Q-Tip Speaks On Industry Execs Not Believing in Megan Thee Stallion

Few modern artists command the world of social media like Megan Thee Stallion. Her songs and videos are trending constantly, she masterminded the “hot girl summer” movement that countless brands have attempted to cash in on, and her Instagram posts all comfortably eclipse the 1 million like mark.

Ironic, then, that social media statistics were a main reason labels balked at signing the Houston rhymer a few years ago, even when legendary rapper Q-Tip was one of her most vocal supporters. In an excerpted clip from his appearance on Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion that went viral recently, the 51-year-old spoke about his efforts to get a then-unknown Megan a deal with a major label back in 2018.

“We call her house, her mom’s on the phone. I’m talking to her mom like, ‘Yo, I saw your daughter. She’s incredible.’” Q-Tip explained that, at the time, he had an “insignia deal” with Columbia Records, and was looking to sign new artists. He brought Megan to New York and set up a meeting with Columbia.

“The head of the company wasn’t there, Ron Perry, I guess he was detained, but we took the meeting anyways,” he said. “We sit at the meeting, it’s great. The dude comes back, ‘We saw the views, she’s good, we saw the views and everything, it was whatever. We could give her like $30,000.’ Just say you don’t wanna fucking sign her, B. Don’t fucking embarrass me like that.”

Q-Tip then had another meeting for Megan at Def Jam, where he was signed at the time, and said they were hesitant for the same metric-related reasons. “I was like, ‘I can’t do it. I guess the co-sign is not working anymore,’” Q-Tip said with a sigh. “The co-sign is kinda flimsy now because they rely on data.”

Tip’s point about the diminishing value of rap co-signs has a lot of truth behind it. In earlier eras of hip-hop, having the approval and support of a well-respected industry veteran could provide a major head start (think JAY-Z and J. Cole, or Dr. Dre and Eminem). But developing unheralded talents requires time, effort, and strategy, and some labels clearly prefer to sign artists who already have built up large audiences on their own. It’s also why, in recent years, major labels have signed popular YouTubers-turned-rappers like DDG and Scarlxrd.

An obviously exasperated Q-Tip also pointed to his track record of supporting hugely successful artists early in their careers as a reason his opinion should be trusted. “This is me. Prior, my co-signs were [J] Dilla, Nas. Redman, I had heard the shit and I told Russell [Simmons], ‘Yo, you need to fucking sign [him],’” he said.

The relationship between the Tribe Called Quest pioneer and one of hip-hop’s biggest young stars is no secret, but it’s rarely been laid out so clearly. Back in 2018, Megan posted a heartwarming video of her and her mother driving around with Tip in New York listening to Max B, presumably during the very trip that Q-Tip spoke about . In a 2019 FADER profile, Meagan revealed that one of the first major co-signs she got was from Q-Tip, who emailed her anonymously saying he was both a fan and a person “of a higher status.” As part of that FADER story, the hip-hop legend lavished praise on Megan.

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