Artists signing under rappers is hardly a new phenomenon, but as more artists look to build a team, SOHH asked Young Jeezy‘s protege 2Eleven if there was any concern that his project would be overshadowed by his boss’ star power.
2Eleven told SOHH that he never second-guessed signing under Jeezy’s CTE imprint.
“There was never any hesitation because when I came to the team I never looked at is as me being under another artist. You gotta imagine: I was still in the streets at the time, doing this and doing that. I really didn’t know too many rappers … I knew a couple of n*ggas but I ain’t really know n*ggas like that. Jeezy embraced me and my music and I saw him as a big homie or a big brother. As far as coming into the game and understanding the industry, it never really dawned to me until afterward and even then, signing under a rapper ain’t do nothing to me but add motivation. It’s like friendly competition. Jeezy’s music is so hard and so dope, he’s one of the realest n*ggas in the game so I try to keep up with that, you know? I ain’t got no problems with it.” (SOHH)
The West Coast rapper added that his appreciation of Jeezy’s work existed before being signed, as he recounted how the pair met.
“I was already f*ckin’ around in Atlanta before I met dude. When I came to Atlanta, he had the whole city on lock, so comin’ from outta town you knew who he was … my first night in Atlanta, I went to five clubs in one night and every spot we went to, a different Jeezy song came on. When he came out to L.A. they were passing out Trap or Die CD’s and I was ridin’ to that sh*t, then I met that n*gga three months later through my homie.” (SOHH)
French Montana revealed he would bypass signing under rappers Kanye West and Rick Ross, instead choosing to become a part of Bad Boy, run by mogul/rapper Diddy, who told Flex that Bad Boy was still the place for artists to shine.
“Whenever an artist was signed to me, they always did better with me than any other place they felt they wanted to go where the grass was greener. I’ve always had a saying that if you don’t want to be with Bad Boy, I’ll let you out.,” Diddy told Funkmaster Flex. “The life expectancy of this game, this is a real grown-up game, and because people have known and grown-up with the label, they’ll ask questions like, ‘Where is this artist? Where is that artist?’ But they don’t ask any other labels that question. None of the artists on Def Jam [from years ago] are still on Def Jam. … There’s not even a Roc-A-Fella anymore or Ruff Ryders or whatever it is. We’ve stood the test of time and when an artist was signed with us, they had their most earnings and the most success they’ve ever had.” (Hot 97)
Last February, Lil Kim addressed claims that she would be joining the Jay-Z led imprint Roc Nation. The Queen B said that although she was friends with Hov, rumors of her joining RN were untrue.
“I did get offers from representatives from Roc Nation and I did get phone calls from representatives from Roc Nation. A couple representatives from Def Jam had also reached out to me. I think they’re both amazing companies and I think it would’ve been brilliant for me and Jay to collaborate and team up together. However it just didn’t pan out like that. Not to say that something with me and Jay can’t happen in the future, but I doubt if Jay-Z or Roc Nation will be a part of my upcoming album. He and I are really good friends. We both were excited about the idea of us collaborating and maybe me signing with Roc Nation. I think Jay-Z is letting me be Kim at this moment. I think he feels that I deserve to be Kim and also to have everything that… It’s hard for record companies to sign females these days and give them exactly what they want and need. I understand that. It’s a different world out there.” (Rap-Up)
Chevy Woods told SOHH that signing to friend and fellow rapper Wiz Khalifa would not be a conflict of interest as the Taylor Gang prides themselves on maintaining a sense of individuality with all their artists.
“The Taylor Gang is one gang, but we’re all different. No one is trying to be other other. All of us do little things to spread their message to the world. Each Taylor Gang member is good with the lane of music they’re doing … we can jump into each others lane and make it work. As far as what I want to get out the game, I’m not looking for a big pot of gold or a certain amount of money or none of that sh**. I’m just lookin’ for the respect and the love.” (SOHH)
Check out a 2Eleven track featuring fellow CTE rapper Freddie Gibbs below: