Before officially catching the wild wave of success that he continues to ride to this day, Kanye West was on a mission to prove his own talent and worth to the world. During that time, hip hop vet Jay-Z was the big brother, the mentor, and the boss man, letting Kanye audition tracks for placement on Roc-A-Fella Records artists’ albums. Fast-forward twelve years, and it’s Kanye who is now on the verge of building an empire, and his one-stop-shopping label, management, and production hybrid G.O.O.D Music could be his ticket out from under the giant-sized shadow of Jigga Man. Things move pretty fast in hip hop, but whether you know it or not, you may already be familiar with some artists Kanye’s signed to his squad, including Common, John Legend, “Day N Night” breakout artist Kid Cudi, and Pusha T: one half of brotherly rap duo Clipse, and the artist who performed with ‘Ye on last year’s VMAs. Other members of the G.O.O.D Music team (acronym for Getting Out Our Dreams), however, are either newer to the music world, or still taking time to build a tangible buzz. Either way,they might be worth getting familiar with before it’s too late!
Last Thursday night, in front of a ravenous Brooklyn crowd and with the help of Heineken’s summer concert series Red Star Access, Kanye unleashed a G.O.O.D Music showcase on the masses. Performing solo hits and giving his crop of artists their own short sets to shine, Yeezy would go back and forth appearing on stage, and at times, joined his proteges for songs they’ve collaborated on together. A good example and important collabo to note, freshly leaked “Marvin Gaye and Chardonnay” is a song that will be included on G.O.O.D/Def Jam rapper Big Sean’s debut album Finally Famous, out June 28th. At the album’s exclusive listening party held (also in NYC) on Tuesday of last week, Kanye compared the young, up-and-coming rapper to Beyonce, saying he had the potential to be what she is to R&B, but in hip hop. Hell of an introduction, wouldn’t you say? Certainly no pressure to Sean, who luckily already has a healthy following off of mixtapes released over the past four years. And speaking of Beyonce, there’s a rumor brewing that Kanye and his team of G.O.O.D. Music hooligans (including Pusha, CyHi Da Prynce, Kid Cudi and Big Sean) will guest-star on a yet-to-be-released remix for “Party,” the song that we’re keeping on eye on for Song of the Summer.
But back to the other Shawn: Jay-Z, that is. If it’s one thing he’s shown us over the years, it’s that being the boss isn’t always easy. Like Kanye is now doing, Jay took mentees under his wing, although most of whom did not get enough traction to really succeed. Before Kanye and Rihanna, there was Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and Amil, among others. We may sing along to their verses when the records they’re on are played in the club or on the radio, but most of those tracks belong to Hov. Will Kanye be able to outdo his former-mentor and produce a roster that wins, or will he suffer the curse of The Dynasty, vouching mostly for talent that will never see the mainstream support he’s going after? Only time (and fate) will tell. We know this much, though: Jay was in the building during last Thursday’s showcase, and even though the crowd was hoping for him to make a cameo, Kanye tore the place down without his big brother stepping foot on stage.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]