Jay Z’s First Record Ever Was in 1986…And It Was Not Hawaiian Sophie. Take a Listen (Audio)

1989’s “Hawaiian Sophie” appearance alongside Jaz-O is often credited as Jay Z’s first appearance on a record. While the video single captured a teenaged Shawn Carter, even his Wikipedia page overlooks something that crate diggers are very well aware of.

While Jaz would sign an EMI Records deal in the late 1980s, putting his little man on Word To The Jaz and 1990 follow-up To Your Soul, there was a time when both Brooklyn, New York MCs were independent, just trying to get heard.

In 1986, Jay Z was a spry 17 years old. He and his Marcy Projects big brother Jaz-O (five years older) formed a short-lived group, called High Potent—or “H.P.” for short. Teaming with the Manhattan-based Get Live Records, High Potent released one single, “H.P. Gets Busy.” An A-Side with an instrumental B-Side, this ’86 record (recorded at Rawlston Studios on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York) would be the second release on Get Live, and the last:


The track, produced by Jack Walker & Jon Burns, is Electro—something of the day. Listen to the Run-DMC-inspired rhyme routine from Jay and Jaz, and there’s no denying that an adolescent Hov’ had B-Boy dreams:

Not an inclusion in Decoded, isn’t it odd that so many people miss a record that can still be bought for less than $40?

Given this history, does it make more sense that Jay and Jaz would bump heads years later, during the rise of Roc-A-Fella?

#BonusBeat: NYC Heads can rent office space at the exact location where Jay Z first cut his teeth in the booth today.

Related: The Very First Time Jay Z Performed On TV, They Didn’t Even Say His Name (Video)