“NO I.D. on the track, let the story begin,” D.O.A. by Jay-Z. Def Jam’s Executive Vice President of A&R at Def Jam, NO I.D. has spent more than 20 years in the music industry. He produced for Common, “I Used to Love H.E.R.”), Jay-Z (“D.O.A.”), and Kanye West (“Heartless”), but people still don’t know who he is and maybe that’s because he is a humble dude and don’t chase fame. NO I.D. was also the President of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music. Complex interviewed the Chi Town native and he discussed his position over at Def Jam, his role in the making of Watch the Throne, and his relationship with Kanye West. Below are some excerpts:
How did you end up as the Executive Vice President of A&R at Def Jam?
I’ve done music for a while, but I was always an introvert doing music. I never had a PR person, ever. I never really did a lot of interviews. When I started working with G.O.O.D. Music, I was the president for a while.
That led me to meet Big Sean, and I developed a relationship with [Island Def Jam head of A&R] Karen Kwak and [Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Island Def Jam Music Group] L.A. Reid at the time. They got to know me and that led to them offering me a job.
What were some of those accomplishments that made Def Jam want to hire you?
It was simple things, like being able to grab Big Sean and take him from scratch. I’m really good at taking things from scratch and helping develop them, versus chasing after the hottest thing going.
I come from an era where you just build something. Me and Common built what we built from Chicago from scratch. Then helping Kanye get to where he’s gotten. Being involved with helping extend the success of Jay-Z.
When people get to see me interact with the creative giants, they see the perspective and the respect. A lot of times, people don’t have that respect, from a music perspective, with the music people.
For example, I came in when Watch The Throne was happening. It wasn’t like I was actively working on the project, but I came in with some insight that helped bring records like “Otis,” “Made In America,” and “No Church In The Wild.”
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NEXT PAGE: NO I.D. SPEAK ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH KANYE WEST, AND DEF JAM RECORDS