Joey Badass Reflects On JAY-Z Not Signing Him, His Acting Career & More

By Tony M. Centeno

August 18, 2022

Joey Bada$$ has known JAY-Z for a decade now, but the rapper-actor still wonders why the Roc Nation founder didn't sign him when he was a teenager.

On Thursday, August 18, the Brooklyn native paid a visit to The Breakfast Club to talk about everything from his acting career to his new album 2000. During their conversation, Charlamagne Tha God brings up the various references to JAY-Z on songs like "Make Me Feel." Joey says the bars were inspired, in part, by Hov's book DECODED and his first meeting with him about a potential record deal.

"Jay is like an idol of mine," Joey says. "I read his book DECODED and that line was inspiring by a piece in DECODED when he said he met with Russell Simmons for the first time. He details his experiences him remembering sitting at that table and looking at them and thinking to himself like 'Damn I don't want to be signed to these n****s, I want to be these n****s. So that was kind of the inspiration behind that line. You know, s**t didn't work out or whatever for whatever reason it didn't."

He continues by describing his first meeting with JAY-Z in the Roc Nation office back in 2012 when he was 17-years-old. At the time, he had just released his debut mixtape 1999, which helped put the rapper and his Pro Era crew on the map. According to Joey, the meeting went well but unfortunately he didn't get to sign to Hov's label. The All-AmeriKKKan Bada$$ rapper doesn't know why his deal never manifested, and still thinks about asking JAY-Z about it to this day.

"I always see him now and I be wanting to have that conversation, but the time," Joey says. "I feel like the time never permits like where we at. I was so young at the time and to me there was no reason not to sign to JAY-Z. But there was other factors involved and shit like that so I'm not really sure what exactly happened like if the communications channels was like sabotaged or something like that. I don't know."

Later on in the conversation, Joey Bada$$ details the constant battle between his reputation as a rapper and his budding career as an actor. After starring in Hulu's Wu-Tang: An American Saga and Starz' Power Book III: Raising Kanan, Joey discusses how he's able to maintain both identities. See what he's got to say about it below and watch the entire interview up top.

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