Westside Gunn Reveals Why He Chose Eminem’s “Shady Records” Over JAY-Z’s “Roc Nation”
In a recent conversation with Math Hoffa on the latest episode of My Expert Opinion, Westside Gunn, the prominent figure of Griselda, delved into the intricate process that led him to ink a deal with two of the music industry's juggernauts: Eminem's Shady Records and JAY-Z's Roc Nation.
While reflecting on his previous affiliation with Royce 5’9″ and why it didn't come to fruition, Westside Gunn conveyed his profound respect for Royce, both as a fellow artist and a friend. Yet, fueled by ambition and a determination to transcend his origins in the streets of east-side Buffalo, the chance to align with two colossal names in music proved irresistible.
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He elaborated, “Why signing to Royce 5’9″ didn’t work out?… Royce was cool. That’s my ni–a. Still to this day. But at the same time, no disrespect to Royce, that’s my brother, being a hungry east-side Buffalo ni–a that’s trying to stop selling drugs, I got an opportunity to sign to f–king biggest artist of all time, it’s no-brainer. Because my options were Marshall or Hov. Paul Rosenberg had Shady and he had the management Goliath. So when I started going over there talking to Mike, I was going over there for Goliath. It was not even signing to Shady because I only wanted to be Griselda Records cause I was already me. This is after the FlyGod album.”
Westside Gunn's vision extended to the potential cinematic portrayal of Griselda's saga. He saw in Shady Records the precedent set by blockbusters like '8 Mile' and 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin',' and envisaged a parallel trajectory for Griselda's narrative.
He pondered, “Shady, they had the movies. 8 Mile, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’. I’m thinking already ahead like ‘yo, Griselda story is…Ni–a, if they see this east-side Buffalo, we outta here,’ as long as I can get they can make this movie, it’s over, cause I know the story. I watched their stories but ni–a, I know this story. So, I’m just like, ‘let me finesse…’,
like I said, Roc Nation had a the label and management and Paul had label and management. So, I’m like ‘I can sign and want to be managed by one. What the f–k am I thinking?’ I can be the first ni–a that could be signed to JAY-Z and then managed by Paul and Marshall, or I could sign to Marshall and be managed by JAY-Z. So, let me go with this movie route and all this s–t and still be backed by Hov. And that’s how I made my decision. And no disrespect to Royce but that could not happen that way doing that.”