Memphis Bleek says he was first offered the lead role in the movie, Drumline” and that Jay-Z was mad at him for turning it down.
“Oh, man. If I could go back. Y’all n-ggas don’t know this, I never told this story. I turned down Drumline. He wanted me to do it and everything, and I was scared. He [Chris Robinson, director] wanted to put me in acting school and all that, and I was afraid. Remember, my career had just started working and I’m saying to myself, ‘I’ll do this movie as a drummer and then it don’t work, how am I gonna go back to the hood and tell n-ggas we out here getting this money, we real n-ggas?’” he explained.
He explained that at the time, he shared the same manager as rising rapper Nick Cannon, so Nick was offered the role.
“But that’s one thing: if I could rewind time, I would have did that. I was on some, ‘I’d rather to do this rap sh-t.’ Almost like Ja [Rule] did with the Fast & Furious sh-t. I super f-cked up with that. Hov was mad at me! I remember Hov was super-steamed at me. Like, ‘Why you ain’t do it?!’ And I remember telling him, ‘Bro, I was scared. I’ve never acted.’”
Bleek said Jay paid for acting classes for him.
“Rap was everything to me then. Hip Hop, it saved my life, so I didn’t want to jeopardize that,” Bleek added.