The Very First Time Jay Z Performed On TV, They Didn’t Even Say His Name (Video)
Before 1990, Jay Z was not on too many radars. The guest on The Jaz’ “Hawaiian Sophie” was in the place that a lot of hopeful artists can relate to. He had a moment in the sun (of a whimsical EMI Records single of his then-rhyme mentor), and was trying to parlay it to other things.
In 1990, things would heat up a bit more. After appearing on the Word To The Jaz single, young Shawn Carter got another look from Jaz-O on the To Your Soul follow-up. “The Originators” was less aimed at gimmicks, and seemingly more rooted in the kind of raps that Jay liked, and was using in his battles of the day—which included a bout with Poor Righteous Teacher’s Wise Intelligent on the streets of Trenton, New Jersey (where Jay was “working” at the time).
It was also around this time that Jay found another mentor, from Brooklyn as well, in Big Daddy Kane. Although Kane would hold out putting young “Jäy-Z” on his albums until 1994’s Daddy’s Home, the Marcy Projects hopeful traveled with the Bedford Stuyvesant icon on the regular (where he would also famously run into Nas and Large Professor). While in one of these bonded times, Jay did appear alongside B.D.K. on BET’s “Rap City.”
With host The Prime at his side, Jay (introduced just as “my man”) “busts a funky freestyle” that may have seemed insignificant at the time—but would be a benchmark performance moment for an MC who has made a few memorable TV moments since:
Jay let his own name be known in this quick style that predates Das EFX and The Fu-Schnickens’ figgety-first albums (as an fyi).
As a bonus, Kane takes some tough questions from the host, promoting his Taste Of Chocolate album—which was a turning point for the icon.
Does Big Daddy Kane get enough credit (by history books and talking Heads) in the mentorship of Jay Z?