Jay-Z Won't Let Ne-Yo Live Down Giving "Let Me Love You" Away To Mario

Ne-Yo penned the hit song before signing with Def Jam in 2005.

BYHayley Hynes
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Ne-Yo has given us no shortage of hits throughout his career, from "Miss Independent" and "So Sick" to "She Knows" and "Time of Our Lives." Even with all that he's achieved, the R&B singer says that Jay-Z still won't let him live down his decision to give 2004's "Let Me Love You" to Mario. Ne-Yo reflected on the hit song during his appearance on Shannon Sharpe's Club Shay Shay podcast, revealing that Hov gives him hell to this day about not keeping the single for himself.

As the 43-year-old tells it, he was primarily working as a songwriter prior to signing with Def Jam Records in 2005. Because he wasn't focused on a career as a vocalist at the time, he happily passed "Let Me Love You" off to another artist. "So this song goes on and stays at number one for 12 or 13 weeks, something like that, becomes one of the most played songs in radio history," Ne-Yo said of Mario's work. "The first time I got to meet Jay-Z, I’d been signed for a couple of months at this point. I walk into the room and he’s in there," his story continued.

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Ne-Yo Reflects on "Let Me Love You"

"It’s in L.A. Reid’s office. I walk in, ‘Hey it’s nice to meet you.’ He's like, ‘Man, why you give that damn song away?’ Nice to meet you too bruh, cool. I’m Ne-Yo," the Arkansas native joked. "To this day, he yell at me about giving that damn song away. But I was just a songwriter when I wrote it, I didn’t write it for myself." After listening to his guest's story, Sharpe asked Ne-Yo if he believes he could've outdone Mario's version of the song.

The father of five gave his contemporary his flowers, saying, "I'll be the first to tell you that Mario got chops that I don't." However, because he knows he's got chops of his own, he "feels like it would've worked out either way." Do you think Ne-Yo could've found more success by keeping "Let Me Love You" for himself? Let us know in the comments, and check back later for more music/pop culture news updates.

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About The Author
Hayley Hynes is the former Weekend Managing Editor of HotNewHipHop, she stepped down after two years in 2024 to pursue other creative opportunities but remains on staff part-time to cover music, gossip, and pop culture news. Currently, she contributes similar content on Blavity and 21Ninety, as well as on her personal blog where she also offers tarot/astrology services. Hayley resides on the western side of Canada, previously spending a year in Vancouver to study Fashion Marketing at Blanche Macdonald Centre and Journalism at Mount Royal University in Calgary before that. She's passionate about helping others heal through storytelling, and shares much more about her life on Instagram @hayleyhynes.