Hype Williams Says JAY-Z’s Name Popped Up During ‘Belly’s Casting

Movies & TV

During a panel at ComplexCon on Sunday (Nov. 4), famed director/filmmaker Hype Williams shared a surprising tidbit on his film Belly. The cinematic excursion was released in 1998 and celebrated its 20 year anniversary over the weekend. Starring DMX as Tommy “Buns” Bundy and Nas as Sincere, the plot follows the catastrophic web of drugs and money that spans from New York City to Jamaica.

While discussing the movie alongside co-stars T-Boz and Nas, Williams said JAY-Z was considered for one of the starring roles. If DMX were unable to play the troubled Tommy, Williams revealed JAY-Z would’ve been a viable option.

“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,” Williams said. “He comes from a real place. We were working with Def Jam and it was logical for it to be him.” Still, JAY-Z’s name was attached to Belly when two songs were featured on its soundtrack. Alongside Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek on “Crew Love” and “Sauce Money’s “Pre-Game,” the entertainment mogul’s moniker still found its way to the project’s final creation.

Def Jam also tweeted a thread of facts on Twitter to commemorate the movie’s anniversary.

Belly starred Method Man, Taral Hicks, Louie Rankin, Ghostface Killah, AZ and more. It was co-written by Nas and Williams.