Record Executives Thought Jay-Z Was No Good

By Gigi Abrantes

Since he first dropped his debut album in 1996, Jay-Z became an instant classic on the hip-hop scene. Now that he is about to drop his 11th album The Blueprint 3, MTV News takes a look back at the history of one of the greatest artists in rap history with The J to Z of Jay-Z.

In 1989, Jay-Z made his music video debut dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and adorned with floral leis on the Jaz's "Hawaiian Sophie." Still relatively unknown in the rap game, the fresh-faced young rapper was Jaz-O's protégé and hype man dropping in and out of the video to deliver short one-liners while the Polynesian sounds of a ukulele flowed in the background. It's a far cry from the dramatic street hustles in his first solo video "Dead Presidents" or the futurist darkness of his latest "Run This Town," but every hustler needs a starting point. And "Sophie" was Jigga's introduction to the world of commercial hip-hop.


It's hard to believe that the talented lyricist who brought us the quick and hard "22 Two's" (from his debut Reasonable Doubt) started off on a track like the easy-going "Sophie," but Jay-Z has actually been writing rhymes since he was nine years old. While it was just a hobby for him at the time, the quick-witted Shawn Carter found rapping to be a natural gift. So it's even harder to believe that A&Rs actually thought Hova was terrible when he first sought a record deal.