Canibus Recalls Jay-Z Quietly Warning Him Of The Music Industry Early In His Career

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Wyclef Jean In Concert - New York City
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Canibus attends Wyclef Jean In Concert at Sony Hall on September 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Canibus reveals that Jay-Z subtly warned him of the music industry early in his career.

Canibus’ contributions to the rap game don’t always get the right recognition, partially because he left the music industry behind for a while. Throughout the course of his career, he traded bars with the best of them and proved to be a formidable MC in his own right. However, being a tight MC doesn’t always amount to becoming a powerful force within the music industry. Over time, we’ve witnessed some of the nicest rappers to grace a mic get shoved to the sidelines due to the politics of the music industry. 

For Canibus, he emerged under Wyclef Jean’s wing, who produced some of his biggest hits. “Second Round K.O.,” a diss track towards LL Cool J, became his only charting hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, Canibus later fell out with Wyclef Jean, which seemingly began a decline in his career. Regardless, Wyclef Jean undoubtedly opened many doors for Canibus afterward, including exclusive invitations to restaurant openings and events where he rubbed shoulders with revered artists and celebrities.

What Did Jay-Z Tell Canibus?

During a recently appearance on Nems’ Outside with Gorilla Nems, Canibus shared details surrounding a brief run-in with Jay-Z, who subtly provided him with early gems in his career. The two attended Diddy’s opening of Justin’s in 1997 when Hov approached him. “He says, ‘Yo Canibus, man… I like yo shit. You ready for what this game about to do to you?’ Real cool,” he recalled. “And me being young and ignorant, I said, ‘Hell yeah I’m ready!'”

The conversation was cut short after Wyclef told him they needed to go to the studio. However, he later realized what Jay-Z was asking him, though he missed the opportunity to form a strong connection with the Roc-A-Fella co-founder. “I’m not realizing that this is a multi-billion dollar enterprise and industry and that there’s a chain of command involved,” he continued. “It’s not just how good you can rap. Them Triple OGs, they knew that I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. They knew all I could do is just rap.” At the time, he said he was more focused on gaining respect as a rapper rather than becoming a mogul. Check the clip above. 

About The Author
Aron A. is a features editor for HotNewHipHop. Beginning his tenure at HotNewHipHop in July 2017, he has comprehensively documented the biggest stories in the culture over the past few years. Throughout his time, Aron’s helped introduce a number of buzzing up-and-coming artists to our audience, identifying regional trends and highlighting hip-hop from across the globe. As a Canadian-based music journalist, he has also made a concerted effort to put spotlights on artists hailing from North of the border as part of Rise & Grind, the weekly interview series that he created and launched in 2021. Aron also broke a number of stories through his extensive interviews with beloved figures in the culture. These include industry vets (Quality Control co-founder Kevin "Coach K" Lee, Wayno Clark), definitive producers (DJ Paul, Hit-Boy, Zaytoven), cultural disruptors (Soulja Boy), lyrical heavyweights (Pusha T, Styles P, Danny Brown), cultural pioneers (Dapper Dan, Big Daddy Kane), and the next generation of stars (Lil Durk, Latto, Fivio Foreign, Denzel Curry). Aron also penned cover stories with the likes of Rick Ross, Central Cee, Moneybagg Yo, Vince Staples, and Bobby Shmurda.