Real Talk — Fabolous (2004)
“I’ve worked with Just Blaze on all of my previous albums, so I already had a relationship with him. ‘Breathe’ came together after I heard this track he told me was for somebody else, but they ended up not using it. Just gave me the beat and it was more sample driven because that was the direction he was going in at the time. You can hear the difference in a more bouncy musical song like ‘Can’t Let You Go’ and a harder song like ‘Breathe,’ which Just both produced. So when I got the ‘Breathe’ track the sample vocals were saying, ‘Eve!’ And I thought the whole time the sample was saying, ‘Breathe!’ So I wrote this joint featuring all kinds of metaphors and punchlines off of breathing, respirators, and taking deep breaths [laughs]. I came to Just and he asked me what made me go with that concept, and I was like, ‘Well, the song is saying breathe, right?’ And Just laughed and was like, ‘No…but I’ll make the hook say, ‘Breathe.’ And that’s what he did.
When I was working on this album, it was my first glance of seeing the game transitioning into southern artists becoming bigger. So it was a risk coming with such a New York sounding single like ‘Breathe.’ Real Talk was the first album I did for Atlantic because Elektra had folded. I started to see the commercial emergence of Trick Daddy, T.I. andLil Wayne. The southern style was becoming the big sound, which is why I was surprised that ‘Breathe’ became a very big record. It was even no. 1 on 106 & Park! I didn’t think such a lyrical joint could do what it did. It cut in between everything that was going on.”