Russell Simmons Passed On Signing Nas
Hip-hop history is filled with missed opportunities and almost moments. Kanye was going to sign to Capitol Records, Game was going to sign to Bad Boy, and Eminem was looking to sign to an underground label before Dr. Dre came calling. Turns out the same is true for Nas.
Nasty was going to sign to his current label Def Jam back in the early '90s but Russell Simmons passed on him because he feared the album would be a commercial flop. In retrospect, it might seem like it was a short-sighted decision but Russell was right; Illmatic failed to go gold in it’s first year.
Nas later recounted the entire situation on the song "Surviving The Times" where he said he was compared to Kool G Rap, "Russell said I sounded like G, the nigga fronted."