[Intro: Jay-Z (Kanye)]
Yo fuck you, Kanye, first and foremost
For making me do this shit. Muh'fucker
Had to throw everybody out the motherfucking room
'Cause they don't fucking..
(I'd like to propose a toast)
(I said toast motherfucker)
And I am (here's to the roc)
And they ask me, they ask me, they ask me, I tell them (here's to Rocafella)
Raise your glasses, your glasses, your glasses to the sky (here's to the roc)
This is the last call for alcohol, for the... (here's to Rocafella)
So get your ass up off the wall
The all around the world Digital Underground, Pac
The Rudloph the red nosed reindeer of the Roc
I take my chain, my 15 seconds of fame
And come back next year with the whole fucking game
Ain't nobody expect Kanye to end up on top
They expected that College Dropout to drop and then flop
Then maybe he stop savin' all the good beats for himself
Rocafella's only niggaz that help
My money was thinner than Sean Paul's goatee hair
Now Jean Paul Gaultier cologne fill the air, here
They say he bourgie, he big-headed
Won't you please stop talking about how my dick head is
Flow infectious, give me 10 seconds
I'll have a buzz bigger than insects in Texas
It's funny how wasn't nobody interested
'Til the night I almost killed myself in Lexus
Now was Kanye the most overlooked? Yes sir
Now is Kanye the most overbooked? Yes sir
Though the fans want the feeling of A Tribe Called Quest
But all they got left is this guy called West
Better take Freeway, throw him on tracks with Mos Def
Call him Kwa-lI or Kwe-li, I put him on songs with Jay-Z
I'm the Gap like Banana Republic and Old Navy, and oooh
It come out sweeter than old Sadie
Nice as Bun-B when I met him at the Source awards
Girl he had with him - ass coulda won the horse awards
And I was almost famous, now everybody loves Kanye
I'm almost Raymond'
Some say he arrogant. Can y'all blame him?
It was straight embarrassing how y'all played him
Last year shoppin my demo, I was tryin' to shine
Every motherfucker told me that I couldn't rhyme
Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem
Or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams
I use it as my gas, so they say that I'm gassed
But without it I'd be last, so I ought to laugh
So I don't listen to the suits behind the desk no more
You niggaz wear suits 'cause you can't dress no more
You can't say shit to Kanye West no more
I rocked 20,000 people, I was just on tour, nigga
I'm Kan, the Louis Vuitton Don
Bought my mom a purse, now she Louis Vuitton Mom
I ain't play the hand I was dealt, I changed my cards
I prayed to the skies and I changed my stars
I went to the malls and I balled too hard
'Oh my god, is that a Black Card?'
I turned around and replied, why yes but I prefer the term
African American Express
Brains, power, and muscle, like Dame, Puffy, and Russell
Your boy back on his hustle, you know what I've been up to
Killin y'all niggaz on that lyrical shit
Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips
"... last call for alcohol, for my niggaz"
So this A&R over at Rocafella, named Hiphop
picked the Truth beat for Beanie. And I was in the session with him
I had my demo with me. You know, like I always do
I play the songs, he's like "Who that spittin?"
I'm like "It's me." He's like "Oh, well okay."
Uhh, he started talkin to me on the phone
going back and forth, just askin me to send him beats
And I'm thinking he's trying to get into managing producers
cause he had this other kid named Just Blaze he was messin with
And um, he was friends with my mentor, No ID
And No ID told him, "look man, you wanna mess with Kanye
you need to tell him that you like the way he rap"
[No ID:] "Yo, you wanna sign him, tell him you like how he rap"
I was all, I dunno if he was gassin' me or not
but he's like he wanna manage me as a rapper AND a producer
[Hiphop:] "I'll sign you as a producer and a rapper",
I'm like oh shit
I was messin with, uh, D-Dot also
People were like this, started talking about the Ghost production
But that's how I got in the game. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be here
So you know. After they picked that Truth beat
I was figuring I was gonna do some more work
But shit just went poppin off like that. I was stayin in Chicago
I had my own apartment. I be doin' like, just beats for local acts
just to try to keep the lights on, and then to go out and buy
get a Pelle Pelle off lay-away, get some Jordans or something
or get a TechnoMarine, that's what we wore back then
I made this one beat where I sped up this Hal Melville sample
I played it for Hip over the phone, he's like "oh, yo that shit is crazy
Jay might want it for this compilation album he doin, called The Dynasty."
And at that time, like the drums really weren't soundin' right to me
so I went and um, I was listening to Dre Chronic 2001 at that time
and really I just, like picked the drums off Xxplosive and put it like
with it sped up, sampled, and now it's kind of like my whole style
when it started, when he rapped on 'This Can't be Life.'
And that was like, really the first beat of that kind that was on the Dynasty album
I could say that was the, the resurgence of this whole sound
You know, I got to come in and track the beat, and at the time
I was still with my other management. I really wanted to roll with
Hiphop. 'Cause I, I just needed some fresh air, you know what I'm
sayin, 'cause I been there for a while, I appreciated what they did
for me, but, you know there's a time in every man's life where he
gotta make a change, try to move up to the next level. And that day I
came and I tracked the beat and I got to meet Jay-Z and he said, "oh
you a real soulful dude" [Jay-Z: "you a real soulful dude"]. And he
uh, played the song 'cause he already spit his verse by the time I got
to the studio, you know how he do it, one take. And he said
[Jay-Z:] "check this out, tell me what you think of this, right here"
"tell me what you think of this." And I heard it, and I was thinking
like, man, I really wanted more like of the simple type Jay-Z, I ain't
want like the, the more introspective, complicated rhy- or the, in my
personal opinion. So he asked me, "what you think of it?"
[Jay-Z:] "so what you thinkin?"
And I was like, "man that shit tite,"
you know what I'm sayin', man what I'ma tell him? I was on the train
man, you know. So after that I went back home. And man I'm, I'm just
in Chicago, I'm trying to do my thing. You know, I got groups. I got
acts I'm trying to get on, and like there wasn't nothin really like
poppin' off the way it should have been. One of my homeys that was one
of my artists, he got signed. But it was supposed to really go through
my production company, but he ended up going straight with the
company. So, like I'm just straight holdin' the phone, gettin' the bad
news that dude was tryin' to leave my company. And I got evicted at
the same time. So I went down and tracked the beats from him, I took
that money, came back, packed all my shit up in a U-Haul, maybe about
ten days before I had to actually get out. So I ain't have to deal
with the landlord 'cause he's a jerk. Me and my mother drove to
[Mother:] "Come on, let's just go"
Newark, New Jersey. I hadn't even seen my apartment.
I remember I pulled up
[Mother:] "Kanye, baby, we're here",
I unpacked all my shit. You know, we went to Ikea, I bought a
bed, I put the bed together myself. I loaded up all my equipment, and
the first beat I made was, uh, 'Heart of the City.'
And Beans was still working on his album at that time, so I came up
there to Baseline, it was Beans' birthday, matter of fact, and I
played like seven beats. And, you know I could see he's in the zone
he already had the beats that he wanted, I did nothing like already at
that time. But then Jay walked in. I remember he had a GuccI bucket
hat on. I remember it like, like it was yesterday. And Hiphop said
"yo play that one beat for him." And I played 'Heart of the City.' And
really I made 'Heart of the City,' I really wanted to give that beat to DMX.
[Hiphop:] "No I think Jay gon' like this one right here".
And I played another beat, and I played another beat. And I remember that
GuccI bucket, he took it and like put it over his face and made one of
them faces like 'OOOOOOOOOOH.' Two days later I'm in Baseline and I seen
Dame. Dame didn't know who I was and I was like "yo what's up I'm Kanye."
[Dame:] "Yo, you that kid, Kanye?"
"You that kid that gave all them beats to Jay?
Yo, this nigga got classics"
[Dame:] "Jay got classics, G."
You know I ain't talkin shit.
I'm like "oh shit." And all this time I'm starstruck, man. I'm
still thinking 'bout, you know I'm picturing these niggaz on the show
The Streets is Watching, I'm lookin, these were superstars in my
eyes. And they still are, you know. So, Jay came in and he spit all
these songs like in one day, and in two days... I gotta bring up one
thing, you know, come back to the story, the day I did the 'Can't be
Life' beat on track, I remember Lenny S, he had some Louis Vuitton
sneakers on, he think he fly. And Hiphop was there, I think Tata, John
Minnelli, a bunch of people. I didn't know all these people at the
time they was in the room, and I said, "yo Jay I could rap." And I
spit this rap that said, uh "I'm killin y'all niggaz on that lyrical
shit. Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push miracle whips." And I saw his
eyes light up when I said that line. But you know the West, the rap
was like real wack and shit, so that's all the response.
He said "man that was tite."
[Jay-Z:] "That, that was cool. That was hot."
That was it. You know, I ain't get no deal then, hehe.
Okay, fast forward.
So, Blueprint, H to the Izzo, my first hit single. And I just
took that proudly, built relationships with people. My relationship
with KwelI I think was one of the best ones to ever happen to my
career as a rapper. Because, you know, of course later he allowed me
to go on tour with him. Man, I appre-- I love him for that. And at
this time, you know I didn't have a deal, I had songs, and I had
relationships with all these A&R's, and they wanted beats from me, so
they'd call me up, I'd play them some beats. "Gimme a beat that sound
like Jay-Z." You know, they dick riders. Whatever. So I'll play them
these post-Blueprint beats or whatever and then I'll play my shit. I'll
be like, "yo but I rap too." Hey, I guess they was lookin' at me crazy
'cause you know, 'cause I ain't have a jersey on or whatever
Everybody out there listen here. I played them 'Jesus Walks' and they
didn't sign me. You know what happened, it was some A&R's that fucked
with me though, but then like the heads, it'd be somebody at the
company that'll say "naw." Like, Dave LottI fucked with me, my
nigga Mel brought me to a bunch of labels. Jessica Rivera, man
[Jessica:] "Man, you niggaz is stupid if y'all don't sign Kanye, for real."
I'm not gonna say nothin to mess my promotion up
"Y'all niggaz is stupid". Let's just say I didn't get my deal.
The nigga that was behind me, I mean,
he wasn't even a nigga, you know?
The person who actually kicked everything off was Joe 3H from Capitol
Records. He wanted to sign me really bad.
[Joe:] "We gonna change the game, buddy."
Dame was like, "yo you got a deal with Capitol,
okay man, just make sure it's not wack."
[Dame:] "you gotta make sure it's not wack."
Then one day I just went ahead and played it, I wanted to
play some songs, 'cause you know Cam was in the room, Young Guru, and
Dame was in the room. So I played... actually it's a song that you'll
never hear, but maybe I might use it. So, it's called 'Wow.'
"I go to Jacob with 25 thou, you go with 25 hundred, wow
I got eleven plaques on my walls right now
You got your first gold single, damn, nigga, wow."
Like the chorus went. Don't bite that chorus, I might still use it. So
I play that song for him, and he's like "oh shit"
[Dame:] "Oh shit it's not even wack."
"I ain't gonna front, it's kinda hot."
[Dame:] "it's actually kinda hot."
Like they still weren't looking at me
like a rapper. And I'm sure Dame figured, 'like man. If he do a whole
album, if his raps is wack at least we can throw Cam on every song and
save the album, you know. So uh Dame took me into the office, and he's
like "yo man, we, we on a brick, we on a brick"
[Dame:] "you don't wanna catch a brick"
You gotta be under an umbrella, you'll get rained on.
I told Hiphop and Hiphop was all, "oh, word?" Actually, even with
that I was still about to take the deal with Capitol 'cause it was
already on the table and 'cause of my relationship with 3H. That, you
know, 'cause I told him I was gonna do it, and I'm a man of my word, I
was gonna roll with what I said I was gonna do. Then, you know, I'm
not gonna name no names, but people told me, "oh he's just a producer
rapper" and told 3H that told the heads of the Capitol, and right--
the day I'm talking about, I planned out everything I was gonna do
man, I had picked out clothes, I already started booking studio
sessions, I started arranging my album, thinking of marketing schemes
man I was ready to go. And they had Mel call me, they said
"yo... Capitol pulled on the deal"
[Mel:] "Yo, Capitol pulled out on the deal."
And, you know I told them that Rocafella was interested
and I don't know if they thought that was just something I was saying
to gas them up to try to push the price up or whatever. I went up... I
called G, I said, "man, you think we could still get that deal with Rocafella?"