opening verse from the song "Touched" from the UGK album Ridin' Dirty is directly quoted by Jay-Z to start his third verse.


The chorus of the song, "If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you son/I've got 99 problems but a bitch ain't one," was defined in Jay-Z's book, Decoded, as referring to something different in each verse, despite the fact that its meaning is hotly contested. It makes reference to a police dog in verse two.


Lyrics of 99 Problems by Jay-Z


If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

 

I've got the Rap Patrol on the gat patrol

Foes that wanna make sure my casket's closed

Rap critics that say he's Money, Cash, Hoes

I'm from the hood, stupid! What type of facts are those?

If you grew up with holes in your zapatos

You'd celebrate the minute you was having dough

I'm like, "Fuck critics, you can kiss my whole asshole

If you don't like my lyrics, you can press fast forward"

Got beef with radio if I don't play they show

They don't play my hits, well, I don't give a shit, so

Rap mags try and use my black ass

So advertisers can give 'em more cash for ads

Fuckers, I don't know what you take me as

Or understand the intelligence that Jay Z has

I'm from rags to riches, n*ggas, I ain't dumb

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

 

99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

 

The year is '94, in my trunk is raw

In my rear-view mirror is the motherfucking law

Got two choices, y'all: pull over the car or

Bounce on the devil, put the pedal to the floor

And I ain't trying to see no highway chase with Jake

Plus I got a few dollars, I can fight the case

So I pull over to the side of the road

I heard, "Son, do you know why I'm stopping you for?"

'Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hat's real low?

Do I look like a mind reader, sir? I don't know

Am I under arrest or should I guess some more?

"Well, you was doing 55 in a 54

License and registration and step out of the car

Are you carrying a weapon on you? I know a lot of you are"

I ain't stepping out of shit, all my paper's legit

"Well, do you mind if I look around the car a little bit?"

Well, my glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk in the back

And I know my rights, so you gon' need a warrant for that

"Aren't you sharp as a tack?

You some type of lawyer or something?

Somebody important or something?"

Well, I ain't passed the bar, but I know a little bit

Enough that you won't illegally search my shit

"Well, we'll see how smart you are when the K9 come!"

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

 

99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

 

Now once upon a time not too long ago

A n*gga like myself had to strong-arm a ho

This is not a ho in the sense of having a pussy

But a pussy having no goddamn sense, try and push me

I try to ignore him, talk to the Lord

Pray for him, but some fools just love to perform

You know the type, loud as a motorbike

But wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight

And only thing that's gon' happen is I'ma get to clapping

And he and his boys gonna be yapping to the Captain

And there I go, trapped in the Kit-Kat again

Back through the system with the riff-raff again

Fiends on the floor, scratching again

Paparazzis with they cameras, snapping em

D.A. try to give a n*gga shaft again

Half a mil' for bail 'cause I'm African

All because this fool was harassing them

Trying to play the boy like he's saccharine

But ain't nothing sweet 'bout how I hold my gun

I got 99 problems, being a bitch ain't one – hit me

 

99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one – hit me

If you're having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son

I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one

 

You crazy for this one, Rick

It's your boy

Release Date

2004

Songwriter/s

Shawn Carter, Fredrick Rubin, Norman Landsberg, Felix Pappalardi, William Squier, John Ventura, Leslie Weinstein, Tracy Marrow, Alphonso Henderson, Bernard Freeman

Producer/s

Rick Rubin

Label/s

Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

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