ROC, Paper and Syzzurp…
So we just learned what we already expected. Jay-Z has cut everyone off from the Def Jam trust fund otherwise known as Roc-A-Fella Records. Everyone that is, except one person. Memphis Bleek. Jay did say that Memph Bleek would be in the will regardless so he does have loyalty to his utmost weedcarrier. I’m not surprised that Beanie and Freeway were scuttled after all either. It’s not as if those dudes weren’t talented, but they were ultimately Dame’s niggas. Jay made sure they stayed on Roc-A-Fella so that Dame couldn’t sign them to help him rebuild his brand. Where the fuck is Dame now anyway?
Dame Dash built the Roc-A-Fella brand by borrowing the swagger of everyone that came into music before him. Dame set out to mimic Puffy when he converted Jay-Z from a fast rapper into the smooth criminal a la Biggie Smalls. The name Jay-Z itself was a play off the Harlem hustler A-Z that used to run with Alpo and Rich Porter. Dame copied Teddy Riley’s format of new jack swing and used those R & B beats to fuel the backdrop for the greatest rapper of the last ten years. It should be obvious to everyone except Shawn Carter why Roc-A-Fella Records had been so successful. As I look around now I only see the death of a dynasty.
Even with all of the individual success of Jay-Z there were still some areas that Dame Dash missed that someone with Puffy’s attention to detail would have not let slip. Roc-A-Fella never found a talented female to add to their movement. They flirted with several chicks including Charli Baltimore, but none of them had the staying power. Compare Murda Inc to the Roc and you can see that Irv brought up Ashanti and Vita to complement the testosterone on his label. Not having a female presence on the label hasn’t meant as much recently in rap music. I suppose that females have finally grown tired of bobbing their heads to their own gang bang. Plus there are enough fag ass rappers anyway to make a Lifetime talkshow.
First Death Row and now Roc-A-Fella Records. You see that record labels have a hard time surviving when you separate them from the founders who had the vision in the first place and the charisma to make it happen. This kind of reminds me of the civil rights movement after the losses of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X who were both fiercely committed and passionate about getting out their dreams. When you remove that leader the movement erodes and crumbles. I’m not trying to infer that Roc-A-Fella Records was as socially relevant as the civil rights movement because I think it was even more important. That civil rights shit was all about trying to help disenfranchised people get some social, political and economic equity in their lives.
Roc-A-Fella Records has made a point to publish music that celebrates the exploitation of the disenfranchised and the marginalized. This is music that celebrates the victimization of the poor through conspicuous consumption and narcotics abuse. If you own land in the United States and the means to manufacture goods then you need a record label like Roc-A-Fella which promotes the ideals of the rich getting richer and the poor remaining in the barrel to claw their way up to the top like crabs. If you were smart enough to remove the veil then you would see that the demise of Roc-A-Fella Records is actually a good thing for Hip-Hop and for social justice. You prah’lee can’t see that far though so keep crying in your cereal for the return of Chris and Neef.