Kareem “Biggs” Burke founded Roc-A-Fella Records alongside his far more high profile partners Jay Z and Dame Dash.
Biggs did an interview with Rap Radar earlier this week in which he spoke on how one of the label’s most famous artists — Kanye West — was almost dropped before he dropped his legendary debut album, The College Dropout.
Apparently executives at the label’s distributor Def Jam just didn’t believe in ‘Ye.
“Me and Kanye would have long, long, long conversations,” Burke said. “And you know, he had the idea for the next two or three albums after [The College Dropout]. So, I seen the genius of what he was trying to create. So, I would actually go back and talk to Dame. And Dame was just being at the forefront and would go argue with Lyor [Cohen]. Lyor didn’t believe in him at the time. They wanted to drop Kanye and the Young Gunz. They was like, ‘Take ’em some place else.’ And then we went to Capitol. And they was, you know, we thought they was kind of idiots at the time. We was like, ‘We might as well keep it over here at Def Jam’ and that’s how he ended up staying there.”
Part of Cohen & Co’s hesitation was that ‘Through The Wire’ — which would become The College Dropout‘s lead single — hadn’t taken off like they thought it should have.
Time would cure that, and the rest is history.
Do you think Kanye would have survived getting the boot from Roc-A-Fella and Def Jam? Or would it have ultimately left him crazy and Kardashian-less?