To kick off the New Year, EmEz chose his second sit down discussion to be with the legendary Jay Black. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Jay Black is “an icon-legend” who began his career in Marketing & Promotions for Bad Boy Entertainment, where he had the chance to work alongside P-Diddy, Biggie Smalls, Faith Evans,112, Total, Craig Mack, & many more. While working with Bad Boy, his ambition took him on a journey towards stardom, with his first onscreen role in the hip-hop “classic and iconic” movie Belly,. He began his story with Bad Boy Entertainment back in 1990 when he was connected to Sean “P-Diddy” Combs by a friend in his hometown of Mount Vernon, NY. His friend believed that his energy and vibe would be appreciated by Diddy, so they traveled to Scarsdale, NY to have a meeting. After hearing Diddy speak about his brand and how he wanted to expose it to the world, Jay Black jumped on his Promotions & Marketing team, ready to hit the ground running. Keep in mind that this was in the early 90’s when you were able to break into the industry on the strength of who you know without having to go through so much red tape as you would today. So once Jay learned more about Diddy’s mission, he began to meet up with DJ’s at various radio stations in NYC to help launch the promotion of the Bad Boy Entertainment brand. “It was a great experience that humbled me, it taught me about business, and I was just happy to be a part of it.” I mean, so would I, especially seeing how that brand became a household name during that time in Hip-Hop.
EmEz then asked a question that most of us I am sure would ask someone who was able to be around such a legendary group of artists from such a popular record label at the time....“Can you tell us a story that you are allowed to share about that time in your life?”...And Jay Black did not disappoint in his response. Jay decided to share a story about the late, great, Notorious B.I.G. Jay reminded us that he was “the dude with the classic Polo shirt walking alongside him” in his first video for the song, “Juicy.” He states that Biggie whispered something in his ear that made him leap into the pool, and proceeded to reveal to us what he said to him. Biggie whispered to him to be patient & cool as they ran around in mansions for the video shoot that day. Jay was so “thrilled and excited to hear him say that,” that it made him happily launch himself into the pool. He states,“It was a crazy feeling. It was incredible. This dude of this stature was telling me that he liked my energy and that we will be running around in mansions in due time.” Jay says that was one of his greatest experiences with our beloved, Notorious B.I.G. I can only imagine how epic that feeling must have been!
Jay Black then confirms with EmEz that he was there from the inception and reveal of Biggie Smalls to the world, all the way up to his untimely death. After that unfortunate moment in time, he was not as hands on with everything anymore due to the shift of the times; a lot of beef between Suge Knight of Death Row Records & Diddy of Bad Boy Entertainment was going on. However, he still remained an integral part of the Bad Boy family by working on the communications aspect of the business on the back end. Jay believes the animosity Suge had for Diddy was simply because he “did see him and felt him and that’s what I think he didn't like,” because as per Jay, “he didn't know Puff not to like him.” So the Death Row crew was groomed to naturally dislike the Bad Boy team, simply because their CEO didn’t like that P-Diddy was getting a lot of shine at that time. Wow!
Now let's talk about the movie Belly. EmEz, once again asked a curiosity quenching question, “Did you have to go on a casting call for that or did they just tell you that they need you?” Jay shared that Hype Williams, who was the Director for all of Puff’s videos at the time, fell in love (like everyone else did) with Jay’s energy, so after Hype and Nas came up with the idea for the movie, he was an obvious choice to cast in the movie. “They told me to just show up. I never got sent a script, just had to show up to the casting call. They sent me a car service to the spot, I didn't have to wait on the line, I went inside after they let people know I was outside, I went inside, and saw a few white people standing around the table where Hype was sitting...” and the rest is history. In Jay Black’s opinion, all the accomplishments of the Bad Boy Entertainment team is what fueled the hate from Death Row Records, however he is so proud to be a part of the time in hip-hop history. After Belly, Jay had a couple roles on Law and Order.
To wrap up the convo, EmEz inquired about Jay Black’s current fave artists and he proceeded to list his top 5 rappers as, Notorious B.I.G, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Nas, & Scarface. However, since he likes to call himself a “hip-hop connoisseur,” his top 5 rappers change sporadically.
Jay Black ends the interview with these inspiring words, “Keep striving hard, keep your head up, & if you have no felony, go get your pistol license so you don’t have to hide it!” Word to the wise from a man who has done a lot in his lifetime.
To catch the full interview below on EmEz’s Youtube Channel “The Sit Down with EmEz.”