Hip-hop is a lot like pro wrestling in the WWE.
All music aside, it's really just a soap opera where egos (and money) affect business decisions, lyrics and even tweets, like what we saw in the case of Meek Mill vs. Drake. That sh*t was brutal.
Allegiances are crucial, too, like when Ice Cube left NWA to launch his solo career, or when Kanye West met Jay Z and joined Roc-A-Fella Records.
Years later, it's safe to say that was a smart move, but before Kanye left Chicago and packed all his things into a U-Haul van, his decision to move to New York and pursue his dream almost never happened.
In an exclusive with DJBooth, Chicago rapper Mikkey Halsted, who was signed to Kanye's first record label, Kanman Productions, revealed West had the option to move down to New Orleans to sign with Birdman and Cash Money records.
In a world where Kanye would be producing for Lil Wayne instead of Jay Z, so much of what we know about hip-hop today would be completely different. Luckily, it's not.
On the track "Last Call" of Kanye's debut album, The College Dropout, Yeezy mentions an unnamed artist who left his label.
At the end of the "Last Call," Kanye says,
The artist he was talking about was Mikkey Halsted, who decided to sign with Birdman and Cash Money Records.
Mikkey was actually the first artist Kanye signed to his label.
Birdman wanted to sign Kanye's entire label and call it Cash Money Midwest.
But, Kanye wasn't ready to jump over to Cash Money just yet.
That was because Kanye had an even bigger opportunity in New York.
Kanye responded he didn't want to. Mikkey said,
Still, since Mikkey was associated with Kanye, Kanye would produce Mikkey's album and get money from the deal.
That was until Cash Money found out Kanye used samples, and Birdman wasn't trying to pay to clear them.
But, Birdman backed down and agreed to buy some of Kanye's tracks.
Cash Money bought the tracks, Kanye took the money and followed his heart and the rest is history.
Now, he's worth roughly $130 million, has his own sneakers and is married to Kim Kardashian. Funny how life works!