Jay spoke with The Los Angeles Times in a recent interview and brought it back to his younger days when he first started touring and doing live performances.

The rapper admits that he was a terrible performer and it was his 1999 tour with DMX that made him step his game up. He credits X for helping with his stage presence, saying:

“All my early years? Forget it. I was a horrible performer. DMX had me really working. But I had to figure this out. If you want to be a headliner, you better put on a headline show.”

Jay then goes into how he doesn’t just study rappers performances, but opens his minds to all genres in how to captivate his audiences.

“In hip-hop, there’s not many great performers.  I look outside the genre, measuring myself against others.  I look at Madonna’s production and envy that. Daft Punk’s set, I’m like, what the… And I look at the way U2 can command an audience. Bono’s a performer pretty much like I am. He’s not a dancer; he’s not jumping around.  He’s having a conversation.  He’s using his stillness as movement.”

Jay’s come a long way since his touring dates with DMX, I bet back then he would have never thought that it would be possible to sell out the Garden in one day, but he’s proved it is…many times over.