Cringeworthy Footage from Nas's Botched Audition for Cam'Ron's Role in 'Paid in Full' Surfaces Online

Fans think it led to his beef with JAY-Z, who was a co-producer on the film

BY Ben OkazawaPublished Nov 16, 2023

Nas might be one of the most prolific rappers of all time, but, as proven by Vanilla Ice, the Weeknd and several others, music skills don't always translate to the screen. If you need more proof, look no further than the New York hip-hop legend's audition for the 2002 semi-biographical Harlem crime drama Paid in Full

The role he went out for, ultimately landed by Harlem native Cam'Ron, was that of Rico, who's based loosely on notorious drug kingpin Alpo Martinez. 

From an uncomfortable delivery of the lines — which he was stumbling over anyway — to what locals are calling a weak attempt at a Harlem accent, it's needless to say he didn't land the part. 

Fans have speculated online that the botched audition might've led to the well-documented, long-time beef between Nas and JAY-Z, who co-produced the flick. 

"I know (co-producer) Dame Dash was dying laughing in Nas face," a commenter shared on X (formerly Twitter). "Nas ran up out of there and went home and wrote [JAY-Z diss track] Ether."

Grainy footage of both Nas and Yasiin Bey's (formerly Mos Def) auditions from the early 2000s was shared on Instagram this week by Paid in Full star Wood Harris, who shared his own insight on the casting. 

"[Cam'Ron] probably knew about Nas auditioning. I had no idea. The great [Yasiin Bey] woulda been dope.
It woulda been very different," he wrote. 

Harris also shared a clip of the final dialogue with him and Cam'Ron that Nas and Bey used in their audition tapes, which you can watch below. 

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