Is there anything you would have done differently?
Low point, selling my ownership in Def Jam a little early for not as much money. I was one of the owners of Def Jam. I wasn't just an artist. Russell gave me equity in the company. I sold the equity in the company at a certain point and I got a lot of money. But they held it a little longer and got even more. [Laughs]. That was not a fun time for me. Russell was very fair with me coming up in the business. I had 50 percent of my publishing out of the gate, and I had 100 percent of my publishing by the time I was in the game, five, six years. I really was treated well. I got so much success in other areas because of what I was doing there. It all balanced out.
Is there one album that you consider your best body of work, one that embodies who you are?
I don't think so. I could tell you maybe the All World: Greatest Hits record, but that would be because it's a slice from all of the records. They all had hits on them. Music is a funny thing. Think about how many artists people discovered--painters--300, 400, 500 years later, because the world has caught up to the vision. Whether it's a sketch or sculpture, it's all part of it. Some people appreciate certain parts of it more than others. I think the body of work is the body of work. The highs and commercial success doesn't necessarily equal your artistic output.
Your Golden Era is rife with beef, including one with Kool Moe Dee, at the beginning of your career. Do you regret that at all?
I don't regret it. It's what I knew to do. You can only make decisions based on the level of thinking you have. It was fun. It was a beautiful time. Those were my Vince Lombardi moments. It's not always going to be a cakewalk. Maybe I could have put more energy into doing something else instead of thinking about him. You could say that. But okay, I wasn't that smart. So that's not where I was at with it. [Laughs]
Did any of those artists you beefed with get under your skin?