Now, I get where Charlamagne is coming from. Jay, for the most part, never really got involved in petty foolishness (aside from his "beef" with, like, Game, his stuff with Dame, etc.). He usually, in his own words, got on that "I put my niggas on, my niggas put their niggas on" tip and helped out those he was cool with. For instance, Memphis Bleek. I'm not going to rant on Memp's skills or lack of a cohesive project (he had bars, but he couldn't, to me, put out a really cohesive project; that's all I'll say). But, again, the point's there. However, for someone to say that Jay never sold out? Eh...I've gotta call bullshit on that, to a degree.
While he never got to that prima donna status as some rap superstars get to, he's done his fair share of selling out (and not just concerts). Now, I'm a Jay fan. I've always been, even when he drops clunkers like MCHG. But, the dude's had some pretty sell-out moments. For instance, getting his "oh, I'ma go and sell liquor and buy the fuck outta clubs" shit on. That's entrepreneurial as hell. I want to get to the point where I can get money to buy clubs and part-owner spots on NBA teams. But some of that money came from dropping some pretty corny-ass pop-rap songs. Were they better than most pop-rap in 2016? Hell yeah. But, they were still corny-ass pop-rap tracks.
To continue a bit on his potential sell-out moments, let's look at some of those corny-ass pop-rap tracks. Before Jay was doing duets with JT, he had a more-sizeable-than-you'd-expect chunk of post-Reasonable Doubt albums In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life get on some head-scratching shit. Seriously, Hov. "I Know What Girls Like?" "Sunshine?" "Money Ain't a Thang?" Even though the last one bangs still, it was still pop-rap, shiny suit-esque wonkiness. Wonkiness that helped get you over into the mainstream, which isn't my point, but still wonkiness that was pretty poppy.
So, as a Jay fan, I can't, in good conscious, say that he never ever sold out. He's done his fair share of it, to me. Sometimes, you've got to do some selling to get folks to notice you. That's just the nature of how this shit works sometimes (and even then, you'll find that artists usually want to go back and do what they wanted to at first, if they're real). However, even though I personally can't say "he never sold out," I do still get where Charlamagne is coming from.