JAY-Z is backed by The Roots in 2001 MTV Unplugged album.
In an interview with Sway, Roots' member Black Thought explained that the reason The Roots agreed to doing the performance with Hov is that they were going to include a cypher with two other huge rap heavyweights.
However, Jay backed out of that at the last minute. [Jump to two minutes.]
"When we did the Unplugged joint, he was rocking with the band. The reason why I agreed to him rocking with the Roots was because it was supposed to be a part of that performance where he and I freestyle. It was supposed to be him, me, maybe Eminem, maybe Nas. It was supposed to be like a little cypher section. For whatever reason, he wound up changing the performance. I ain't really want make to a big deal about it so I let him still rock out with the band," Black Thought explained.
Was Hov wise to avoid Black Thought, Eminem and Nas in a cypher setting?