How No I.D. Went From Struggling Producer to Def Jam’s Head of A&R

No I.D.
No I.D. is often referred to as the “godfather of Chicago hip-hop” and “Kanye’s mentor,” but the former G.O.O.D. Music president and current Def Jam executive struggled along the way. A recent interview with the Juan Epstein podcast tells his inspiring journey from the early days to the present.
Despite achieving fame for producing Common’s first three albums, No I.D.’s momentum stalled in the late 90s, and he came close to falling off. Eventually, the Chicagoan rekindled his career through collaborations with Jermaine Dupri and reconnected with Kanye West, who he previously mentored.
By 2009, No I.D. and Kanye had co-produced 808s & Heartbreak and Jay Z’s The Blueprint 3. He went on to serve as president at Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music label for a couple years, and earlier this month, Def Jam promoted him to Head of A&R.
No I.D.’s story is a lesson in humility and perseverance. His experience proves that no matter how bad things can get, there’s always a way to change course and achieve greater heights.
Listen to the interview below:

Here’s a breakdown of the topics:
0:02:10 – His beginnings as a producer
0:09:50 – Co-producing Common’s first album Can I Borrow a Dollar?
0:15:00 – Producing Common’s breakout single, “Soul by the Pound”
0:19:00 – Learning about record digging from The Beatnuts and Buckwild
0:22:00 – Producing Common’s groundbreaking album Resurrection
0:26:30 – Parting ways with Common
0:39:15 – Mentoring Kanye West
0:45:15 – Period of struggle
0:48:20 – Revitalizing his career with the help of Jermaine Dupri
0:55:20 – Co-producing Jay Z’s The Blueprint 3 and Kanye’s 808s & Heartbreak
1:00:00 – How producing Jay Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” changed his career
1:03:15 – His role at Def Jam and mission to change the major label system
Related: No I.D. on Making of Jay Z’s ‘D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)’