During his interview with Devi Dev of MTV’s Hip Hop POV, rapper Kendrick Lamar spoke on a period in his music career that many fans may be unfamiliar with and that was his time as an artist signed to Def Jam.

Kendrick spoke with MTV about being introduced to Jay-Z during a meeting with Def Jam when he was only 17-years-old.

“I don’t think even Jay remember that. This was when I was like first turned 17,” said Kendrick. “And I remember coming out here for a meeting and I was too excited man. And all I remember was Jay walking in the room, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ And walked back to the elevator and we was like ‘Damn, that’s Jay.’ So he doubles back, goes back to his office next door and he’s playing my music. Put me in the studio and that was just one of those situations where I wasn’t ready.” 

Kendrick also explained that instead of being disappointed that things didn’t work out for him at Def Jam more than anything he felt optimistic about his career thanks to the opportunity.

Later in the interview the Compton rapper spoke on West Coast music and how rare it was listening to artists outside of that region.

“I grew up on nothing but West Coast music. When I started writing I had to go back and listen to Biggie and listen to Nas,” the rapper explained. “As big as Jay-Z was I wasn’t listening to Jay-Z in ‘96. I had to go all the way to 2000 before I started listening to Jay.”

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