So what does Jay think about your recent moves?
When I told him he said people are going to respect you for that. As a man you have to do what you have to do. When I look at Jay, he’s building something new. We were on Roc-A-Fella, but that’s dead now. It’s like, come on…how long can I be putting stones in Jay’s mansion? What, are we going to build you mansion until it has 100,000 rooms [laughs]? And my crib still has one bedroom? I have to start putting stones in my house. And Jay has been all the way with it.
From “Resevior Dogs” to “1-900 Hustler” Roc-A-Fella made a reputation for having some of the best posse cuts of that era. What would you say was your best moment as an MC rhyming on those crew tracks?
I would say Amil’s “For Da Fam.” Me, Jay, Amil and Beanie Sigel…when they played that beat in the studio I was like “I’m going to destroy this!” I didn’t care what anyone said next, they better say something dope.
“Diggy is being chauffeured around in Phantoms [laughs]. I was ducking bullets in Marcy Projects when I was his age.”
A few weeks ago, Dame Dash made the interesting claim that he is re-starting Roc-A-Fella Records. When was the last time you spoke to him?
I haven’t spoken to Dame since I saw him in London a while back. Like I tell everybody, man, my feelings for Dame has never changed. He’s never done anything wrong to me. He never took any food out of my mouth. My son eats the same way everyday. He’s never done anything to me to say, “Damn, I hate that nigga.” That’s the same for Beanie [Sigel]. Those are my dudes. They saw me grow up, so I can’t say anything bad about them. That’s cowardice.
You were 17 years old when you appeared on Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt so you know what it means to be a teenager coming into the rap game. Do you see a lot of yourself in a youthful MC like Diggy Simmons?
Actually, I do. But times have changed. Diggy is being chauffeured around in Phantoms [laughs]. I was ducking bullets in Marcy Projects when I was his age. There were gunshots going off coming home from school. I didn’t get picked up in the Phantom, but I got picked up by the cheese bus, and you couldn’t get on that because people thought you were a little crazy. But I like what Diggy is doing. I can let my son listen to him. He’s talking that young fly shit. When you hear him he’s going to be talking about the latest PS3 and the Nintendo Wii game.
Jay-Z is set to co-headline two shows with Eminem in New York and Detroit in September. Has he given you any details about those shows given your part-time gig as his hype man extraordinaire?
I’m going to keep it real. I usually don’t get any phone calls from Jay when it’s time for shows. I just get an email with an itinerary. Right now, we are supposed to start the overseas tour June 2. Jay is all the way in the South of France at the Cannes Film Festival. I just got my flight information from somebody else that I leave June 2 [laughs]. Crazy, right?