Kendrick Lamar was signed to Def Jam before his career blew up, and now he reflects on that time.
Kendrick Lamar was interview by Devi Dev for MTV’s new show Hip Hop POV, and he spoke on the brief period of time during which he was signed to Def Jam.
Kendrick spoke on seeing Jay-Z in the Def Jam offices when he was seventeen years old, “I don’t think even Jay remember that. This was when I was like first turned 17,” Kendrick said, “And I remember coming out here for a meeting and I was too excited man. And all I remember was Jay walking in the room, ‘Yo, what’s up?’ And walked back to the elevator and we was like ‘Damn, that’s Jay.’ So he doubles back, goes back to his office next door and he’s playing my music. Put me in the studio and that was just one of those situations where I wasn’t ready.”
He continued to discuss his love for West Coast rap, saying he didn’t actually listen to Jay-Z until 2000, “I grew up on nothing but West Coast music. When I started writing I had to go back and listen to Biggie and listen to Nas. As big as Jay-Z was I wasn’t listening to Jay-Z in ‘96. I had to go all the way to 2000 before I started listening to Jay.”