Brooklyn icon Jay-Z has signed many artists during his time. From Rihanna to J Cole and more, he has an eye for talent, and thousands would love the opportunity to freestyle for the Roc-A-Fella legend. However, one emcee nearly missed their scheduled meeting with Jay-Z.
During the late-1990s, Kansas City artist Tech N9ne was given the opportunity to freestyle for Hov (real name Shawn Carter), but it nearly didn’t happen. In an interview with radio personality Sway Calloway for HipHopDX’s Hack3d series, Tech 9ne recalled when he first met Jay-Z.
Giving context to the listeners, Sway detailed, “One time, Tech N9ne came up to our show, me and King Tech, the world-famous Wake-Up Show, and our show used to be on every Saturday night on 92.3 The Beat FM…Our mission was to put people who were incredibly talented on large platforms like ours. [But] these dudes flew all the way to LA, and they went to Universal Studios… these dudes went to CityWalk.”
Calloway unveiled how, when they found out Tech 9ne was in LA, they screamed over the airwaves for the Kansas City rapper to make his way to the radio building. The emcee then unveiled, “So guess what? They called me, and I forgot who was down there, whether it was Jay-Z or something, they were like, ‘You gotta get down here.’ I said man, ‘I’m at the movies.’ They said, ‘Forget that movie.’ We left the movie and went straight down to The Wake-Up Show, man.”
What Tech 9ne didn’t know is that as he begrudgingly made his way to the studio from the movie theatre, Calloway had managed to keep their guest, Jay-Z, in the building to meet him.
Calloway explained, “We held Jay-Z up for a long time, like we was stalling. At that time, we really wanted Jay to hear Tech N9ne … We were tryna help get his star, you know, make sure we gon’ put him up next to Jay. What we wanted to happen was we wanted him to rap next to Jay-Z.”
Tech 9ne eventually made it to the station and rapped in front of Jay-Z, who responded, “Oh, alright, okay, you got something there. Alright, yeah, alright, it’s the Roc.” Although Tech 9ne never signed with Roc-a-Fella, he ended up with a placement alongside the likes of N.E.R.D., Kelis, Talib Kweli and The Roots on the Sprite Liquid Mix Tour. You can hear Tech 9ne and Calloway speak in the video below.