MC Serch served as the latest artist to appear on Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg’s Juan Epstein podcast, and during his interview the former 3rd Bass member spoke in-depth on his relationship with Queensbridge rapper Nas.
While speaking on his relationship with the Queens lyricist, MC Serch brought up Jay Z’s “Takeover,” a song in which the Brooklyn rapper mentions Serch’s company, Serchlite. On “Takeover,” Jay Z takes aim at Nas as he raps, “And you ain’t get a coin, nigga, you was getting fucked then/I know who I paid, God – Serchlite publishing.”
Prior to the release of “Takeover,” Serch helped Jay Z clear a sample from Nas’ “The World Is Yours” for use on his Reasonable Doubt record, “Dead Presidents.” Serch later clarified that Serchlite did not own Nas’ publishing and only became a publishing company just last year.
“The reason that Jay thought I owned Nas’ publishing was I was working at Def Jam at the time and he was about to put out ‘Dead Presidents’ and he needed the sample cleared,” MC Serch said. “So, I said ‘I’ll hook you up. I’ll give you a fair deal. I’m not gonna jerk you’…So, I cleared the sample for like $2,000…He paid Zomba, but he thought I was involved. So, he thought my company was called Serchlite Publishing, which it wasn’t. It only became Serchlite Publishing last year…You know how much love I get from that line though?”
Prior to speaking on Nas’ publishing and Jay Z’s “Takeover” mention, MC Serch recalled meeting Nas in the studio and assisting the rapper with securing a fair label deal as his manager. Serch ended one potential deal for the rapper, a deal he says was “bullshit,” before approaching Russell Simmons and later Columbia Records.
“So, Nas comes back the next day and he tells me ‘Yo, I need your help. I got this deal. I don’t feel good about it,’” Serch said. “He just wanted my help…He wasn’t signed to anybody. Stretch and Reef had made him an offer. The offer was $150,000 and 50 percent of his publishing. No advance on the publishing. Nas felt some type of way about it. And he asked me to help and I said ‘I can’t help you unless you’re signed to Serchlite. I’m not gonna go negotiate with friends.’ He’s like ‘Alright, I’ll sign.’
“So, Nas signed with Serchlite and I gave him a very fair deal,” he added. “My whole thing was I didn’t want to be the Jew who jerked black men. Like I wasn’t gonna be that guy. So, I go to Stretch and Reef and I said ‘Listen, I can’t let him sign this deal. You know this deal is bullshit. He’s like ‘Listen, this is what [Commons] is offering. Come on Serch, don’t get in the way.’ I’m like—I said ‘I can’t. That’s like—it’s a shady deal. It’s like a 1988 deal. Nas is gonna be the greatest emcee of our generation.’ Helen Keller could see he was gonna be the genius that he was.”
In addition to Nas and Jay Z, MC Serch also spoke briefly on MF Doom and the passing of Doom’s brother, Subroc. Serch shared his belief that Subroc’s death is what led to the creation of MF Doom.
“I haven’t seen Doom in a long time. So, I can’t really speculate. But for me, outside looking in, that’s when he became MF Doom,” Serch said.
Serch’s interview comes days after the emcee launched a new talk show titled “Serch.” The show is currently only available in select markets including New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
Audio from MC Serch’s interview on Juan Epstein can be found below (via 2DopeBoyz).