JAY-Z has some legendary music videos under his belt, but not all of them are that easy for him to revisit.
Hov recently spoke with Complex alongside other greats like Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled and more to recount their experience working with legendary director Hype Williams. While recalling some of his earlier work with Hype, the Brooklyn native said he sees a whole different version of himself when he looks back – and he’s not the biggest fan.
“Hype definitely has a vision for what he wants to see,” Hov said. “So he’d be like, ‘Yo, blow the smoke right here and this is gonna be crazy, it’s going to be bananas!’ But I don’t know if I was coachable as far as a performance at that time. I don’t know if anyone could coach me, you know, because I was so guarded. I think about the early videos that I have and I listen to myself talking and it’s kind of hard for me to watch.”
He continued: “That’s not even how I speak. So I don’t know if he could coach my performance, but he definitely coached the scene and everything around it. And other people may have a different experience.
“I’m sure he coached Missy more or coached Busta more and you could get more out of them. I don’t know if he could get more out of us at that time. And then it was like 30 of us and all we wanted to do is laugh.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, JAY-Z admitted that his “guarded” nature has long kept him from pursuing a career in film and TV like his peers.
When asked about the rumor that he was supposed to play DMX‘s character in Williams’ 1998 movie Belly, Hov explained: “That’s a rumor. Because of how guarded I was, I hated acting. This is why I don’t act, because I would get in my way. I would be thinking, ‘No, I don’t wanna do something that I ain’t gonna look cool.’
“But you know, I was young and immature. Or I was young mentally. You know, if you see our own movies, I was in for like 30 seconds and I wasn’t even speaking.”
Despite his aversion to acting, JAY-Z had high praise for his former foe Nas, who made his acting debut alongside DMX in Hype Williams’ hood classic.
“I had no idea how Nas did that because I felt like he was in the same place as me. But he did it and he made it work,” he told Complex. “But I never was meant to be in Belly. I don’t even know where that came from.”