JAY-Z has turned down many collaboration requests in his career, but there’s one in particular that led to him missing out on a milestone achievement.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Ed Sheeran revealed that he tried to get Hov on his 2017 single “Shape of You,” but the Roc Nation boss declined as he didn’t think the dancehall/R&B track needed a rap verse.
“We were in touch,” the British pop star explained. “I sent him the song, and he said, ‘I don’t think the song needs a rap verse.’ He was probably right. He’s got a very, very good ear. He usually gets things right. It was a very natural, respectful pass.”
Despite JAY-Z’s assessment that “Shape of You” didn’t require any rap flavor, Ed Sheeran ended up recruiting U.K. rapper Stormzy to bless the official remix with a verse months later. (Stormzy would later reject a JAY-Z verse himself.)
Taken from Sheeran’s 2017 album ÷, “Shape of You” was by all accounts a smash hit. Not only did it earn the singer his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it’s the second most-streamed song in Spotify history with over 3.4 billion plays — closely trailing The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.”
“Shape of You” was certified diamond by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in January 2019, which would’ve handed JAY-Z his first ever diamond plaque had he jumped on the song.
Despite his distinguished, decades-long career, the closest Hov has come to tasting diamond success is his 2011 “N-ggas In Paris” collaboration with Kanye West, which is currently 9x platinum.
The Brooklyn mogul probably isn’t too bothered by the missed opportunity, though, as he recently saw his net worth soar to $2.5 billion, extending his lead as the richest rapper alive.
Hov was named the 1,203rd wealthiest person on the planet earlier in March after Forbes provided a “real time” update of his net worth, which is almost double the $1.4 billion he was reportedly worth last year.
The publication has yet to detail the reason behind the huge increase, but it’s most likely thanks to the recent sale of Jigga’s controlling stake in his D’USSÉ cognac brand, which Bacardi purchased for $750 million.