Renowned rapper JAY-Z, known for his legendary music career, has opened up about his experiences with early music videos and his reluctance towards acting.
In a recent conversation with Complex, alongside other iconic figures such as Missy Elliott and DJ Khaled, JAY-Z shared his thoughts on working with legendary director Hype Williams.
When reminiscing about his early work with Hype, the Brooklyn native expressed his discomfort in watching himself from that era.
“Hype definitely has a vision for what he wants to see,” JAY-Z stated. “So he’d be like, ‘Yo, blow the smoke right here and this is gonna be crazy, it’s going to be bananas!’ But I don’t know if I was coachable as far as a performance at that time.
I don’t know if anyone could coach me, you know, because I was so guarded. I think about the early videos that I have and I listen to myself talking and it’s kind of hard for me to watch.”
“That’s not even how I speak. So I don’t know if he could coach my performance, but he definitely coached the scene and everything around it. And other people may have a different experience. I’m sure he coached Missy more or coached Busta more and you could get more out of them. I don’t know if he could get more out of us at that time. And then it was like 30 of us, and all we wanted to do is laugh.”
During the conversation, JAY-Z also admitted that his “guarded” nature has been a significant factor preventing him from pursuing a career in film and television, unlike many of his peers.
In response to the rumor that he was meant to play DMX’s character in Hype Williams’ 1998 movie “Belly,” JAY-Z clarified, “That’s a rumor. Because of how guarded I was, I hated acting. This is why I don’t act, because I would get in my way. I would be thinking, ‘No, I don’t wanna do something that I ain’t gonna look cool.’ But you know, I was young and immature. Or I was young mentally. You know, if you see our own movies, I was in for like 30 seconds and I wasn’t even speaking.”
Despite his reservations about acting, JAY-Z praised his former rival Nas, who made his acting debut alongside DMX in the cult classic “Belly.”
“I had no idea how Nas did that because I felt like he was in the same place as me. But he did it and he made it work,” he said. “But I never was meant to be in ‘Belly.’ I don’t even know where that came from.”