Last week, Master P dropped a bombshell when he revealed that No Limit Records had passed on signing a number of hip-hop’s biggest stars, notably Eminem, Nas and T.I. He didn’t, however, go into specific details as to why his label decided to move in a different direction.
In a new interview with HipHopDX, former No Limit artist Silkk The Shocker explained that the reason why No Limit didn’t sign Eminem is because they weren't sure how to market a white rapper. It was a fairly new concept in the late ‘90s, one that No Limit didn't feel prepared to handle.
“We knew Eminem was super talented,” Silkk says. “We just didn’t know how to make that transition with a white rapper. But hey, we messed up on that one. We definitely was close to signing Eminem.”
Even though the Detroit native never signed on the dottled line for the New Orleans-based rap label, a collaborative effort between the two parties was discussed and started, but ultimately didn’t get finished. File this one away as a missed connection on Craigslist.
Another name Silkk revealed during the interview was India.Arie. Similar to the Eminem situation, Silkk says that No Limit didn’t know what to do with Arie either, but claims they were close to signing her as well.
All of these artists, including the aforementioned Nas and T.I., could have had the No Limit tank in full gear for many years to come. Who knows, No Limit might be the strongest label in hip-hop today had they been able to get the John Hancock of just two of the half dozen superstars that they passed over. But does Eminem become a legend without Dre and his beats? Would T.I. still usher in a new era for Atlanta riding in a tank?
These are the questions I ask myself before hitting the pillow every night.
[by Sermon, who wonders who else No Limit passed on. Follow him on Twitter.]