The Roc Nation mogul was a guest on the season premiere of HBO’s “The Shop: Uninterrupted” with LeBron James and Maverick Carter, during which he opened up about X for the first time since his passing on April 9.
JAY-Z recalled their friendship and rivalry including the time he boycotted the Grammys in 1999 after DMX was shut out of the nominations.
“The first time I boycotted the Grammys was for him,” he said. “We both came out that year. He didn’t get nominated. He dropped two No. 1 albums in the same year and they didn’t even nominate him.”
JAY-Z won his first Grammy that year for Best Rap Album for Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, but he didn’t show up to the awards in solidarity with X. “I wasn’t even in the building because I boycotted it for him,” he revealed. “There was a competitive thing, but it was big love.”
Added JAY, “He was so competitive with me. I never met a human being more competitive with me, ever, not even my big brother.”
The two first met while battling in the Bronx. JAY recalled one time when DMX called him out at a show following one of their rap battles. “He got on stage: ‘JAY-Z, where you at!?’ I was like, ‘This guy is nuts!’ He was just all passion.”
He also credited X for making him a better performer. “My fondest memory of DMX was he improved my stage show,” said JAY, who witnessed X’s powerful presence when they toured together on 1999’s “Hard Knock Life Tour.”
Before his death, JAY-Z recorded one final collaboration with his friend. He can be heard alongside Nas on “Bath Salts” off DMX’s posthumous album Exodus.