Memphis Bleek, former Roc-A-Fella rapper and protégé of JAY-Z, recently unveiled a surprising revelation during an appearance on the popular podcast, Drink Champs.
He disclosed that he had the opportunity to play the lead role in the 2002 film Drumline, a role that eventually catapulted Nick Cannon to stardom. Bleek further revealed that JAY-Z was quite disappointed when he declined the offer.
Speaking candidly on the show, Memphis Bleek expressed his regrets about turning down the Drumline role, admitting that he would have accepted it had he known how significant it would become.
He shared his apprehension at the time, as his music career had just started gaining momentum, and he was concerned about potentially jeopardizing it.
“Oh, man. If I could go back — y’all n-ggas don’t know this, I never told this story. I turned down Drumline. He wanted me to do it and everything, and I was scared. He [Chris Robinson, director] wanted to put me in acting school and all that, and I was afraid. Remember, my career had just started working, and I’m saying to myself, ‘I’ll do this movie as a drummer, and then it doesn’t work, how am I gonna go back to the hood and tell n-ggas we out here getting this money, we real n-ggas?’” Bleek said.
He added, “You know what’s so ill? Me and Nick [Cannon] had the same management […] Nick wanted to be a rapper, so he used to be in Marcy with me back in the day. And Nick took the role, and here we are.”
Memphis Bleek revealed that JAY-Z was extremely disappointed with his decision and even offered to pay for acting classes to help him prepare for such opportunities in the future.
Despite this, Bleek remained dedicated to his music career at the time, emphasizing that hip-hop had saved his life, and he didn’t want to risk undermining it.
Interestingly, Memphis Bleek wasn’t the only rapper offered the role in Drumline. In January, T.I. revealed that he, too, had the opportunity to play the lead role but declined because he didn’t want to learn how to play the drums.