Kanye West may have been the second-highest paid celebrity of 2020, but he wasn’t always successful. In fact, Kanye faced a few major setbacks when he was coming up in his rap career, including being told by a label executive that his rap game wasn’t good enough.
On an episode of Story To Tell with Andrew Barber for The Coda Collection, Lupe Fiasco joined to discuss his early career. Touching on his relationship with Kanye, Fiasco recalled one instance when Kanye had his ego bruised in a major way by LA Reid, a label head who was recently forced to step down from his position at Epic Records following a sexual harassment case:
“We brought Ye into Arista to showcase for LA Reid before Roc-A-Fella. Stack Bundles was sitting there. Imagine it’s me, Stack Bundles, Kanye, and LA Reid in the office. When we stopped, LA was like, ‘Yo you should stick to making music, you stick to making beats.’ Real sh*t. So that’s why I always honor Ye, no matter how crazy he goes. I’ve seen that man struggle and him just working through it.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Fiasco discussed how he and Kanye have always had a working relationship. “I’ve been knowing Ye for a long ass time. I remember first meeting Ye when he first did ‘The Truth.’ We did a little speaking thing, I think at Columbia College. That’s when n**** had a ‘fro or some sh*t, it was weird. But I was working with Ye for years. I got Ye joints. I remember Ye used to come up to the crib and be like, ‘Hey man, what you think about this verse?’”
Watch Barber’s full conversation with Lupe Fiasco on The Coda Collection here.