Recording sessions for the album took place at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu, Hawaii; Barford Estate in Sydney, Australia; Electric Lady Studios; the Mercer Hotel; MSR Studios; and Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York, New York; Le Meurice in Paris, France; and Real World Studios in Wiltshire, England. Production began in November 2010 in England and continued during available times in Jay-Z's and West's schedules at locations in Australia, Paris, Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Los Angeles. In an interview for Billboard, Jay-Z said that they often recorded in hotel rooms and that the album went through three iterations, as he and West had scaled back from their original musical direction. He noted difficulties in the recording process, including arguments with West regarding their direction. Following the release of lead single, "H•A•M" in January 2011, Jay-Z stated that the less-than-stellar reception caused a change in the production of the album. Jay-Z announced that it was unlikely that the track would ultimately make the album. The issues at the beginning of production had caused a delay in the release. In an interview for Rolling Stone, Jay-Z discussed their insistence on recording in person and attributed it to the delay in releasing the album, stating "If we were gonna do it, we were gonna do it together. No mailing it in".