20 Rappers Who Almost Signed To Other Labels

Jaz-O

Label They Almost Signed To: Roc-A-Fella
Label They Ended Up Signing To: N/A
Circa: 1996

Remember when a young high-top-faded and Hawaiian-shirt-clad Jay-Z was not so magically suspended in front of a painfully cheap backdrop? That was in Jaz-O’s video for "Hawaiian Sophie.” Jaz-O, commonly known as Big Jaz, is the producer behind “Ain’t No Nigga,” a beat that he famously made with a live rendering on drum pads instead of prerecording it. In the mid 1990s, Jay-Z offered Jaz a deal while he was preoccupied with getting Roc-A-Fella off of the ground, but Jaz was not impressed by the $300,000 offer.

Jay-Z sums up this encounter on "What We Talking About" when he rhymes: “Dame made millions, even Jaz made some scraps, he could've made more but he ain't sign his contract." Jaz claims that Jay-Z jacked his name and sound, so the two have had beef for years. Rumor has it that Jaz was even in Nas’ ear fueling him with vital Jay information (and disses) as he created "Ether.” Jay and Jaz teamed up for a few more songs so it looks the two were able to make amends.

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