Great read. This has happen to us in the indie world. So we're not surprised.
Busta Rhymes Passed on "Halftime"
Producer: Large Professor
In 1992 Large Professor composed a beat for Leaders of the New School representer Busta Rhymes that would end up being "Halftime." With the two at his in-house studio, Extra P explained, "That beat right there, [Busta] was writing to it and everything." However, aside from Busta's contractual obligations, the Brooklyn MC confessed, "I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't know why I didn't know what to do with it, because I loved the shit out the beat." He would leave the studio as well as the beat on the cutting room floor, to which Nas liberated almost immediately. The rest, as they say, was history.
Crooked I Passed on "How Do U Want It"
Producer: Johnny "J"
Despite his recent Slaughterhouse success and visible alignment with Shady Records, people forget that Crooked I has been in the rap game for a minute. Signing his first record deal in 1995 with Noo Trybe/Virgin, the Long Beach MC had the opportunity to snatch up the Johnny "J"-produced "How Do U Want It." Recalling the moment he heard the beat, he stated, "I sat in the office at Virgin and I was like, 'Nah, I'm cool with that.'" The song would later make its way onto 2Pac's 1996 double album All Eyez on Me with K-Ci & JoJo bringing the polished production full circle.
Jay-Z Passed on "Whoa"
Before Black Rob gave us 100 different ways to act surprised in the hood ("Finger near a ni**a asshole like whoa"), the beat for his Bad Boy single was originally shopped at Roc-A-Fella Records. Producer Buckwild handed it over to A&R Lenny S., who in turn gave it to Jay-Z but to no avail. Memphis Bleek and Amil also took a pass on the record, which gave Black Rob the green light to go in over this grimy backdrop.
Nas and Jay-Z Passed on "We Gonna Make It"
Producer: The Alchemist
While hailing from the Los Angeles area, listening to production from The Alchemist immediately evokes an East Coast aesthetic with an emphasis on the gritty and soulful. He certainly felt that way too when he shopped the "We Gonna Make It" beat to a handful of New York MC's, including Nas and Jay-Z. The latter heard it during a session at Baseline, while Nas actually had it tracked by Alchemist before he passed on it. Yonkers-bred rapper Jadakiss eventually picked up the beat (not without a bit of controversy involving Ras Kass who also picked it up) and it eventually became a single for his debut album, Kiss tha Game Goodbye.
Memphis Bleek Passed on "Oh Boy"
Producer: Just Blaze
With Kanye West and Just Blaze at the production helm and an expanding Roc-A-Fella roster in the early aughts, any given day at Baseline Studios was an opportunity to thrive. Such was the case in 2002 with "Oh Boy," which featured a striking Rose Royce sample built over drums filled with gusto. The Just Blaze-produced record originally found its way into the hands of Memphis Bleek, but he passed on it. A newcomer to the Roc, Cam'ron scooped up the track and tacked on fellow Diplomat Juelz Santana for Harlem reassurance as "Oh Boy" would become his first single for Come Home With Me.
D12 Passed on "In da Club"
Producer: Dr. Dre
After collaborating with Dr. Dre on a handful of records for their 2001 debut album Devil's Night, Detroit collective D12 went into 2002 with a few more beats by Dre, one of which happened to be "In da Club." However, D12 weren't able to find the right approach for the record and passed on it. Coincidently, 50 Cent had recently signed to Shady/Aftermath, and with his debut album in mind he created an undeniable club anthem that likewise appealed to the streets.
Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel and Freeway All Passed on "Pump It Up"
Producer: Just Blaze
It's fair to say if a beat was made with Jay-Z in mind, it's going to be at least halfway decent. That's what occurred in 2003 with "Pump It Up," which Just Blaze constructed for Brooklyn's finest but ultimately wouldn't get the approval that "December 4th" and "Public Service Announcement" did later that year. He wasn't the only Roc-A-Fella artist who waved off the kinetic beat, Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek did the same. The beat—which sounded like a redux of A Tribe Called Quest's "Senario (Remix)" since both songs sampled Kool & the Gang's "Soul Vibrations"—ultimately fell in the lap of Def Jam signee Joe Budden. Hov would eventually jump on the remix to "Pump It Up," but we're guessing it wasn't the type of remix Budden was seeking.
Fat Joe Passed on "Candy Shop"
Producer: Scott Storch, Fat Joe
As Fat Joe tells it, he and Scott Storch co-produced the "Candy Shop" beat, but he wasn't inclined to make another record like "Lean Back" despite its commercial success. After letting it sit, Storch called, asking, "Yo, you sure you don't want to use it? 50 Cent called me. 50 Cent want it." Fat Joe declined, and 50 Cent turned it into a seductively juicy record that made women swoon, which further cemented his stature as a rap sex symbol on The Massacre. Ironically, Fat Joe's reward for helping 50 get yet another massive hit was getting dissed on "Piggy Bank."
Shawnna Passed on "Gold Digger"
Producer: Kanye West
In 2004 Kanye West linked up with Ludacris and fellow Chicagoan Shawnna in Atlanta to do work on what would be the DTP rappers' debut album Worth tha Weight. The session heeded positive results ('Ye produced the provocatively smooth "What Can I Do"), but Shawnna opted out of pursuing a record that featured the hook, "I'm not saying I'm a gold digger/but I ain't messing with no broke ni**as."
Kanye kept the record, and after fine-tuning its presentation and drawing inspiration from Jamie Foxx's Oscar-winning performance in Ray, "Gold Digger" was brought to life for his sophomore album, Late Registration, and became one of his all time biggest hits.
Pusha T Passed on "Niggas In Paris"
Kanye West has long-time been an admirer of Pusha T's lyrical prowess, so it came as no surprise that he took a vested interest in the Thornton brother and subsequently signed him under the G.O.O.D. Music banner in 2010.
The relationship clearly has its perks, as Pusha has come across a wide array of beats to choose from. However, he turned down one beat, explaining, "I was in demonic rap mode." His manager later described the MC's reaction in receiving the beat: "Pusha said, 'It sounds like a video game. Get that shit out of here!'" That "video game" sound ended up being the Hit-Boy-produced "Niggas In Paris," which Kanye and Jay-Z would virtuously tag-team on Watch The Throne.
Article from Complex.com