{{:: 'cloud_flare_always_on_short_message' | i18n }}
Check @genius for updates. We'll have things fixed soon.

Rick Ross Gave “What’s Free” To Meek Mill So JAY-Z Could Be On It

The track was originally destined for Ross’ next album.

Meek Mill’s new album, Championships, is filled with high-profile collaborations, but no song has more star power than “What’s Free.” The track finds Meek linking up with JAY-Z and Rick Ross over production by Tarik Azzouz and StreetRunner, and even flips The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic “What’s Beef?” While it’s a major standout moment for Meek, the track almost ended up on Rick Ross' next album instead.

In an interview with Complex Atlantic Records Senior Vice President of A&R Dallas Martin explained that the song was originally just a Meek and Rick Ross collaboration.

“The first sessions we did I think ‘What’s Free’ was recorded in that first week we started recording in Atlanta,” Martin explained. “Ross came by the studio. I think Ross just fell in love with the record, so after Meek recorded his vocals, Ross recorded vocals. Two days later I get a call. They’re like, ‘We think this is going to Ross.’ I was like, ‘What?’ Ross is the OG. He did so much for all of our careers that it’s like you can’t really veto Ross.” The album he’s referencing is likely Port of Miami 2, which Ross has been teasing for most of 2018.

JAY-Z’s interest in the record, however, ended up turning the tide. “Ross gave us the record back so we could get JAY to get on the record and knock it out,” he explained. “But it definitely was going to go to Ross at some point and we got it back, which was a blessing.”

According to Martin, Jay’s finalized vocals weren’t submitted until Saturday, November 24, less than a week before the release of Championships. “We been wanting JAY on the album since the beginning,” he said. “With JAY-Z, you can’t tell him what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. So you got to pray that the song that he send sticks and he likes it and he wants to do it. Because nobody can move JAY-Z. When he sent back that 44-bar verse, man, we just all lost our minds. We couldn’t believe it, man. It was definitely early Christmas for us.”

Jay’s lengthy verse has drawn widespread praise, and his discussion of the current state of his relationship with Kanye West proved to be one of the most popular lyrics on Genius in November:

No red hat, don’t Michael and Prince me and ‘Ye
They separate you when you got Michael and Prince’s DNA
I ain’t one of these house niggas you bought
My house like a resort, my house bigger than yours
My spou- (Come on, man)
My route better, of course

Jay has been an outspoken supporter of Meek since the MMG rapper’s incarceration in late 2017 for probation violations.

Genius recently broke down everything you need to know about “What’s Free”:

Check out Complex’s full interview with Dallas Martin and catch up on all the lyrics to Meek Mill’s “What’s Free” on Genius now.