As well as being a lyricist and 1990s legend, Nas is also a prominent figure in the music industry and has his own label. However, in 2010, Detroit artist Danny Brown rejected the Illmatic creator (real name Nasir Jones) when he attempted to sign him.
Before signing with Warp Records, the British label that boasts experimental acts like Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and Boards of Canada in 2016, Danny Brown (real name Daniel Sewell), the Detroit lyricist, bounced around many different labels.
In 2010, following his collaborative album Hawaiian Snow alongside G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo, Brown was approached by 50 Cent. However, he did not fit G-Unit’s gangster roster with his quirkiness and, as a result, did not end up on the label.
Many are under the assumption that Fifty was the only legend that approached him. However, in an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Sewell revealed that Nas tried to sign him to Mass Appeal Records before he joined the Brooklyn-based independent record label Fool’s Gold Records.
During his appearance on the podcast, Danny Brown spoke about Fifty’s offer and unveiled that, although 50 Cent is one of his favourite artists, G-Unit Records didn’t work for him or his brand. As a quirky, out-of-the-box performer, Sewell expressed that Fifty couldn’t understand him. However, he admitted that, concerning Nas money played a part.
Detailing his Mass Appeal offer, the Michigan rhymer explained, “[Nas] wanted to sign me to his label,” he said. “I didn’t sign to him because… money. The other contract was more money, man, and that’s what it is. But sometimes I think about that. Did I make a mistake? Just because the artist that I looked up to my entire life, that made me be a rapper, tried to sign me, and I didn’t sign with him — all because of money.”
Speaking about G-Unit, Sewell detailed, “It was a real thing. 50 was with it; he just didn’t sign me because of my jeans. He liked the music, but he didn’t like the way I looked. I understand where they were coming from with that, but you gotta understand where I’m coming from, too; I’m from Detroit.”
Following his five years at Fool’s Gold Records, Brown signed to Warp and revealed that it helped him greatly, telling Rogan, “[Warp] made me a better artist than what I actually am!” You can listen to Sewell and Joe Rogan speak in the video below.