Nipsey Hussle almost signed to Atlantic Records under Jeezy.
The Atlanta rap veteran revealed that he tried to sign the late Crenshaw rapper to the label during his tenure as senior vice president of A&R. In an interview with T.I.’s “ExpediTIously” podcast, Jeezy claimed that he was close to getting the deal done but it was thwarted because of his issues with Rick Ross.
Jeezy, who was appointed SVP of A&R at Atlantic in 2012, recalled a phone call he had with Warner Music Group’s then-CEO Lyor Cohen, who told him that he couldn’t sign Nipsey because of his beef with Ross, whose Maybach Music Group was under WMG.
“He says to me, ‘Jeezy, I know you almost got this Nipsey deal done. I want to do it for you, but the problem is…’” he said while quoting Lyor.
“‘Ross has interest in Nipsey as well, so I can’t let you sign Nipsey to the label because you and Ross are not seeing eye to eye. You guys are not getting along right now so I feel it would be unfair to let you sign him to the label.’”
However, a few months later, Jeezy said Nipsey signed to Atlantic without his knowledge. “A few months go by, them took Nipsey back over there and he signed him behind my back. I don’t even know he’s signed to Atlantic Records.”
He later met with Nipsey, who told him that he had been signed to Atlantic for “like four months” but was waiting to make the official announcement alongside his album Victory Lap. In 2017, Nipsey announced a joint venture with Atlantic, which included a multi-album deal and partnership with his All Money In imprint.
“It took him almost a year to drop Victory Lap, so he held the information for a whole year,” said Jeezy. “But they went right back behind me and signed Nipsey but told me I couldn’t sign Nipsey because me and Ross was not seeing eye to eye.”
Jeezy said he learned a lesson from that experience and realized how his personal beef was getting in the way of business. “And I just remember then the power that we give them when we ain’t on the same page,” he added.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jeezy and Tip also reflected on resolving their long-running feud with Gucci Mane. “It gotta really be a convo,” said Jeezy. “It’s been decades.”