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.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

  • ike


  • The Dynasty

    You think he kept Memph? I think Jay did him dirty too, I think he had to keep kanye (I mean he is the cash cow) and now a days rappers are selling their souls for money. Maybe this proves more to the Jay-Z = Michael Jordan of rap comparisons. MJ sucks at being in the front office just like Jay and they both should have never came back out of retirement.

    • missile 6000

      But, what they thought was going to happen when Jay stepped down from Def Jam. He don’t even own roc a fella no more, he was just the president. Don’t nobody remember that the label got sold. I’m sure the people he still wanna fuck wit will get picked up by the new label he get on.

  • BIG O

    dont believe everything you read.i doubt jay really did that shit.cuz i dont even think he believes he can do that shit and still have fans

  • E

    If it is true, it makes sense. All of those dude’s careers are dead and stinkin anyway. The game is dead, it has nothin to do with labels no longer having their “visionaries”……..

  • b-ease

    Pretentious, hypocritical bullshit.

    And poorly written to boot.

    • Mean Greene

      ^Well, my work here is done…

  • LowEndOfDaChi


    The Duck Down Camp is all about the advancement of the disenfranchised.

    • EReal

      Whos the brokest rapper you know? heh.

  • moresickaMC

    Rocafella had a good run but all good things come to an end. We can savour those 98-2002 memories. I guess it marks the end of an era….let the Soulja Boys take over..*cringe*

    ….or let hip-hop die.

    where am I going to for breakfast?….Rocafella y’all!

  • ri067953

    Yo, Jay was and is Roc-a-Fella. I remember that line about Memph…but what about Kanye? I thought he was Roc-a-Fella? I guess he built his own brand so it doesn’t affect him in the least. Dame made some moves but without talent, there is no record label. That is like Barry Gordy without Marvin, Smokey and The Four Tops. So, the Roc’s talent wasn’t performing, because I know for damn sure I was not checking for now Chris or Neff album. Matter of fact, nobody on the roc really made any noise outside of the east. Being from Cali, I knew very few people who were checking for their roster outside of Jay. Beans and Free will survive because they have talent and keep it raw, but they are going to see some very hard times. Beans and Free need to go to Koch and bubble on the humble.

  • websince1982

    whether true or not, the roc needs to some new life





    “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.”

    infer? get a dictionary nigga. infer doesn’t mean imply.

    and that civil rights comparison is ridiculous…

  • Trey Stone

    that “social justice” bit = retarded. you’re trying too hard.

    • Tray

      No, ersatz Tray, music does mean something. Someone like Nas, however confused his politics is, did have a positive message, as did the Wu, as did Pac (though as a rapper he kinda sucked); Jay’s message was basically “get rich off crackheads.” Even when he speaks on the hood, it’s really just all about his experiences, his struggle, how we should be grateful that Hov sold crack so hopefully we won’t have to go through that. Minority Report was his sole attempt at some kind of social consciousness ever and it was the biggest shit sandwich of a song I ever heard. Just some narcissistic tripe about how he wonders if he donated enough to relief efforts. Of course, the flaw in Billy’s post is that the Roc dying changes nothing as far as that shit goes. Actually, it’s a loss, given that Free and Beans were at least somewhat attuned to issues of social justice.

  • Ghost Deini

    You know what, that was really good. Welcome Back Billy.

  • fg

    i refuse to beleive this rumor.the def jam rep telling them that was prolly jays way of saying leave if u aint happy here.dont mean they actually left.

    any who lets see how well they do without jay.

  • Ali

    i don’t believe this yet….but even if it’s true, tha only thing i care about is that Freeway & Sigel keep makin’ music cuz they’re both hip-hop at it’s truest form…those dudes can rap, period…….we obviously know Jay is unaffected so that’s nuthin’ to worry about

  • the general

    this is the worst article ive ever read in my entire life – get your facts straight.

  • Maddolies

    Damn Jay really did them dirty.. Its a shame cause The Roc was a real weapon at one point when they had Dipset signed with them. But i guess money changes people.

  • b-ease


    Your gross oversimplification of Jay’s catalogue speaks well to your obvious bias.

    • Tray

      Actually, I really liked Jay until The Black Album. And I still listen to his old stuff, although Reasonable Doubt’s kind of dated, Volume 2 really sucks, Volume 1′s really hit-or-miss, Volume 3 and Blueprint are lyrically pretty lazy… to tell you the truth, I think a lot of his best stuff is on Blueprint 2. Amazingly talented rapper, no doubt. But I don’t think he had very much to say.

  • Rizzop2003

    “Someone like Nas, however confused his politics is, did have a positive message, as did the Wu, as did Pac (though as a rapper he kinda sucked”

    Tupac didnt suck you must be 19

  • Jericho

    Tupac did suck…

    • Kev Lomax

      Nah, he just wasn’t lyrical.

      C’mon you can’t listen to Me Against The World or Makaveli all the way through?

  • thoreauly77

    yes, it is true.

    tupac was a crappy rapper.

  • green eyes

    wow, excellent peice, particularly the comparison to the civil rights movement and how it was derailed to an extent following the deaths of its most significant and vocal leaders. Theres a certainly a correlation between the start of hip hop and the end of the organized civil rights movement, and perhaps it offers a telling glimpse into what hip hop has to look forward. my hope is it allows the bullshit to be cast aside, and a rebirth to occur that brings true hip hop back, not a bunch of dick riding cosigning sell outs.

  • Were Read 2 Def

    Can we jus realized that Jay can spit…point blank period. Fuck politics.


    Tupac sucking as rapper is the most ignorant shit to come from you punks listed above mouths. Greastest rapper, and top selling rap artist of all time bitches.

  • Jericho

    Top Selling Rap Artist of all Time- Yes!
    Crappiest Rapper of All Time-Yes!

  • Sir Nose D’Voidofwhatyawtalkinaboutrighnow

    Of all the weird sciences sold on the street; loyalty takes the cake. What other invisible handshake has the strength of momentum to attach affiliations to movements long after the steam has become stale. Allegiance to an imprint? We are talking about self proclaimed hustlers that scraped the bottom of the barrel (to pun off Holiday) and sacrificed sleep to push their product – if not as a means to be heard, than to the end of being heard by a label. The after aligned with an industry manufacturer of music product, the hustlers switch off their “grind til Im gone” chip and watch their livelihood dissolve, like they’re frozen by the prospect of pitting their code of loyalty (to the association and its alignment to their own livelihood) against the reality of business, self accountability and the rule “ain’t a man alive free of flaw – so if you decide to follow one, stand ready to press on once he falls”. Holiday’s take wasn’t bad, but the cat isn’t a journalist so I guess I can’t expect him or anyone at XXL online to actually verify with a Def Jam exec or A&R wtf really went down (now if the mag side of the house doesn’t, there is a problem with mgmt). But as far as loyalty is involved, the writing is on the wall when grown men handle their affiliations in business the same way some of us did as kids in the projects.

    • Colron

      Good quote.

  • dameSTAtus

    Preface: I really own care if the author, Bol, Combat Jack, or YN read my comment:

    >Great writing BS. Again, your continuing desire to touch upon REAL social issues (like the ultra-glorification of Crack dealing) is ruffling a few feathers. “Can’t we just talk about his flow?” (Hilarity).

    >Tupac Shakur really was a great rapper, and I’m long past debating people about it. Biggie was really great too, and a more witty (wittier?) lyricist to boot. I’m always amazed at how any rapper gains a good command of the english language, when hardly any of them went to college. I know Guru attended (graduated?) Morehouse, and David Banner attended (maybe) Mississippi State? But Banner doesn’t strike me as really employing any lyrical/vocabulary “deepness” (I digress…)

    >Not to get all insult-y, but all the “Fanboys”
    who are suggesting that “Jay couldn’t really do this, it would affect his sales”, are really dense.

    Uhuru and Vote Obama.


  • jon thomas

    Usually your on point but for somebody that was around, Dame Dame did none of that. Your givin him way too much credit. Dude ran his mouth, and ran Rocafella into the ground before he was dumped.

    Your givin him mad credit comparing him to Puff & Big

  • Crocker

    “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.”

    Sunday, I hope your not trying to imply that Beans and Free aren’t talented emcees. While there’s probably a good argument you can make for Freeway, there’s nothing you can tell me about Beans. Nothing. And for the record, Pac was a over-dramatic, soap-opera-ish, wannabe Blood ass fink. Nullus motherfucker.

  • phatsam

    I wasn going to comment on this but this dude tray or anybody else should be slaped for saying pac sucked as a rapper pac wasnt the greatest at picking beats but lyrics was always tight on every song and he talked about real shit and when he rapped abut positive shit it moved peole because thats was truly apart of his personality. nas trys to coppy but it dsent have the same effect like pac said nas if fake a swagger jacker from rakim to pac.

  • therealwayno

    Each one of these ex ROC boys need to get in the drivers seat or fall back anyway. Create your own brand, market yourself and make these labels pay attention. Kanye is the perfect example. He would have blown with or without Jay and the ROC. You can’t ride a nigga coat-tails forever. Get busy.

  • cashmoneybaby!

    it boils down to bread and state p jus’ ain’t got no cake…me on the other hand I’m a diffrent story! nigga deaf folsk hear me spendin’

  • og bobby j

    to say 2pac is trash is the same as looking in the mirror and saying your gay.

  • Jericho


  • crocker

    Then call me Ru-Fucking-Paul, cause Pac was mediocre at best.

    • og bobby j

      lol that shit was funny. I think pac gets a little more respect off the stregnth of his influence rather then his skills on the mic. But you definately cant call him mediocre….he wasnt overly lyrical, but his shit wasnt jumbled either. He spit with a purpose…..thats all im sayin.

  • b-ease

    Kev Lomax,

    No. No I can’t listen to Me Against the World all the way thru. “Get Away”? “Fuck the World”? “Old School”? Shitty songs any way you slice it.

    • therealwayno

      What more can I say, I wouldn’t be here today if the old school didn’t pave the way…

      That shit was nice.

      Why you mad? Tell em why you mad son!

  • DJ Daddy Mack



    I feel sorry for Uncle Murda tho.

    Nice comparison of the civil rights movement to the ROC.

    On the subject of civil rights, it seems like kids my age and under forgot about it like it did not matter.

  • Zo

    Who the fuck are these young dumb fucks talkin bout 2Pac sucked??? That nigga paved the way for all the wanna be gangsta ass nigga’s now. Lil Wang, Lil Scrappy, Lil who the eva!!! Show some fucken respect for niggas that put this road down for you’r sorry ass to walk on!!! Bitch made youngsters!!!

    • LowEndOfDaChi

      So if you weren’t feeling Pac you’re automatically a young dumb fuck?

      Even if you felt cats like Rakim, Ice Cube, or even Biggie?

      Those guys aren’t new artists, are they?

  • Rizzop

    Every fucking rapper calling themselves a thug wit tats all over is tupacs kids. All eyes on me went fucking diamond. These dude has like 20 albums and died early as hell.Ya’ll listen to his first to his last album and you’ll understand,but i doubt ya’ll could name all his albums without googling that shit, but your favorite rapper could. That dude had a whole coast scared to got to cali….off of rap!

  • Nebuchadnezzar

    2pac Wack = Blasphemy

    “The love”
    I agree on the fact that he wasn’t that lyrically but he was an artist, a poet. Similar to Leonardo Da Vinci, this guy wasn’t the best painter of his time either but his art is timeless, it meant something just as Pac’s is. When this man spoke you felt what he felt it moved people and he was socially conscience. He spoke on topics that pertained to our community. This is what made hime great. Pac had a destiny, too bad he was in control of it.

    “The hate”
    Fuck Rocafella as staff, label and as a muthafucking crew. And if you wanna be down the Rocafella then fuck you too. DEF Jam fuck you too. I’m mad at myself to buying into hip hop all this time. This shit is dead son. It’s not an art no more it’s the witness protecton program for Fags (Lil Wayne – since when could a man kiss another man on the lips and still be a gangsta) and dumbass dope boi’s (TI). These corporate companies is funneling there money into hip-hop to keep us down and disinfranchised. Wake the fuck up people of color. Oh yeah Tupac was pussy too (Niggas in Bmore and Oakland know the truth) as much as I hate to say it. The South didn’t kill hip hop generation Y did. So why in the fuck am I worried about Rap nigga I got kids to feed word to my daughters. You fuckmeat wolf bitches!

  • dameSTAtus

    Yep Rizzop. West coast represent.

    I don’t advocate violence, but 40 water ALSO had dudes “mad” shoooooooook (no ballerina p) back in the day! (Now you know these young bucks from low end chi or whatever they pseudo-claim will not give Earl Stevens his props either, but my OG Chi town heads do!)

    Peep the Biggie video w/ Mr. Cee!!

    • LowEndofDaChi


      Do you even know what the Low End is?

      Have you even been to Chicago before?

      I love how cats resort to taking cheap shots instead of addressing actual logic.

      The only song I ever really felt from Earl Stevens was Sprinkle Me. Dude’s whole catalogue is wack juice as far as I’m concerned, and his success is pretty much limited to the West Coast (the Bay to be specific).

      Pac gets alot of love out here in the Chi, but my whole point with the other post was to show that age doesn’t have a whole lot to do with whether or not you felt Pac. I thought I made that point clear when I mentioned artists like Rakim and Ice Cube who were relevant years before Pac experienced his career defining success.

      Hip Hop needs more fans who are critical thinkers and less lames who are quick to jump the gun and make arguments from simple issues of black and white.

      There’s plenty of gray area in this game.

  • john doe

    the reason rocafella fell apart is becuase they only had one home run hitter in jay-z those other dudes did not sell records. rocafella bitch ass nigga is the product of the civil rights movement you had jigs able to earn some money and express themselves. they did’t have the money they led you to believe or the acts of violence but they was gettin paper billy bitch sunday


    All those ROC artists should be able to do for themselves what Dame was doing for them back in the Backstage era. They don’t seem to have much room to complain, especially with all that talk of long money, extra Bentleys and access to weight. If you had it like you said it, you’d be fine with or without Jay. Maybe rappers lie.

    Pac left a little to desire on his lyrics (nolo). But he had a big heart and an open mind, and you could always tell he was on the right side of things when he wasn’t caught up in street b.s.

    The good thing for Pac was that since he didn’t always try to impress you lyrically, he could surprise you every once in a while.

    • LowEndOfDaChi

      Pac left a little to desire on his lyrics (nolo). But he had a big heart and an open mind, and you could always tell he was on the right side of things when he wasn’t caught up in street b.s.

      On the high.

  • J. Kizzle

    The end of Rocafella! Can anyone say Dip Set?