Nas & DMX were ultimately cast at the film's leads.
Hype Williams revealed some interesting details about his beloved film Belly during a panel at ComplexCon on Sunday, November 4. The director celebrated the 1998 release's 20th anniversary with some of the production's cast members, reminiscing with T-Boz, and Nas. As the discussion trailed down memories that had yet to be shared with the public, the famed filmmaker revealed how Jay-Z was considered for a role in the classic movie.
Hov could have played Tommy "Buns" Bundy as Nas' co-star. DMX ultimately claimed the part. Had he not been able to work on the film, Jay would have been tagged to fill in. Williams explained how their existing working relationship was a factor in his consideration.
"Back in time remember Hov didn’t pop yet. He wasn’t JAY Z, he was Jay Z, and if you know him, Hov is a real hustler. He comes from a real place. We were working with Def Jam and it was logical for it to be him."
Jay-z was still part of the project in another way by appearing on two songs that made the cut on Belly's soundtrack. His features can be heard on Sauce Money's "Pre-Game" and Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek's "Crew Love."