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Video: Jay-Z Recalls How Record Labels Thought He Was ‘Terrible’

From MTV’s vaults:

“I went to every single record label, and they was like, ‘This guy is terrible. He’s nothing,’ ” Jay told MTV News prior to the release of The Blueprint in 2001. “I had to put [Reasonable Doubt] out myself, because nobody would sign me.”

That was back in 1996, when Roc-A-Fella records was born, not out of entrepreneurial expansion but, as Hova made clear, out of necessity. “I would press up singles and go to the record stores myself, collect $100, $200, come back, give them some more records,” he recalled. “It started like that.”

Jay wasn’t embittered by his struggle, though. If anything, it gave him a sharper perspective on the music business. “It made me appreciate it so much more,” he said. “No one gave me anything. They didn’t give me a record deal. I really just took my time and grew it step by step by step by step. I could have easily been like, ‘Maybe what I’m talking about ain’t right! Nobody wants to sign me!’ That would have stopped the suffering. But I didn’t.”

I already know the comments are gonna use this post to continue Timbogate… for the record, I think everybody’s overreacting.


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73 Responses to “Video: Jay-Z Recalls How Record Labels Thought He Was ‘Terrible’”

  1. sean coonery Says:

    Icon…do you know that Uncle Murda x Jae Hood collabo in the face looking ass nigga….known as Dizzy…..supposedly a DMV mini-celeb….he was in wales video…

  2. dockevoc Says:

    2nd?

  3. AmpGeez a.k.a Ni@@as Is Puss Says:

    if you a Muslim, put it in ALLAHs hands if you REALLY believe … if you Christian, well, my condolences …
    ==============================================
    What a hateful thing to say.

    Sounds just like Islam

  4. AmpGeez a.k.a Ni@@as Is Puss Says:

    if you a Muslim, put it in ALLAHs hands if you REALLY believe … if you Christian, well, my condolences …
    ==============================================
    What a hateful thing to say.

    Sounds just like Islam

  5. "A" Chick Le Fleur - Niccas 2 Sweet-n-Low dey ain't Equal Says:

    LOL@Timbogate

    I think timberland need to release a stmt.

  6. SNORT_SNORTCRAZY88SINCE88 Says:

    Hov is that dude, but by default hes not “cool” anymore… a 40 year old cat cant tell 18 yearolds on the corner whats Hot right now.

    Hov is Paul McCartney, “that cool older cat from back in the day”.

  7. OneBluntWonder Says:

    The only thing bigger than Drake’s buzz is his forehead

  8. sean coonery Says:

    Jay-Z dressing like its the 90’s….

    Kangol Hat

    Rocwear Jacket and Shirt?

    Baggy Clothes?

    What happened to the Rayban Wayfarers, Louie V and All Black everything?

  9. SNORT_SNORTCRAZY88SINCE88 Says:

    “I went to every single record label, and they was like, ‘This guy is terrible. He’s nothing,’ ” Jay told MTV News prior to the release of The Blueprint in 2001. “I had to put [Reasonable Doubt] out myself, because nobody would sign me.”

    That was back in 1996, when Roc-A-Fella records was born, not out of entrepreneurial expansion but, as Hova made clear, out of necessity. “I would press up singles and go to the record stores myself, collect $100, $200, come back, give them some more records,” he recalled. “It started like that.”

    Jay wasn’t embittered by his struggle, though. If anything, it gave him a sharper perspective on the music business. “It made me appreciate it so much more,” he said. “No one gave me anything. They didn’t give me a record deal. I really just took my time and grew it step by step by step by step. I could have easily been like, ‘Maybe what I’m talking about ain’t right! Nobody wants to sign me!’ That would have stopped the suffering. But I didn’t.”

    ^^^
    HOV!

  10. Latarian Milton Says:

    Jay-Z

    ^

    nah but we off that

  11. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    cOLD Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
    sacrificed to even ask because of the fans. But if dudes be too busy in their own minds, they don’t have to do it. Because Rae continues to do Rae anyway. Y’all came to see me. It’s the Rae show anyway.”

    ^ theres a translation, somewhere in there.

    ***Nasir Jones doesn’t care about rap people, and vice versa***

  12. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    What a hateful thing to say.

    Sounds just like Islam.

    ^

    don’t blame islam for that one amp. thas totally on land books.

  13. Big Homie Says:

    Mean bucket ….

  14. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    sean coonery Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:12 pm
    Icon…do you know that Uncle Murda x Jae Hood collabo in the face looking ass nigga….known as Dizzy…..supposedly a DMV mini-celeb….he was in wales video…

    ***nah, never heard of him…wassup, though?

  15. Latarian Milton Says:

    co-sign kev, don’t diss a whole religion amp, that ain’t gangsta

  16. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    so its cool to say ALLAH and FOH in the same sentence as you do?

    really kev ?

    i only invoked the name of ALLAH because i saw that you practiced Islam and was being respectful to your faith …

    wow … one day itll all make sense … or not

    may ALLAH be with you… u mad?

    ^

    to you be your way of life sir, and to me be mine.

  17. I Fux Says:

    Who knows, I just know a few years ago I never even heard of Autism.
    ^^^
    word and now every kid has that shit. what is it exactly? just kids with a lot of rambunctiousnes

  18. D_Block_4_Life aka heat the track up Like Adobo/Sazon/SOFRITO Says:

    VvsM >>

  19. soapy Says:

    # sean coonery Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Jay-Z dressing like its the 90’s….

    Kangol Hat

    Rocwear Jacket and Shirt?

    Baggy Clothes?

    What happened to the Rayban Wayfarers, Louie V and All Black everything?

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    This is from ’01. Hov don’t wear Rocawear anymore.

  20. kintell Says:

    nigga you started it 1st when you called it “Timbogate”

  21. R.J.Orion Says:

    for the record as ive said 100 times …

    im not even Muslim …

    but if you were as smart as you thought you were, you would have picked up on that …

    and the time you took to TRY to berate me, you could have researched the stuff yourself … instead of childishly bickering with someone who may have some insight and foresight … but i digress for the final time …

  22. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    Latarian Milton Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:17 pm
    co-sign kev, don’t diss a whole religion amp, that ain’t gangsta

    ***nah, that’s real gangsta…”gangstas do what they want, suckas do what they can” (c) Nas, lol…j/k..

  23. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    im not even Muslim …

    *** tilts head to side (none)
    ***makes confused dog face,

  24. The Shooter Says:

    Damn the lay out for the tracklist on Kid Cudi’s album looks exactlly like Green Day’s last album….is he bitting?

  25. th!z Says:

    kanye’s tracks are gonna make bp3 a classic, just like they did with bp. who really remembers “hola hovito”? niggas remember takeover izzo and heart of the city

    and when are hannah montana and french montana gonna do a track together

  26. R.J.Orion Says:

    kev says

    to you be your way of life sir, and to me be mine.

    ————-

    yo kev…

    you shoulda said that in the first place … that would have left you more time and energy to do the knowledge for self, instead of shooting the messenger… but i agree with you on your final comment …

    *salaam to you B*

  27. I Fux Says:

    im not even catholic and I got a gold rosary, gold jesus piece, black jesus piece, virgin mary tatted on my back……. lets be real.

  28. The Shooter Says:

    Example:

    01. Song Of The Century

    Act I – Heroes And Cons

    02. 21st Century Breakdown
    03. Know Your Enemy
    04. Viva La Gloria!
    05. Before The Lobotomy
    06. Christian’s Inferno
    07. Last Night On Earth

    Act II – Charlatans And Saints

    08. East Jesus Nowhere
    09. Peacemaker
    10. Last Of American Girls
    11. Murder City
    12. Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)
    13. Restless Heart Syndrome

    Act III – Horseshoes And Handgrenades

    14. Horseshoes And Handgrenades
    15. The Static Age
    16. 21 Guns
    17. American Eulogy (Mass Hysteria/Modern World)
    18. See The Light

  29. R.J.Orion Says:

    icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:20 pm
    im not even Muslim …

    *** tilts head to side (none)
    ***makes confused dog face,

    ————

    … exactly …

  30. R.J.Orion Says:

    NaS > JayZ

  31. Troyvul Says:

    @ Land

    How are autism and c-sections related?

  32. Latarian Milton Says:

    I Fux Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:22 pm
    im not even catholic and I got a gold rosary, gold jesus piece, black jesus piece, virgin mary tatted on my back……. lets be real.

    ^

    post a pic of the tat! [||]

  33. cOLD Says:

    just kids with a lot of rambunctiousnes

    ^ some are mute, and have extreme trouble expressing themselves.

  34. kintell Says:

    # sean coonery Says:
    August 27th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Jay-Z dressing like its the 90’s….

    Kangol Hat

    Rocwear Jacket and Shirt?

    Baggy Clothes?

    What happened to the Rayban Wayfarers, Louie V and All Black everything?

    ^^^it says 3-15-01 in that interview thats March 15,2001. nowadays you would catch Hov in a satin turtleneck before any Kangol hat.

  35. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    SNORT_SNORTCRAZY88SINCE88 Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
    Hov is that dude, but by default hes not “cool” anymore… a 40 year old cat cant tell 18 yearolds on the corner whats Hot right now.

    Hov is Paul McCartney, “that cool older cat from back in the day”.

    ***Question is, who’s hot right now (none)? I don’t see any contemporary cats eclipsing hov, because the fanbase is so fractured…you got Joe Buddens stans, but you got just about as many niggas saying Joe Buddens is wack juice…same for Wayne, Charles Hamilton, whoever…at one time, everybody was on the same page, as far as Jay’s dopeness goes…nigga has certified classics that most artists could never even dream of, and the media is pretty much in awe (no Jay saying “aaaw” in every song, lol) of him….nobody else has that kind of impact, influence, and fan base, except maybe Em, but a lot of his props are diluted by the fact that a lot of people think he gets preferential treatment, and an elevated status, because of his skin color..

  36. I Fux Says:

    post a pic of the tat! [||]

    ^^^
    i was being controversial , i dont have that ish

  37. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    *** tilts head to side (none)
    ***makes confused dog face,

    ^
    you’ve been infected. it’s ok. move vigilantly when reading some of these comments tho. you’ll survive.

  38. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    post a pic of the tat! [||]

    ***No amount of disclaimers can compensate for you asking another dude to post a pic of his shirtless back…

  39. yaboy Says:

    nas > jay-z

  40. R.J.Orion Says:

    Troyvul Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    @ Land

    How are autism and c-sections related?

    ————–

    Elzhi > Eminem

  41. Big Homie Says:

    I’m not even Asian

  42. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    kevfrescura de talco Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:25 pm
    *** tilts head to side (none)
    ***makes confused dog face,

    ^
    you’ve been infected. it’s ok. move vigilantly when reading some of these comments tho. you’ll survive.

    ***Pfffft…whatever nigga…you’re sounding like an offbrand version of landlord, right about now…

  43. sleep Says:

    What’s is the honkies to collard folks ratio of nahright commentors

  44. cOLD Says:

    How are autism and c-sections related?

    ————–

    Elzhi > Eminem

    ^roffle.

  45. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    Big Homie Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:27 pm
    I’m not even Asian

    **That’s right, boy, you one of them there O-rientals, lol…j/k…

  46. Al Poelvoordino Says:

    OB4CL2 2009 then mixtapes
    2010 yolanda’s house LP then mixtapes
    2011 wu tang vs shaolin LP then mixtapes
    2012 OB4CL 3 : last album !!! then special guest sometimes.

    keep it 100. Rae’s The Chef

  47. R.J.Orion Says:

    FYI:

    you dont have to be muslim to say ALLAH …

    i say it because i have great respect for Islam and its followers … period …

  48. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    you’re sounding like an offbrand version of landlord,

    ^^^

    really? so i guess that makes you a land fan? good for you.

  49. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    collard folks

    ***Chuckles***

  50. R.J.Orion Says:

    Big Homie Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:27 pm
    I’m not even Asian

    ————-

    *DEAD*

  51. cOLD Says:

    ***Pfffft…whatever nigga…you’re sounding like an offbrand version of landlord, right about now…

    ^ *shots fired*

  52. D_Block_4_Life aka heat the track up Like Adobo/Sazon/SOFRITO Says:

    Question is, who’s hot right now (none)? I don’t see any contemporary cats eclipsing hov, because the fanbase is so fractured…you got Joe Buddens stans, but you got just about as many niggas saying Joe Buddens is wack juice…same for Wayne, Charles Hamilton, whoever…at one time, everybody was on the same page, as far as Jay’s dopeness goes…nigga has certified classics that most artists could never even dream of, and the media is pretty much in awe (no Jay saying “aaaw” in every song, lol) of him….nobody else has that kind of impact, influence, and fan base, except maybe Em, but a lot of his props are diluted by the fact that a lot of people think he gets preferential treatment, and an elevated status, because of his skin color..
    ^
    Word

  53. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    kevfrescura de talco Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:28 pm
    you’re sounding like an offbrand version of landlord,

    ^^^

    really? so i guess that makes you a land fan? good for you.

    ***Nope, it makes you an offbrand landlord…I’m not even a fan of many actual famous people, much less another nigga who spends his workday on nah…try again…

  54. Mag Says:

    “Timbaland Talks Shock Value 2; “Of course I’m not going to give Jay my best material.”

    Translation = Camel where were you on the last CD?

  55. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    and i guess you can fast for the holy month of ramadan w/o actually observing it and reap the same rewards as a true believer?

    FOH!

    wow

  56. icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    Mag Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:30 pm
    “Timbaland Talks Shock Value 2; “Of course I’m not going to give Jay my best material.”

    Translation = Camel where were you on the last CD?

    **He saves his best beats (none) for Justin Timberlake and Magoo

  57. sleep Says:

    Didn’t timbo have a little beef with hov for not getting back to him in time to be on his last album. Damm pay back is a bitch with herpes.

  58. kevfrescura de talco Says:

    try again

    ^
    nah. i’m an offshoot of my Pops. the original article of what moving on is.

  59. kintell Says:

    **He saves his best beats (none) for Justin Timberlake and Magoo

    ^^^am i the only one who thinks Magoo is a tad slow?

  60. SNORT_SNORTCRAZY88SINCE88 Says:

    icon(trillbert arenas) Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:24 pm
    SNORT_SNORTCRAZY88SINCE88 Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
    Hov is that dude, but by default hes not “cool” anymore… a 40 year old cat cant tell 18 yearolds on the corner whats Hot right now.

    Hov is Paul McCartney, “that cool older cat from back in the day”.

    ***Question is, who’s hot right now (none)? I don’t see any contemporary cats eclipsing hov, because the fanbase is so fractured…you got Joe Buddens stans, but you got just about as many niggas saying Joe Buddens is wack juice…same for Wayne, Charles Hamilton, whoever…at one time, everybody was on the same page, as far as Jay’s dopeness goes…nigga has certified classics that most artists could never even dream of, and the media is pretty much in awe (no Jay saying “aaaw” in every song, lol) of him….nobody else has that kind of impact, influence, and fan base, except maybe Em, but a lot of his props are diluted by the fact that a lot of people think he gets preferential treatment, and an elevated status, because of his skin color..

    ^^^
    right now is that Dry period, like it was from 89′ to 92’… it happens… but its way worse, everybody turned into “The Machine”, nothing is organic… like hov said, back in the day He has to go package & sell & create a buzz, he & Dame had to hustle & fight to get in… Now u got cats that get a little buzz like Drake, then they end up on a Hov CD?

    granted i get the whole “each 1 teach 1, help a cat out” but these cats are corny.

    no heart, no passion. PPL did not stop buyin music cuz its free online to get somewhere, ppl dont buy cuz cats put out Bullshit.

  61. R.J.Orion Says:

    kevfrescura de talco Says:

    August 27th, 2009 at 2:31 pm
    and i guess you can fast for the holy month of ramadan w/o actually observing it and reap the same rewards as a true believer?

    FOH!

    wow

    ——————–

    and again… you can talk HoLY month and Ramadan, and in the same comment, curse (FOH) mad people thats trying to guide you rightly … during the holy month?… during daylight?

    you sure you a muslim B?

    cause i aint hearda dat behavior from a TRUE Muslim …

    you need more submitting …

  62. Rey Says:

    Timbogate? Like how he’s awful and overrated? And how Danja ghostproduced all the “hits” for the Timbaland Suckoff that was mid-2006 thru late 2007?

    You mean, that Timbogate?

  63. Al Poelvoordino Says:

    Religions peoples opium

  64. Al Poelvoordino Says:

    cool no beef between em
    timbo and jigga
    timbo would produce his whole album, jigga said.. nah
    SO Timbo said that, just because of that…
    but u will see probably for the next album a hit from timbo/jay

  65. Al Poelvoordino Says:

    jayz i$ the number one player in the game no doubt. he wanted this.
    nas is the best lyricist in da hiphop no doubt. he wanted that.
    nothing mo, nothing less. that’s heat ! peace

  66. Rey Says:

    A Jay-Z/Timbaland ALBUM would be fucking terrible. I’d buy the acapela.

  67. Dunny Says:

    Jay needs a bat-phone with Just Blaze’s number in that ish for the studio… These timbo beats have been pretty wack so far. Something just aint right.

  68. stote Says:

    ISHA BOI YUNG!

  69. thelupend Says:

    Jay isn’t the problem, his lyrics are alwas on point(Listen to the word play) It’s that he chooses bad beats (Timbo) and terrible hooks (Drake , the chick in Venus Vs Mars)

    My advice to Jay is to remove ALL the tracks on BP3 that has anything to do With Timbo, get rid off all the features except for Kanye and Cudi. And make KanYe and No.ID produce the Whole album

    Jay, I hope you get a chance to read this!

    PS. Tell Beyonce to give me call or somthin

  70. rrahha Says:

    and dame & bigs had nothing to do with it Jay?!

  71. mr o Says:

    dame, biggs, foxy

  72. The Blunt Technician Says:

    “Video: Jay-Z Recalls How Record Labels Thought He Was ‘Terrible’”

    ———————————–

    & they were right.

  73. YBE Says:

    Jay-Z > Nas

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