Jay-Z Reveals He Boycotted the Grammys Because They Dissed DMX
The rapper and mogul opened up about his relationship with the late MC alongside LeBron James on HBO’s ‘The Shop: Uninterrupted.’
HBO had a very busy Friday night. Not only did it mark the return of Bill Maher to Real Time after a two-week hiatus owing to his positive COVID-19 diagnosis, but also the fourth season premiere of The Shop: Uninterrupted, the barbershop-set talk show from childhood friends turned business partners LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
Joining the living NBA legend and businessman were musician Bad Bunny, WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike, SpringHill CMO (and The Shop co-creator) Paul Rivera, and last but certainly not least, hip-hop icon Jay-Z.
Toward the end of their chat, Rivera asked Jay-Z about the late DMX, who passed away last month at the age of 50. Jay-Z then revealed that he boycotted the 1999 Grammy Awards—where he won Best Rap Album for Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life—because they failed to so much as nominate DMX, who’d released two spellbinding No. 1 albums the previous year: It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.
“By the way, the first time I boycotted the Grammys was for [DMX]. We both came out that year, he didn’t get nominated,” said Jay-Z. “He dropped two albums—had two No. 1 albums in the same year—they didn’t even nominate him. I won that year for Rap Album, so my first Grammy win I wasn’t there. I wasn’t even in the building, because I boycotted it for him. There was a competitive thing, but it was big love.”
Jay-Z explained how the two first met while battle rapping in a Bronx pool hall, and that watching DMX perform on The Hard Knock Life Tour made him up his game considerably.
“My fondest memory of DMX is: he improved my stage show,” recalled Jay-Z. “The lights are off. He’s in the hallway. It goes dun-dun. Now, the arena’s shaking, and I’m like, this is cool. Dun-dun. Then he goes grrrrr, and the fuckin’ arena goes crazy. It’s deafening, and I’m like, ‘Oh, shit.’”
“He’s running back and forth… Halfway through the show, then he takes his shirt off… the dog chain is drippin’, and he’s going nuts, and I’m like, ‘Shit.’ This is halfway through,” Jay-Z continued. “First the guys were going crazy, now the girls were going crazy. Then he gets to the end, and he starts a prayer. And now they’re crying. The whole arena is crying tears. And they’re like, ‘Hey… now you go.’”