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​Screengrab of Shannon Sharpe and Steve Stoute taken from "Club Shay Shay" on YouTube.

Screengrab of Shannon Sharpe and Steve Stoute taken from "Club Shay Shay" on YouTube.

What You Missed from the Viral Shannon Sharpe and Steve Stoute Interview

In another instant classic of Shannon Sharpe's "Club Shay Shay," music industry legend Steve Stoute talks Queens' underrated hip-hop status, how he influenced Nas' It was Written and more.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Shannon Sharpe, the NFL Hall of Famer, has made himself a media superstar, through his work on Fox Sports, ESPN, and his own podcasts. On his hit YouTube show, "Club Shay Shay," which has reached another level of popularity since its classic Katt Williams episode in January, Shannon sat down with music and branding legend Steve Stoute. Going from Queensbridge, to Stoute’s office, to his high school the two ride around New York City as Steve Stoute shares his wealth of knowledge. Various clips from the interview have already gone viral, such as his thoughts on the origins of the 50 Cent vs. Ja Rule beef, The Rocafella split, and more. On the other side of the coin, some very interesting parts of the March 6 interview haven’t been seen all over social media.

Is Queens the most overlooked hip-hop borough?

Around the 42-minute mark, Shannon asks Stoute, who’s a Queens native, about why Queens’ place in hip-hop isn’t as respected as New York City’s other boroughs. After naming Nas, who he managed, A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep, and Ja Rule, Stoute then shares that he grew up within a ten-mile radius of everyone he named. “Because of the houses, backyards, grass….Queens is associated with middle class” he explains, while implying that Brooklyn and the Bronx are seen as tougher (and BK having 2 larger than life legends in Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G.). His line of thinking makes sense, but Queens surely deserves its flowers.

Jay-Z and Steve Stoute are cousins

At the hour mark, after Stoute commends Jay-Z and Nas for ending their beef peacefully, he lets it fly that he and Hov are cousins. “I went to my grandfather’s funeral, and his grandparent is buried two lots down,” he said. Stoute then explains that he and Jay grew closer via the NFL video game series Madden and various business deals. Jay-Z and Steve Stoute were trying to sign an artist and ran into an issue; Steve shared he didn’t care about it, and had his eyes on bigger things. “It was the way I talked about my dreams and ambitions for big things, and he’s like ‘I like this guy,” Stoute explained. The two business moguls have been friends ever since.

Steve Stoute got Nas to make more commercial songs on 'It Was Written'

An hour and two minutes into the interview, Shannon asks Stoute how he got Nas to make more “radio-friendly” music, around the time of Nas’s 1996 sophomore album, It Was Written. Once he answers, Stoute shares that it was all a gamble. “It was a risk, he bet on me, he trusted me. I spoke to him a lot about the fact that we have to evolve, he understood what that meant, make bigger music.” Stoute knew they had to make money with It Was Written, so the approach to the album had to be different than Illmatic. “He knew there was a very clear line between the artist that was making successful music and looking successful as a result of it, and the artists who were underground,” Stoute said, showing that Nas had a keen understanding of the image of a successful rapper. Nas had no interest in being a local artist, so Stoute went to work. “My interpretation of that was let's make bigger songs and let's find the producers and the talent that can help us, that was the TrackMasters, Dr. Dre, getting Lauryn Hill to sing “Rule The World.” Stoute had the vision and Nas agreed with it.

Kanye West takes the mic from another world-famous singer, this time at Steve Stoute’s wedding

After about an hour and eleven minutes, Shannon asks Stoute if it’s true that Kanye West took the mic from neo-soul legend Maxwell at his wedding, and then started freestyling. Shocked, Stoute laughs and tries to get Shannon to give up his source. Stoute said, “Who told you this?” then followed with “That’s so wild that you know that,” in disbelief. Soon after, he admits that the story is true. “Yes, Kanye grabbed the mic and started freestyling, and it was craziness,” he says, without getting into specifics. Also, Maxwell was performing some of his biggest songs, including “Fortunate.” Kanye simply decided it was his night, too.

Shannon Sharpe At New York City Projects w/ Steve Stoute, FaceTimes Nas & Untold Kobe+LeBron