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Underground Hero: Jae Millz

By Hardcore Critic
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer

It’s Young Mula baby!, but this was not always the case for Jae Millz. A brief appearance on Diddy’s “Making the Band 2” turned Jae Millz into a star. Representing Harlem, Millz freestyled against Ness, winning the battle. Jae Millz signed with local New York record label, Wanna Blow Ent., and began delivering hits for the streets.

Hip hop was looking for another champion from New York and Jae Millz had the makeup of a star. Based off his street releases, both SRC Records and Warner Bros. lined up to sign a joint venture deal with Wanna Blow just to sign Millz. Initially choosing to sign with the future home of Maybach Music, the label soon moved to SRC.

Riding the success of “No No No,” the streets of Harlem and throughout New York City were ready for Jae Millz to release his full-length debut album. Despite the bidding war over Jae Millz and the buzz behind him, SRC Records did not give a solid release date to the young rapper. Before long, four years went by without an official release from Jae Millz. Deciding to keep himself relevant, Millz returned to releasing mixtapes, keeping the support of the streets. By 2007, anticipation for Jae Millz reached a new height and he made it clear he was anxious to get his new album out.

Jae Millz met with Lil Wayne in early 2008 and the two ended up performing together. During the performance, Jae Millz announced he was signing with Young Money. Lil Wayne founded Young Money three years prior, but did not have any artists signed to the roster. This caused many Jae Millz fans to wonder why he was with the label, but he saw it as a chance to finally release his debut album. Soon, Drake and Nicki Minaj signed with Young Money, changing the dynamics of the label and Jae Millz finds himself back on the backburner, recording on group albums and doing yearly wrap-up songs.

For nearly a decade, though, Jae Millz has been one of the biggest artists on the Harlem streets. While he has been forced to wait on his debut album, four years with Wanna Blow/SRC/Universal and four years with Young Money/Cash Money/Universal, several new rappers from Harlem have emerged. A$AP Rocky is considered, by some, to be the most-popular up-and-coming rapper from New York City, aside from French Montana. Another Harlem rapper, 9 Milly, has also been building a strong buzz, gaining a following throughout New York City and abroad.

Those true Jae Millz fans, however, often look back on that small window of time and wonder what could have been, because his star still shines bright, as he continues to languish on the Young Money bench.

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