As part of the monthlong Red Bull Music Festival in Chicago, No I.D. sat down with music journalist Andrew Barber to discuss the highlights of his prolific career. The hitmaker dropped plenty of gems during the interview; however, the most interesting involved his frequent collaborator and fellow Chicagoan Kanye.
No I.D. revealed he had developed a relationship with Roc-A-Fella in the mid-1990s, around the time JAY-Z released his debut album, Reasonable Doubt. The producer said that soon after he contributed to Hov's Blueprint 2 project, the imprint offered him a production deal.
"I just didn't like the paperwork," he said, according to Billboard. "I had worked all these years so I wanted my money now. It was me, Bink, Just Blaze, and Kanye. And me and Bink were like, we don't like this business."
He said all four producers were to be collectively called "Roc the World"—a name they were credited with on Beanie Sigel's 2001 album The Reason.
"But we all looked at the paperwork and Just Blaze and Ye were like 'Alright. I don't care. Whatever. We're down." And me and Bink were like 'Nah,'" No I.D. recalled. "It was funny because there were certain people after that happened that we're like 'You blew it. It's over. You're a dummy.' Because Roc-A-Fella explodes. But I had put much blood sweat and tears in before that to just be cool and accepted."
No I.D. also revealed he had managed Kanye's early career, but had to step down from the position because he couldn't handle the rapper's big personality.
"I remember a meeting with Columbia Records. He told [then-label chairman] Donnie Ienner, 'I'm going to be the next Michael Jackson.' And they were like 'OK then. Have a good day.' We came in a limo and left in a taxi," the producer said. "I remember I got home and I was playing a video game with Peter King, cause we were co-managing him at the time, and I was like, 'I don't think I could manage Kanye [...]' I'm a realist. It wasn't what I could make off him. I just couldn't handle him. I'd go crazy. I figured I'd just help him and get nothing. And that's what preserved our relationship over those years. I never really asked for anything. I just helped."
No I.D. said his support for Kanye resulted in one of the rapper's biggest albums: 2008's 808s & Heartbreaks. The producer told Barber the friendship weakened as 'Ye's fame increased; however, shortly after Kanye's mom had died, No. I.D. was encouraged to reach out.
"I literally reconnected our relationship non-musically and we just started talking more," he said. "One day we saw each other and he's like, 'I'm about to go to Hawaii and do some beats with Jay. Want to come work together?' So we fly to Hawaii and we're really there to work for Jay for Blueprint 3, but it wasn't until we made 'Heartless' that Kanye’s like, 'Nah, I'm doing my album now.' And that was how 808s & Heartbreak came into play."
You can read other highlights from No. I.D.'s sit-down on Billboard's website.