by Mike Winslow
The “Ray” star was attempting to relaunch his singing career when he first met Kanye, then an up-and-coming rapper who had attended one of Jamie’s house parties in Los Angeles.
“I would throw parties just so I could get into music…,” he said on U.S. morning show “Live with Kelly and Ryan.” “I had a studio in my house, and when I had music people over, I said, ‘Leave some music in my studio,’ ’cause I was trying to get on.”
Among the guests to show up at Jamie’s bashes were Jay Z, Pharrell Williams, and a young Kanye, who, at the time, had just survived a car crash and had yet to release any solo material.
“In walks this kid with a backpack on, jaw’s a little busted; it’s Kanye West,” Jamie recalled. “I asked Kanye to perform, so he did this freestyle and I said, ‘Oh my God, you’re about to be bigger than life!'”
However, he wasn’t so sure about Kanye’s ability to make hits after hearing his proposal for “Slow Jamz,” during which he told Jamie not to turn the hook into an elaborate R&B tune.
“He said, ‘Don’t do that. Things have changed, just sing it simple,'” Foxx remembered. “So when I sing the song, I’m thinking in my mind, ‘This song ain’t gonna work’.”
But Kanye ended up proving Jamie wrong: “I do the song begrudgingly, leave and do a bad movie for six weeks, come back, (and) when I get back, my homie (friend) said, ‘You know that song you said was bad? It’s number one in the country!'”
The Grammy Award-nominated hit helped to put Jamie back on the map as a singer, and he went on to achieve his own musical success with his 2005 album Unpredictable, the follow-up to his debut release “Peep This,” back in 1994.
He also reconnected with Kanye in the studio for the Stronger hitmaker’s single “Gold Digger,” which won the 2006 Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.