In the latest segment of an interview with DJ Skee on SKEE TV, Lupe Fiasco touched on his near-signing with Roc-A-Fella Records in the early 2000s and initial relationship with Jay Z, Kanye West, and Pharrell.
Asked about his connection to Jay Z, Fiasco explained walking away from a possible signing with the rapper’s label.
“Jay the homie,” he said. “I was gonna sign to Roc-A-Fella like in 2002, 2003. Me and my partner Chill—free Chill—we decided to start our own piece. He already had a company called On The Rocks so we decided to start 1st and 15th, 50-50, down the middle. Young Vice President, fresh in the game, trying to do what it do. Through those travels we met a ton of people: Kanye, Jay Z, Pharrell, all these different folks.”
Speaking on how he developed the relationship with Jay Z, Lupe recalled being present for different parts of the recording process for The Black Album.
“Just built this rapport with Jay,” he said. “Being able to go to Baseline [Studios], see him put together joints like The Black Album and stuff like that, be a part of that, give him joints for that. So, he’s always been in the mix, not so much the past couple albums or the past few years but still the homie though.”
Baseline Studios, once owned by a Jay Z affiliate and later sold to producer Just Blaze, was shut down in 2010. Jay Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” Cam’ron’s “Oh Boy,” and Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit C” were all recorded in the space.
Detailing his initial encounters with Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco remembered travelling in different circles while still aspiring artists in Chicago.
“I never met him through any Chicago connections,” he said. “He was always in a different world. He was in a Hyde Park, Common, backpacker world. We was more in like the streets world.
“Anyway, he was in that piece,” he continued. “We were more over here. But in Chicago it’s a very small city. Doing different events you bump into people. We never really clicked up tough until maybe ‘Touch The Sky.’ That was even through my partner. I didn’t even wanna do ‘Touch The Sky.’ I didn’t wanna do that. That wasn’t my piece. It was like, ‘I’m over here, I don’t do that.’ My partner was like, ‘Nah, you gotta trust me. You gotta do this.’ Then from there on we kind of clicked up and kept it moving up until this day.”
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