Relationships might be worth more than money, especially for hip-hop billionaire Jay-Z.
“It’s actually always been mostly relationships. Sometimes it’s talent, and sometimes someone asks me to be on some. Pretty much every song that I am on — I am asked to be. I don’t ask people to be on their songs, and I never charge,” Jay-Z said during an episode of Kevin Hart’s “Hart to Heart” talk show on Peacock in 2022.
Artists continue to verify that this is true by recalling their experiences.
Jay-Z recently made headlines for once refusing a $100,000 feature payment while working with fellow rapper Silkk The Shocker, according to VIBE.
“Our relationship was dope because … when I did the song with him … I thought I had a budget for him,” Silkk The Shocker said during his interview with Art of Dialogue. “I was like, ‘Yo, I got a hundred racks’ — that’s a lot of money back in the day, too … I’m sure he could’ve used the extra $100,000; who ain’t gonna use that? When I hit him up, I’m like, ‘Yo, the song is dope. You killed it. Man, it’s fire, whatever and then he hit me back … Where should I send that lil bread [to]?’ Jay was like, ‘Nah, it’s good, man. Just keep it, and we’ll figure out something later on down the line.'”
While Jay-Z’s decision to turn down such a large sum of money is noteworthy, Silkk The Shocker emphasized that Jay-Z doesn’t just extend his artistry to the entire industry.
As Jay-Z told Kevin Hart in the aforementioned “Hart to Heart” interview, the rapper revealed he’s said the word “no” way more than the word “yes” for collaborations.
Additionally, the way he goes about collaboration illustrates how important artistic integrity is within the music space.
“He won’t do it for anybody, though; he won’t even do music for anybody. What I came to learn was that it’s bigger than that [money] for him,” he said during the interview with Art of Dialogue. “It’s kinda like if I do it for ya, it’s bigger than money. To me, that’s consistent with [where he is] today — if you look at him, it’s not a fluke that he’s successful.”
He added: “I don’t care how rich you is, you gonna be like, ‘Man, send my bread.’ But he was just dead cool. He ain’t even second-guess it like, ‘Yeah, send me half of it’ or nothing. He was just like, ‘Keep it all, you good.'”
Silkk The Shocker’s third studio album, “Made Man,” was released in 1999 and included the track “You Know What We Bout,” featuring Jay-Z.
The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and achieved platinum certification, marking Silkk’s highest-charting album to date.
The instance shows that Jay-Z’s commitment to his craft and artistic vision is worth more than financial gain.
Furthermore, given that Silkk The Shocker was under No Limit Records — by working with him and refusing payment — Jay-Z’s decision to prioritize relationships and talent over compensation shows that true artistry cannot be bought nor sold.