Former Roc-A-Fella Records rapper Young Chris recently reflected on his run at the now-defunct music empire and why he can cherish the past but must focus on the future.
Chris acknowledged how prepared he had to be during his early days at the Roc and being co-founder Jay Z‘s go-to artist.
“Of course [I miss it], but it’s history. What we did–that’s forever. When I was at Hot 97 earlier today, that’s all they was talking about. [They said], “Yo, nobody coming through and doing freestyles like y’all did.” I was 16, still going to high school, fresh off the block, and I get that text from Carling, who was Jay’s assistant at the time, and it said, “Be ready. Jay said come with y’all’s raps and come prepared.” I always [compare] us to the ’96 Chicago [Bulls], when Jordan and them were winning their rings. Everything was in-house; we didn’t go outside for nothing. If it wasn’t Roc-A-Fella, we wasn’t doing it. We had a hell of a run.” (XXL Mag)
The Young Gunz member also provided an update on his record label status.
“I was at Division One/Universal, and then Rico [Love] left Universal and the way my deal was structured, I was a free agent immediately. I waited about 10 [or] 12 months before I made a move and came over to E1. And I actually had a heart to heart with Rico, and he was 500 percent behind it. That’s why it took a little longer. I was ready to go. I got joints right now–had 14, 15 records. I was ready to bomb, but [Rico leaving Universal] put it dead. After that, it was like, if we’re dropping it, we’re just dropping it ourselves–it’s not really an official album. I was a free agent again, and we just had to wait for the best position. [My situation with E1] is a setup for another situation. As of right now, I’m just focused on this. E1 came up with the idea for an EP, and I agreed because I felt I had to create that awareness. It’s my first baby.” (XXL Mag)
Earlier this year, Chris revealed label complications forced him to seek a new home but promised his bond with longtime pal Rico Love would never change.
“They been asking where I’m at,” Chris said in a video. “Shout-out to Rico Love, the whole Division1 — the first deal was set up Division1 slash Universal. Rico had left Universal, so when he left I was automatically a free agent. I waited like six to eight months before I made a move. That’s my boy but, you know. I got distribution from eOne — and before I did it, I had a heart to heart with Rico and he was all in.” (HHS1987)
A few years ago, the Philadelphia native reflected on his decision to sign with Love and denied feeling any doubt before inking the deal.
“Nah, actually I wasn’t,” Chris said in an interview when asked if he was hesitant signing a deal with hitmaker Rico Love. “I thought it would be a good marriage from the gate because [of] how creative he is. Us together, like our chemistry, we bonded right away. I was excited about it. I wasn’t hesitant at all — He’s only one year older than me, so, we can hang out together, [go to the] strip club, do whatever we do. The records come out even better when the relationship is like that. That’s the only thing I was hesitant about, I gotta know him first. It was cool. It’s like my brother man. He definitely [taught] me things that he learned on the songwriting side of things or whatever. When it’s time to get melodic on records. He’s real good at that. That’s what he do. Even if you don’t teach it, you just learn. I’m a good learner from observing. I just sit back, watch and observe from the studio.” (You Heard That New)