When Amil recorded her verse for Jay Z‘s “Can I Get A…,” she did not know it would become a hit that would also jumpstart her career.
“It [all] took off from there,” Amil says in an interview with Billboard. “He was looking for a female to say the verse and that’s where I came in at. Jay had already wrote ‘Can I Get A…’ before I got it. I wrote my rhymes around it…Whenever me and Jay recorded it was a natural thing. It was always smooth. The way we sounded together, it was a good chemistry…Jay had respect for my talent – writing and my voice – nothing more. Jay gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and what I did with it was my own decision. That was my brother. There was never a relationship between me and Jay or anyone over there. He was like a brother. He was very protective over [me]. I’m never going to lose any love for Jay.”
Despite some success with Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella, Amil says she wasn’t fully invested in her Rap career.
“I wasn’t there mentally,” Amil says. “I was in my own world. Was I prepared? No. Did I realize what was happening right before my eyes? No…I started to rebel. I rebelled against the industry because it’s not what I wanted. I hated traveling. I wasn’t at afterparties or the club. Also, at the time my son’s asthma, [who was] 5 [or] 6-years-old at the time, was getting worse and no one was there for him. I had to be there for him.”
Her son was important to her and she says her career took a backseat, as evidenced by some of her choices.
“I didn’t think about the legalities of a lot of things,” she says. “I never cared about the contracts. I could have been signing my life away… I was not a businesswoman at that time. I didn’t have a manager or the things that most artists have. I didn’t put my all into it. I didn’t give 100 percent of myself. I felt like it just wasn’t for me. That’s when I started rebelling. I started rebelling because I wanted out. It was easier for me to slip away. I faded myself. No one faded me. And, that’s when everything seemed to go left. I think they [Roc-A-Fella] knew through my actions that I wasn’t in it. I wasn’t the artist that was doing everything be No. 1. I wasn’t doing anything to make myself bigger than what I was. I wasn’t putting any effort in promotion. I wasn’t looking at it as a career. It’s not that I wasn’t doing it because I was stupid. It was because I didn’t want to be there anymore….There was never a conversation. He [Jay Z] knew that that’s not where I wanted to be. I told him that I couldn’t do it for another year. I think he understood, overall. He thought that as time went on I’d be ready, but later realized I wasn’t. I know he knew, ‘She don’t give a fuck about this shit.’ I was fine being an around-the-way rapper. If I could go back in time and do it all over again, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to jump in the game. If I would have did it again, I would have left it alone. I wasn’t cut out for it. I probably would have stepped in as a writer.”
Nevertheless, Amil is preparing the release of her upcoming mixtape, A Moment In Life, set to be released late spring or early summer. Amil says the tape is “a lot of R&B” and that she feels it’s reminiscent to music from the 1990s.
“I’m doing a lot of songs off ’90s beats and collaborating with 90s artists (Havoc, JT Money, Killah Priest). You’ll hear a much mature Amil.”
In 2007, Amil spoke with HipHopDX about her relationship with Jay Z. “Me and Jay never had bad blood,” she said at the time. “There was never any beef between me and Jay.”
Amil was interviewed by Billboard as part of the publication’s Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop article. Yo Yo, MC Lyte, Rah Digga, Gangsta Boo, Lil Mama, Ms. Jade, Angel Haze and Charli Baltimore have also been included in the series.
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