Lil Wayne has spent much of the last year and a half legally battling Birdman, attempting to get free of his Cash Money contract and recoup some of the millions he says he's owed, but it all could have gone differently if Wayne had signed with Roc-A-Fella Records around 2005.
At the time Wayne was considering leaving the home that made him after his deal with Cash Money ended, and Jay Z invited him up to New York City to see if he could convince the greatest rapper alive at the time to rock a Roc chain. As Lil Wayne recounts in this new interview with DJ Drama, the meeting didn't go well. After Wayne awkwardly stood around while Jay Z hung out with his famous buddies, Hova then pulled Weezy aside to offer him $175K for his services, a number that was laughably low for Weezy at the time.
First of all, he was at the 40/40 in the daytime, and when I got up there he was talking, it was Denzel [Washington], it was Derek Jeter. I was like, ‘This is his clique?’ And they up there just [fake] laughing at jokes I just don’t get. He literally sat me down next to him...That man offered me 175 [thousand dollars]. I said, ‘Believe that…’ I was looking like, two teeth in my mouth is 175, like two of them. My bottom teeth. So we laugh about that all the time. We joke about it all the time.”
It's hard to believe that Jay Z, the savvy businessman, could have so grossly miscalculated what it would take to get Wayne on board and have blown a potential deal so badly. Did he even really want to sign Weezy at all, or was this some sort of power move? Have Wayne come to his club, see him with his friends, and then show him just what he thought of him.
Who knows what was running through Hov's head at the time, maybe he just underestimated Wayne's worth, maybe he was playing chess and it just looks like checkers to an outsider. Whatever the case, Wayne chose to return to Cash Money, (allegedly) got screwed out of tens of millions of dollars and eventually ended up on Jay's team anyway, putting out his Free Weezy album via TIDAL; a move Birdman threatened to sue TIDAL over but never actually did.
Imagine if Jay had offered him some real cash. Imagine Wayne signs to Roc-A-Fella, does that label's fall still happen? Does Cash Money fold instead? Do we ever hear of Nicki Minaj and Drake? Do we get a Wayne album produced entirely by Kanye?
The hip-hop mind races...