Da Roc Boys

What’s the state of Roc-A-Fella Records at this point?
Um, I won’t call it reunite ‘cause we never really went anywhere. But, the perception of it is we did. We’re still here—Kanye’s album came out, my album came out last year, regardless of how your view is of Kingdom Come, double platinum album, you know what I’m saying? Kanye had a triple platinum album, so you know, we’ve still been doing what we been doing, we just didn’t have that run. People used to that run, you know. So I want to put that back together. Kanye just came out. My album comes out then Freeway and Beans to end the year. And then you know, maybe start up next year with Chris and Tru Life and everybody together and take that run at it again. Everybody is clicking on all cylinders.
The thing about Roc-A-Fella is when we had what we had; it was a bunch of hungry guys. You got a bunch of hungry guys, throw ‘em in a pit you going to get some amazing music. You know, think of all the stuff that came out of Baseline. You know, all them records came out of one place. Them records were descended around Blueprint. Like, I was doing that album and people was peeking in and everybody was like, “What did you take?”
People were coming to studio before I got there after I left. I would walk in the studio and be like, “Nah you should say the hook like—boom, flip it like this on this type of shit.” Everybody was inspiring each other. So it’s hard to get that thing again ‘cause everybody is everywhere. If I had advice for any crew, I’d just say, “Yo, go somewhere together.” If you go somewhere together and you put a new crew of hungry guys in one place the results are going to be there.
Let’s talk about Tru Life and Uncle Murder. What attracted you to each of them to bring ‘em to Roc-A-Fella?
It was more on who they are. I’m attracted to superstars. I think they both stars in they own right. Tru Life is an absolute superstar. I think you can figure out the rest. Snoop Dogg is a superstar, however he rhymes. He’s going to be a superstar forever. He couldn’t ever had a punchline his whole life, but his flow is… He could just talk over the record. I think what Uncle Murder is, is a movie. Like he represents the come-up. That Brownsville, I-will-never-go-around-there type come-up. Like, what’s going on around there?
I think people were surprised that you signed Murder cause his image initially overshadowed his skills. But I think people see him developing—
Yeah, that’s what happens. And that’s another thing about people now. People don’t process things. They don’t let things happen. Everything has to happen now. People listen to a song one time and they have an opinion on you. How? How? You can’t process a song the first time you hear it. You gotta—you definitely don’t know what the guy is saying all the way. Right? It could be some things you miss. I think it’s too fast. You gotta let people grow. He’s a star. Like, Rhianna. She wasn’t Rhianna when I signed her. She definitely wasn’t that girl. She actually wasn’t the girl that’s on TV now. But I seen the star. Right? That’s the skeleton, right. The foundation. You take that and you let them grow. Let ‘em grow. You let ‘em grow. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing and you know, some people fulfill there expectations, some people crash along the way. And that’s why we have tough love. We’re building the tough ones. We’re not just putting it out—overnight. Nah, you put in your work. At least here you do. It ain’t never been any different.
So are you saying it wasn’t that you didn’t believe in Kanye, it’s that he just had to pay dues? Are you shocked that Kanye ascended to a superstar in his own right?
As a solo artist? Yes. But not after his first album. When I first heard the album, I was like, “Oh, he’s good.” When the album starts coming in. Before the album start coming in he would just rhyme—you don’t understand… He would, rhyme, rhyme, rhyme. And he had great music and I seen that so many times. So my advice to him was like, “Yo, you can make seven albums a year. You don’t have to make one. You can be on everybody’s album. That’s what I want to see.” But he wanted to be an artist. So we was like, “Ok, let’s keep him close, he’s genius as far as making music, and we’ll figure that part out.” He started making the College Dropout album, it was like, “Whoa. We’re not just appeasing this guy. He’s making a good album.” So, that’s us. Our relationship is like that because that’s us. That’s Roc-A-Fella Records. If you know anybody, you know how we are; it’s tough love, bruh. You’re not going to be given anything. And if your personality can’t handle that, you’re going to have a problem with that. And you’re going to hear the truth of what people think about your shit.
Obviously everyone keeps asking you about your reaction to the “Big Brother” song. When he first played it for you was it a lot for you to take?
No, it was great. I was actually—I was like “Shit.” It was emotional. Not emotional like crying, but song cry.
[Laughs]
I was more so, “Wow, he made that record. Like, how big of a record.” For me, it was a big thing. People aren’t confrontational and they don’t want to confront their problems and they don’t want to admit certain things and say certain things. I was taken back, like, “Wow.” And the hook is outrageous technically. “My big brother was Big’s brother/Used to be Dame and Biggs’ brother.” It was a string of how he put the hook together, “Who was No ID friend, and No ID is my mentor now let the story begin.” It was big on so many levels. I think it’s the second best record that he wrote since “Jesus Walks.” Anytime people dancing about Jesus in the club with champagne in their hands, I don’t think anyone’s ever done that.
[Laughs]
But what’s brilliant about the record is that it helped him grow. Because it was going in the wrong. It coulda went the other way. He coulda just been behind my back talked about it and been upset but he put it out there. And it made us tighter. It made the relationship stronger. It was like, “Wow,” come give me a hug. It was like a big thing for him—and for me too. He was saying a lot of great things too. You don’t say that in hip-hop we don’t love our brother! [Laughs] Wow, he loves his brother. It’s not very hip-hop, but it’s actually more gangsta than anything because it was his honest and true emotion. That’s why you let everything out as an artist. Right, wrong, or indifferent—you know, whatever it is. Even if what he’s saying is not completely accurate. It’s ok because it his truth and he’s letting it go. And we can talk about it now.
So with the whole 50 thing, were you surprised he won the SoundScan battle?
I knew he’d beat him the whole time. What 50 didn’t know was that Kanye is an artist. There’s no way he could lose. If 50 won, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The album that this guy made—I knew it was going to be hard to beat that album. So whether you beat the sales figure or not, there’s no way around it. The guy’s an artist. At the end of the day people are going to look at the albums. That’s it. So I knew there was no losing in that.
It was Kanye who came up with the idea to go head-to-head right? Were you with the idea at first?
To be honest with you, Kanye called me and I was like, “Man, you ready for that?! ‘cause I know 50. He’s liable to trip ya girlfriend in the party. You ready?’” You know, I thought it was great. Fantastic. Took me 2 seconds. I mean, no one’s going to get hurt. 50 Cent sold a gang of records. You know what I’m saying? Maybe his ego is bruised a little bit, but he sold 700,000 records.
I think people are surprised Beans is back with the Roc and got a single featuring R. Kelly. What happened? You and Kells made peace?
Nah! Nah! I don’t care about none of that. I’m not that guy. I’m not the guy that’s going to try to stop anybody or stop anybody’s way of artistically expressing each other. He’s on Jeezy’s album. Ross. I mean everything is everything. Like, our relationship is not in the right place. That has nothing to do with Beanie. Beans wants to do a record with R. Kelly—fantastic. I hope it’s great. We ain’t gotta have dinner at the studio together, but make the record.

  • http://arrogantveggies.blogspot.com Joshton Peas

    1st.

    i havent even read it

  • chello

    hov’s a smart dude, people think he dont know what hes doing. he does his thing, most of the artists are big, and a lot of the pople on def jam or whereever that dont sell, arent making that good of music really, but i hope the roc comes back

  • http://arrogantveggies.blogspot.com joshton peas

    when is my 1st gonna pop up.

    • 3269

      When it comes to the music the roc is always on point.When it comes to the business the roc is always on point. Kanye got the chart on lock right now. Jay bout to drop his new shit and aint no telling how much history that about to make. Beans on the way with “The Solution” that fire I know.Them niggas making happen right now.

  • DannyPhantom

    1st…haha always wanted to say that big up to jay and im feeling the comments about Kells pretty much money over bitching ya dig…

  • skiittles

    Im number one, one, one, one

  • Banton

    fUCK JAY

    • Sandra

      Why do you hate THE GREATEST RAPPER ALIVE?

    • zimbo$

      fuck jay??? nah fck u SISI…

  • AZ40

    I think the thing at def jam is chemistry niggas be too ego tripped out to work w/ anyone else, but if you gonna put out an artist don’t just promote him the week before he come out it is like a 50/50 thing I don’t wanna see Redman in the streets going hard and you just puttin a video out the week before his album come out. As many artist as they have on def jam they can’t have more than 10 platinum artist (hip hop), even fewer multiplatinum, and a shit load of gold and less caliber artist.

  • Mr.718

    BROWNSVILLE BROOKLYN REPRESENT! LEGION STREET IN HERE. KEEP DOIN IT HOV.

  • JAYSTONE

    J-hova speaks.have you wayne stans hear the track jay z did with him.thats the wost lyrcis i have ever not forgetting his funny voice.shit t-pain is better than him.

  • Mr.718

    EAT A DIDICK BITCH ASS BANTON! HOW YOU GONNA HATE YOUR FAVORITE RAPPER’S FAVORITE RAPPER? FUCK OUTTA HERE.

  • http://kellsfetish.com Lo-Doe

    Nice interview. Can’t wait for that Roc-a-Fella marathon. He could have mentioned Bleek album. The post actually was about his relationship with Kanye & an update of them 2.

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  • Casey

    LOL @ saying Jesus Walks is the best record Kanye wrote…it’s ‘Fest’s record!

  • dolo

    Lol @ this bs … rocafella didn’t make great records , it was just jigga and the late arrival of kanye (who jay z wants to take credit for now). Everyone else was a bunch of weed carriers who needed jigga on they album.How is tru life gonna be a superstar if he aint even dropping official music.

  • http://xxlmag.com houston’s finest

    after the camel drops, the bricks start from the roc……a young chris album? that has brick written all over it

  • JAYSTONE

    YN go and fit this shitty site.it takes long for the comments to post.WTF!

  • cheachea

    i like jay, he’s a honest dude

    plus he’s been instrumental in kanye and lupe being who they are, and they’re the best artists out right now

    big props to the big homie

    he’s one bullet away from being the undisputed greatest of all time but real talk, the game needs him, so i hope he never gets caught up in no bullsh!t. big and pac might have been corny if they kept rapping into old age but jay never got corny

    props again to the big homie, he’s holdin it down

  • http://www.cocaineblunts.com/ noz

    where’s peedi?

  • N.O. 4 life

    bruh i really think that yn is on jigga and roc a fella’s nuts toooo hard….it doesnt make any sense to me

    • http://xxlBlog BK Repper

      Its funny you say that cause i feel the same way about wayne it doesnt make sense

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  • Dan99

    I pick pats over colts, and kobe traded to chicago.

  • http://www.miclowreyintro.blgspot.com Mic Lowrey

    HELLO THERE PEOPLE

    This is for YN why dont you create a small Magazine for the making of the American Gangster Album I mean it would have the pictures of the artist and producers that made this work of art that you guys keep speaking on possible, I mean it would be perfect and not only that it would make an incredible keep sake, it could be for like the first some odd people who bought the album and the advertisers are easy, all the Def Jam new stuff as well as Budweiser Select (Hov was an exec for that) Rocawear (why they didnt bid more for the NETS stadium that would of been a god look for hip hop, imagine Marv Albert saying “Live from Rocawear Stadium in East Rutherford”) Reebok (bout time for some new S Dots) Pro Keds (Rocawear have the license deal with them) HP Computers I mean the synergy would be great and it would be unprecedented (besides the lovely XXL Summer Jam mag-it could be just like it) somebody need to do it, and it could have interviews with the stars of the movie the director, producer, it would be an event mag and the best part is that it would be free and Hov could explain each song like he did when he first previewed it for the audience, this would be monumental

  • mega_tron_201

    good read imo.
    I feel what Jay was sayin ….Kanye def. showed his skills and creativity with that song “big brotha”, at first when I heard it, I’m like damn he really sayin that, played the song over and was like damn kid put it all out there, got it off his chest….let the world know he admires and looks up to Jay and admits to mistakes hes made….that song is one of the best REALEST songs I have ever heard coming out of a rapper……anyone can talk about guns, drugs, etc…..but Kanye killt it with that song……rappers need to step their game up to compete with this cat…….cant wait for that Beanie album(heard some songs, sick flow!! the one on dj khaled album, dope!!), and also the new Luda album, Luda has one of the sickest flows out right now, his verse on the “im so hood remix” was crazy and the “freakie girl” remix…his flows sick man…………………
    Luda has the sickest flow in the south right now, no one can even come close….hes been droppin albums every yr consistantly, awsome punchline, sick verses, overshadows everyone on remixes….Luda = best in the south imo

  • SPACEMANRAM

    Like it or not, Jay makes superstars.
    Kanye,Beans,Ne-Yo,Rihanna,Jeezy………
    Need I say more?

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  • 3269

    See that why in my opinion u got to respect that man cause his hustle is to strong at the end of the day it all about the music and the money and he lets nothing or no one that in the way of that. That what it about handle your business.

  • 3269

    I respect Jay on what he is speaking about that boy know good business when he see it. The Roc to me had never fell off not with artists like beans, kanye, and Jay, all three of them can carry the roc all by their self.Not to mention the State proterty fam. I wonder is the young gunz gon drop again? The Roc aint going nowhere trust me it will always be around some way some how

  • Henzo Matsala aka Fuck Losers

    Fuck J.Hova
    Fuck rock-a-fella as a staff, record label and as a muthafucken crew.
    And if you wanna be down with rocka, fuck you two.

    Where my nigga Luda, why can’t he be feutured in your mag, matter of fact I rate his album an xxl *3

  • HOVITO

    HOV TAKES CREDIT FOR EVERTHING..DAME IS THE ONE WHO BROUGHT KANYE ON BOARD IN THE FIRST PLACE BUT JAY TENDS TO STEAL EVERYBODYS CREDIT. JAY DOESNT GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE FANS HE JUST WANTS HIS MONEY. DUDE IS CHARGING $100 A TICKET FOR HIS AG TOUR. BEYONCE GOT THIS CAMEL FUCK PUSSY WHIPPED. NAS COMPLETELY BODIED THIS FUCK ON EITHER..WHATVER ELSE IS IRRELEVENT.

  • THE SOUTH IS A JOKE

    NAS BODIED HOV…JIGGA AINT BEEN THE SAME SINCE I DONT CARE WHAT LABEL NAS IS SIGNED TO HE BODIED THIS CAMEL FUCK AND THE WHOLE ROCAFELLA….THAT WAS A 1 PUNCH KNOCK OUT…ALL YOU SOUTHERN SOULJA BOY FUCKS OUT THERE TAKE NOTES. THAT SOUTHERN SHIT IS JIGGABOO MINSTREL MUSIC. THEM NIGGAS IS JUST SHUCKIN AND JIVING AND HAPPY TO MAKE A LITTLE CHANGE. LIL WEEZY AND BABY ARE BUTTFUCKS.

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