JAY-Z Reveals The Origin Of Roc-A-Fella’s “Diamond” Hand-Sign

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JAY-Z has revealed the origin of the famous “diamond” hand-sign he first made popular during his rap career and has since become a staple within pop culture.

During Hov’s CBS Mornings interview with Gayle King, the 53-year-old provided insight into the backstory behind the sign, which he credits to his desire to see artists on Roc-A-Fella Records reach diamond certification.

“When we first started, we had a group called Christion,” JAY-Z told King when asked of the inspiration behind the iconic hand gesture. “When you sell 10 million, you go diamond, right? We believed in them so heavy, we was like, this group is going to sell 10 million records,” the billionaire recalled.

“So, we started putting the diamond up for Christion. That’s how it all came about. And then we started playing with it, and then we started doing it at shows. Then the whole crowd started doing it, and it stuck.”

JAY-Z Throwing Up "Diamond" Sing
Rapper Jay-Z (L) and Jamal Crawford of the New York Knicks arrive at the after party for a concert to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his first album, “Reasonable Doubt” at the Rainbow Room June 25, 2006 in New York City.

Christión, an R&B group comprised of brothers Allen Anthony and Kenni Ski, signed with Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996, releasing their debut album Ghetto Cyrano in 1997. Led by the hit single “Full of Smoke,” the album peaked at No. 23 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and was the group’s lone album release on the label.

JAY-Z’s CBS Mornings interview, which took place at the rapper’s Book Of HOV exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library, finds the hitmaker turned business tycoon recounting various tidbits about his illustrious career. In a clip from the interview released last week, the criminal justice reform advocate shared the backstory to how he came to be known by the nickname “One-Take Hov.”

JAY-Z Wearing Sunglasses
Jay-Z attends the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony for DJ Khaled on April 11, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

“This was when you were recording to actual tape,” he says, referring to the tedious process of laying down vocals at the time. “So, you can’t mess up, ‘cause then you got to go all the way back and cut the tape.”

“That’s where the whole ‘One-Take HOV’ came from,” he adds. “Because if you wanted a fly chorus on this thing, you had to go to dinner. It took an engineer hours to cut the tape… fly it over here… So I start learning my lyrics really good so I could do them one time—you understand—straight down, and I didn’t waste time.”

See JAY-Z’s CBS Mornings interview with Gayle King below.

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