Jay-Z celebrated his 50th birthday Wednesday by making his entire discography available via Spotify, and plenty of old-school Hov fans spent the day reliving the Brooklyn rapper’s early albums like the “Life and Times” series and his classic debut, “Reasonable Doubt.”
One unmistakable voice found on several of Jay’s classic tracks is that of rapper Amil, formerly of the group Major Coins. The female MC’s soft-yet-raspy tone became a signature of several Roc-a-Fella anthems, including “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up),” “Jigga What, Jigga Who,” and “Can I Get A…,” where she and a young Ja Rule both made their major debuts.
Amil’s 2000 debut, “All Money is Legal” had the support of her label and a lead single, “I Got That,” featuring Beyoncé, then at the top of the world with Destiny’s Child. Still, her presence soon faded, leaving many fans of the diva scratching their heads.
In a 2014 interview with VIBE, the rapper — whose legal name is Amil Whitehead — confessed that her head and heart weren’t truly in it when it came to maneuvering within the industry.
“I wasn’t there mentally. I was in my own world,” the rapper stated. “Was I prepared? No. Did I realize what was happening right before my eyes? No.”
“I started to rebel. I rebelled against the industry because it’s not what I wanted. I hated traveling. I wasn’t at after-parties or the club. Also, at the time, my son’s asthma, [who was] 5 [or] 6 years old at the time, was getting worse and no one was there for him. I had to be there for him.”
She went on to say she wasn’t “a businesswoman at that time. I didn’t have a manager or the things that most artists have. I didn’t put my all into it. I didn’t give 100% of myself. I felt like it just wasn’t for me. That’s when I started rebelling. I started rebelling because I wanted out. It was easier for me to slip away. I faded myself. No one faded me. And, that’s when everything seemed to go left.”
Though initially taking responsibility for the state of her career, the Brooklyn-born beauty later hinted at unfair treatment by Roc-a-Fella in a 2018 interview with Hip Hop News Uncensored. According to the rhymer, she believes gaining 25 pounds after filming her first big video may have played a part in her exclusion and eventual dismissal from the label.
“I heard it was because I got real big and s–t — I got up to 135 lbs, if you want to call that ‘big’ … I was 110 lbs, if [not] less than that, when I did “Can I Get A …” So, I gained a couple pounds!”
Amil also mentioned that certain assistants at the label were “hating,” on her and that her past relationship with Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest could’ve been a factor in her split from Roc. Once she started having to go through Jay’s assistants to get a hold of him, it was a wrap for the burgeoning star.
“I didn’t leave, n—as started excluding me from s–t, what the f–k I’m going to do?”
Jay rapped about dropping his former protégé from Roc-a-Fella on 2001’s “The Ruler’s Back,” where he spit, “And you got a couple of Beans and you don’t have a Clue?/Your situation is Bleek, I’ma keep it Rell/cause f–kin’ with me, you gotta drop Amil/Cause if you gonna cop something you gotta cop for real.”
“I tried to reach out to Jay several times, he never got back at me,” Amil said in 2018, adding that even while she doesn’t understand his sneak-dissing, she holds no ill will towards the billionaire.
Amil’s last single, “Remember” was released in 2014.
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