Rap mogul Jay-Z talks about his most challenging duties as Def Jam president in 2005 and reveals his short-lived experience with therapy in the new Rolling Stone.
Jay also shares his admiration for genres of music outside rap
In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, contributing editor Mark Binelli goes one-on-one with the New York legend. “I love the energy coming out indie rock right now,” he says, name-checking Grizzly Bear. “It has this rebellion thing that hip-hop is missing now, the thing that made hip-hop hip-hop.” Binelli also encourages Jay to open up about his biggest challenges as president of Def Jam (the most frustrating meeting? “Honestly? All of them”) and his one and only experience in therapy, when as Binelli writes, “The psychiatrist gave him tea that made him sleepy and asked him questions like, ‘Who are your best friends?'” (Rolling Stone)
Last year, DMX said Jay’s run at Def Jam forced him to leave the label.
“I f*cks with him and had respect for him — until he became the president of Def Jam and I ain’t gonna say too much more about it, but you know what it is. There’s a difference between doing wrong and being wrong. There’s a difference between doing wrong and ‘being’ wrong, at one point you were ‘being’ wrong. N*ggas can’t do it like we could, n*ggas couldn’t do it like we could. N*ggas weren’t able to — we’re artists. Jay is a talented motherf*cker. Don’t misunderstand me. He is talented but he has no heart behind it. There’s no soul behind it. It’s motivated by money…But I still maintain the respect, because our birthday is in the same month and you know, we have history. But I lost it when he became president of Def Jam, that’s why I left Def Jam…When you became the president, you hit me ‘yo dog, the inmates is running the building!!!’ You know what that mean, your mans is in charge…That’s what it is, we good,’ ’cause we had history. And then you go do that. You come down, listen to my sh*t — we ready. Then you go on vacation. N*ggas take a picture of you with chancletas on. That’s what you leave the hood for, son? That’s why you walk out on your man for, son? Flip-flops? Serious? You serious? Real talk son, I respected you. I’m in my feelings about that. I’m hurt. I ain’t ever talk about that.” (Hip Hop Stan)
Fabolous previously spoke on his positive relationship with Jay as a Def Jam executive.
“[Him being Def Jam president] definitely influenced our relationship,” Fab said in an interview last summer. “Of course we had seen each other in passing of course throughout the years but now with him being president we developed a different kind of relationship, you know what I mean? An artist-to-president relationship and also an artist-to-artist relationship as well because we’ve collaborated twice since then, so I think it was dope. And I always been a fan of Jay’s music so it’s a good thing.” (Bootleg Kev)
Prior to leaving the label and beginning a new venture with touring company Live Nation in 2007, Hov had a two-year run as Def Jam president.
In 2005, Jay-Z signed an incentive-based contract to take over the storied hip-hop label, and in 2006, he returned from “retirement” to put out a new album, Kingdom Come. The project was met with mixed reviews but was best known for the controversies that surrounded it. Several artists who were signed to Def Jam voiced their displeasure that the president of the company was busy promoting and supporting his own album rather than helping to market works by other acts on the label. (MTV)
The new Rolling Stone will be released this month.
Check out DMX speaking on Jay-Z as Def Jam president below: