kendrick lamar shady records

Eminem almost signed Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi to Shady Records

Juelz Santana, Clipse and Pitbull are among the other artists that the label considered.

Since its inception in 1999, Eminem has signed a lot of tremendous talent to his label, Shady Records. 50 Cent, D12 and Yelawolf are just a few of the artists who became household names during their time under Marshall Mathers’ wing.

In a 2020 interview with the podcast A Waste of Time With ItsTheReal, Shady Records former Vice President of A&R Riggs Morales revealed that the label considered signing several rappers who would evolve into hip hop heavyweights, including Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.

“Towards the later years before I left, J. Cole came across my desk. Kendrick (Lamar) from what I understand. Although that’s more of a Paul (Rosenberg, Shady Records’ president) story. In fact, I believe Paul was the one that suggested Kendrick to Dr. Dre, when Dr. Dre was looking for someone to write for his Detox album.”

Morales continued to list near-Shady Records signees, including Kid Cudi. The A&R explains that he tried to get a deal done after hearing the Cleveland rapper’s breakout single “Day ‘N’ Nite.” However, he did not move fast enough. “Once Kanye [West] put his arm around him, it was a wrap!”

Elsewhere in the interview, Morales named Juelz Santana, Clipse, Dead Prez and Pitbull as other names that he, Eminem and Paul Rosenberg considered signing to Shady Records.

Listen to the full Riggs Morales interview on A Waste of Time With ItsTheReal below. The conversation about would-be signings stars around the 1:17:00 mark.

Eminem could have signed Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Pitbull and others to Shady Records.

This article was originally published on Dec. 22, 2021 and updated on July 2, 2022.

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