How Damon Dash got Roc-A-Fella Records back

If I’d known that any ol’ douche can resurrect the name of a defunct record label, I would have relaunched Roc-A-Fella Records myself a long time ago.

Alas, Damon Dash beat me to the punch. He recently gave an interview to MTV News in which he explained to them why he decided to relaunch Roc-A-Fella, and it sounds like his claim to that label is hardly any more legitimate than my own. Yeah, he co-founded Roc-A-Fella back in the mid ’90s, along with Jay-Z and that other dude (who must have had pictures of Jay-Z doing something gay); but it’s a well known fact that Jay-Z let the TIs talk him into paying Dame Dash $20 million or some shit for his stake in Roc-A-Fella, Rocawear, and anything else the two of them may have co-owned, back when Jay-Z was installed as the straw boss at Def Jam, Because obviously they couldn’t have had two black guys drawing a substantial paycheck at the same time, and Jay-Z was seen as the most useful of the two of them, even in a label exec capacity. Damn.

Now, you guys know I was pre-med (which is to say I did a lot of self-medicating, for the culturally illiterate amongst us), but I’m pretty sure that was meant to be the end of Damon Dash’s association with Roc-A-Fella Records, regardless of what would ultimately become of the label. But to hear Dame himself tell it, the rights to the label now revert to him, since Jay-Z isn’t doing anything with it.

And I quote:

“Def Jam or Universal bought the brand. I think the ‘beef’ [with us and Jay-Z] was that Jay made it clear he didn’t want me or Biggs to be a part of it. That’s really where it was at. Now that he doesn’t work for Def Jam anymore, he doesn’t have the right to use the name. So there’s no reason for us not to use it. It’s there, and it’s a brand that’s not being used. So I was like, ‘I’ll take it.’ It always meant something to me.”

We know Dame didn’t actually go to Universal and purchase back the rights to the name Roc-A-Fella, because (a) I’m sure the crack team over MTV News would have thought to mention it; and (b) how in the fuck is Damon Dash gonna buy the rights to the name of a famous record label, when everyone knows he doesn’t have any money? A story in New York magazine a while back broke down the current state of Dame’s finances: It might look he’s still got some of that $20 million left, because he’s got that fancy art studio/illegal concert venue down in Tribeca (or some place expensive – I don’t know NY like that), but he doesn’t. He’s still just as broke as he was back when it was revealed that he couldn’t make the note on his Chevy Tahoe. The guy who owns that DD172 building lets him stay there for free, probably in hopes of getting hit with some pussy shrapnel. In that article, it sounded like the place was crawling with extremely tall, extremely skinny modeling chicks, probably drunk and high as shit. Even Mos Def was said to have been walking around with a Rolling Rock, though he later wrote angry letter refuting the claim.

It’s worth checking out the video of Dame announcing the resurrection of Roc-A-Fella, just to get an idea of his thought process at this point. It looks like he may have just spent the entire day smoking weed, and then it occurred to him: why not just relaunch Roc-A-Fella? He’s sitting next to this guy Curren$y (presumably Dame’s attempt at another Jay-Z, per the line on “Lost Ones”), and I don’t know if it’s because he’s from the South, or he was just really high at the time or what, but he sounds downright retarded. He actually kinda sounds the way deaf people sound when they try to talk – like maybe he got his hands on some of the weed that guy was trying to sell Katt Williams. (“This shit right here, nigga!”) Curren$y’s album Pilot Talk(?!) is set to drop June 15th, on Roc-A-Fella Records. Whether that means Dame secured real distribution, or if this is just gonna be a mixtape with the Roc-A-Fella logo on its cover art remains to be seen. Either way, he’ll probably be receiving a call from the legal department at Universal. If his phone is still on…

  • Brahsef

    Currency is legit. No Jay, not even close, but at least Dame isn’t workin with someone wack as fuck.

  • jp

    wtf pilot talk?

  • these posts are racist

    Dame’s understanding of trademark law is clearly off…he should consult an IP attorney quickly.

    • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

      Co-Sign to the fullest.

      In short, shit doesn’t work like that, Dame.

      • EReal

        (presumably Dame’s attempt at another Jay-Z, per the line on “Lost Ones”)
        ^
        The exact same thing that first came to my mind when I read the story.

        Dame Damon Dash says in the story that he has a distribution deal with L.A. Reid, and if Def Jam owns the label, I’m not really sure what exactly Dame is even doing really.

    • freshone

      tpar not getting all the facts straight before he post once again. If you read the story on mtv you would know that def jam owns roc trade mark, and Dame made a deal with la ried to do distribution through them and the trademark. The nigga has mad lawyer and did huge deals.

      • these posts are racist

        Staleone,

        Dame said “…So there’s no reason for us not to use it. It’s there, and it’s a brand that’s not being used. So I was like, ‘I’ll take it.’”

        If he is allowed to “use it” because the entity owning the trademark gave him permission, fine, say it. That may be the case, but he implied it was not.

        In any event, even if he is allowed to use the brand name, does it really mean the same thing? When Dame and Jay rep’d the Roc, it was more than just a name, it was a sign of independence and hustle that went beyond just being controlled by the big record companies…so by using the Roc now, you’re proud to have lost the battle for independence and are celebrating your defeat?

        • http://oicaqt@gmail.com freshone

          tpar Dame does not want it to be the same if you listen to him. And no he did not lose indipendance its a distributiion deal they are taking little if anymoney from def jam. If you want cd in stores like wallmart and best buy you have to have a major doing distribution that just facts. And dont say E1 cus that is just a bum a$s major hiding as a indipendant. The main thing is not taking money from major you have to pay back

        • these posts are racist

          You’re missing my point. Dame/Jay built Roc-a-fella…now neither own it. Using it because a corporation grants you limited rights is symbolic of losing the battle of being independent they originally fought…

        • freshone

          I feeel what your saying but what dame wanted to do with his new outlook on life is not owe “wack world” anything. And to work with them on his terms. And he’s done that. Probably because LA ried is an awful CEO and hes desperate look at the shyne signing. He is more indipendant now that he was when they owned roc cus it was a 50 50 venture with def jam. Now its pure distribution. By the way even though universal gives cash money up front money look at there deal. They have the best deal in music Baby and Slim been caking up forever. They even own all of there publishing

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    “and I don’t know if it’s because he’s from the South, or he was just really high at the time or what, but he sounds downright retarded. He actually kinda sounds the way deaf people sound when they try to talk – like maybe he got his hands on some of the weed that guy was trying to sell Katt Williams.”

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    HAHAHAHAHA

  • http://limelinx.com/files/b05a6b8f2dd0034949014291fd097ba6 mav

    currency aint all that hot everything i heard him on recently wasnt ill at all dames a no talent clown and im glad his puffy wannabe ass
    aint on top no more all yall click my link 4 some ill bars yall need to check me out currency aint fuckin wit me! this was a pretty good post that kat williams reference had me rollin cuz i just smoked a j to the head and that refeference to kareem biggs bcuz i never understood what he did and wonder where he went anybody got that info and seriously check me out

    • freshone

      please dont quit your day job u r not waka flaka but you r not curren$y

  • http://limelinx.com/files/b05a6b8f2dd0034949014291fd097ba6 mav

    click 4 a ill free download off my upcomin mixtape you cant beat free crack!!

  • http://www.mikestreezy.com Mike Streezy

    LMAO @ if his phone is still on!!! Kick em while theyre down! Wowzers!

  • http://www.thehoonerd.com thehoodnerd

    Lol damn Bol is ruthless haha.

    <blockquote cite=”I don’t know if it’s because he’s from the South, or he was just really high at the time or what, but he sounds downright retarded. He actually kinda sounds the way deaf people sound when they try to talk – like maybe he got his hands on some of the weed that guy was trying to sell Katt Williams.”

  • fastflipper

    i saw last week a video of Curren$y freestyling and i was like wtf a r.o.c. chain…!!!

    Dame gave him one of his old chains…he found a way to finally put on some bling cuz he dont have enuff money to buy some new

    and yeah in the mtv interview Curren$y look straight retarded…mouth open with a beanie on….smh

    Nice post Bol

  • LOL

    Bol , currency is trying to appeal to the hipster / blipster market directly . with a southern tinge to give him street cred.

    who told dame to rock nerd glasses?

  • venemez

    “along with Jay-Z and that other dude (who must have had pictures of Jay-Z doing something gay)”

    LMAO!!!!!!!!!!

  • El Tico Loco

    With this logic I might have to see what’s up with Rawkus. raaaigght

    • DV8

      true

  • brad pitt

    “and I don’t know if it’s because he’s from the South, or he was just really high at the time or what, but he sounds downright retarded. He actually kinda sounds the way deaf people sound when they try to talk – like maybe he got his hands on some of the weed that guy was trying to sell Katt Williams.”

    ICE COLD !!!!! ice cold !!!!

  • maya

    curren$y’s legit, listen to some of his shit before you make a judgement

  • nibs

    You people are all stupid. Do some research. Or at least listen to some Curren$y before you talk.
    Curren$y is the reason Lil Wayne had mad hype for Carter 3. Curren$y wrote for Wayne after Gillie. Carter 2 and all the dope mixtapes (drought is over, dedication 1 & 2) were wrote by Curren$y. Then he left once Drake took over, went independent and has put out 2 super dope albums (Jet Files, This Ain’t No Mixtape) and like 8 super dope mixtapes (Super Tecmo Bowl, Fast Times At Ridgemont Fly, Smokey Robinson, etc…)
    He ain’t no next Jay-Z, but he’s super dope. Bol, check the video “Curren$y – Breakfast (prod. by Mos Def)” and some others before you blog about it.
    Loser

  • freshone

    marv u r garbage green and orangr kush like a cantilope really nig ga kill yourself

    • mav

      just cuz currency is whack done get mad at me how was that wack any way? light green wit the orange kush is like some cantaloupe/
      black man gettin white faces wit da spanish coke/
      kush is green and orange right o i forgot u probably never smoked it an i do almost everyday 4 the record lets see u spit somethin hotter

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    Dame doesn’t realize by now that it wasn’t him, nor the name, it was jayz. I double dare dame to make a name for himself. I mean, Jay left and did it again. do it again dame.

  • Worley

    “In that article, it sounded like the place was crawling with extremely tall, extremely skinny modeling chicks, probably drunk and high as shit. Even Mos Def was said to have been walking around with a Rolling Rock.”

    Beautiful.

    And I still got my money on Dame.

  • Will

    Sup with this nigga talkin bad about the South all the time, a nigga from St. Louis no less. Bunch of psuedo-country ass niggas in St. Louis. I’ve seen St. Louis niggas, and half of em make southern niggas sound like Brian Gumbel. Fat Moufucka

  • Will

    Bet money that Pilot Talk is released through Amalgam, Dame ain’t got that Roc shit off the ground. Can’t just pick up a name you were disassociated from just because nobody’s using it

  • Florida Marlin

    Quit Hating on the South Bitch Nigga

  • q461

    Yall don’t know the facts, first off Def Jam confirmed this, the label is Dame’s again. 2. This is a pretty new development, but it’s a real good idea. 3.Curren$y is fire! Anybody that doesn’t know go look up the following tracks: Breakfast, Life under da scope, Address, Role model, Lemon kush etc.Or any of the shit he did with Wiz Khalifia or any of his mixtapes. Nobody said that this was gonna be the same as the first time with Hov, but it doesn’t have to be. Dame is doin big things with Curren$y, Stalley, Mos Def, Jay Electronica, Ski beatz, etc. That BlacRoc record was dope AND theres a possibility that the Dipset reunion may come out on Rocafella.

    So before you start hatin, get the facts straight. My money is on Dame makin big moves.

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Chiliz

    Now that Dame & Biggs can use Roc logo mebbe Dipset will put out their reunion album tru Roc…just my opinion.

  • avenger xl

    Nibs is correct about Currency he is another Lil wayne ghost writer like Gillie looking to jump his career off post lil wayne. He can be lyrically dope and many of the style ques cats loved about the so called lyrical wayne,tiga and now drake. Damn Wayne has a ghost team better than most labels roster and they all swear they are going to make it. Only drake will get a name and he will soon switch from rap to mostly all pop because the streets aren’t going to cosign him. So he is somewhere between bow wow and wayne himself who is his only tie to the streets per se.

    Dame has not shown me he knows how to run a label successfully post the original roc break up. So who cares if he gets the roc name back on a share croper deal. Jay-z also sucks at making artists J cole is doper than Drake lyrically and Jay is not getting his work out and who else is on roc nation aka Jays new tax write off any way? Why can’t these young black men do business correctly that is why we don’t control any part of our culture.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    first, stop the south hating. I bet if u take a trip u’ll fall in love with the weather, the food, and the women.

    second, these are all grown men. who got jayz going? Jayz grinded. Didn’t take a year off. Hit after hit after hit. J. Cole has what it takes but it won’t be jay fault if he don’t break. its only a handful of people who have that it factor. Talents don’t determine it.

    Last, Dame has a bad attitude and bad reputation of handling buisness. He yells and degrades people while making deals. Dame is an A hole.

    • AVENGER XL

      I am not hating on the south in fact I live there. I am just stating the facts Wayne has ghost writers its obvious because his style changes depending on who is writing the bars and he generally raps the verses like the rapper who wrote his stuff. The south needs to just do their thing and not worry approval. They have dope lyricist but most of them are overshadowed by their LCD rappers. But that is no reason to stay on the defensive. This is the souths turn to run ish and they need to own it. The dance music is their local sound like mob music is the bays local sound. They have different looks like everyone else has different looks but they are mostly known for dance music and strong charisma with melodies.

      Second Jay Z is selfish and he cannot run a label for the same reason Diddy can’t get shit going again. They are too busy being stars themselves to cultivate the talent under them. Roc-a-fella was built to promote memph bleek of all people and Jay was going to make reasonable doubt his only record using the proceeds from it to build up his flagship artist bleek. But once he caught on he was never able to properly get bleek A&Red. That is the job of A&Rs to help cats find their it and place them in position to get the most money. All Jay can do is get you a name for standing around him other than that you have to do like Kanye and Cameron. Take on your own movement.

      Last Dame is an asshole and Jay is a diva it was only a matter of time the roc fell a part.

  • bylaw99

    Ya’ll have to be the most dumbfounded cats on this site, do you guys realize that it wasnt Jay-Z who was running the label is was Dame goin to war w/Kevin Liles & Steve Stoute, Lyor Cohen when shit needed to be done concerning the Roc, Jay was mearly the talent and didnt become much of a business man til 8 albums in, so why wouldt Dame go get back all the hot artist that were on the Roc and get shit back poppin witout Jay, go get Dipset, Beanie, State P, Collab wit the Unit and the Lox and I betcha niggas wont hear Jay’s name being mentioned anymo.

    • avenger xl

      Dame is not that great of a business man or he would have done something with the Dame Dash music group, quick name someone signed to that joke of a vanity label. The day to business was handled by BIGs who everyone seem to forget. Dame was the ass who could deal with other industry asses and Jay was the artist who looks out for number one better than anyone. Dame is a industry dude and so is Jay-Z so they are both shady. One is loud and in your face and the other uses syth mind trick taught to him by his TI masters. Screaming in Lyor Cohens face might make you feel good but you have to realize Lyor has more connections than him they were not professional equals.

      Also if he knew anything why would you sign Jim “I need a ghost writer and a coach” jones post “we fly high” one hit wonderdom.

      Lastly time has past on all of those rock guys Beanie is done I just hope he stays out of jail, Free is getting more heavy into his faith, O and sparks are waiters at cheesecake. The dipset are getting back together out of desparation but that trick never works. They didn’t fully capitalize on their 5 minutes and now cats have moved own. Their are still some dipstans out their but the white kids all became hipsters and then went to indie rock/full wayne stanhood.

  • RudNare

    He actually kinda sounds the way deaf people sound when they try to talk – like maybe he got his hands on some of the weed that guy was trying to sell Katt Williams. (”This shit right here, nigga!”)

    BwaHaHaHaHa…*rolling-on-the-floor* :)

  • caino

    How the hell is Dame broke?? All those crystal bottles that were bought, dont seem such a good idea now ??

  • kedordu

    LOST ONES TRACK ”MAKE ANOTHER HOV ”.. ISNT DAME WORKING WITH MOS DEF , CURRENCY AND JAY ( ELECTRONICA) I BELEIVE THATS ANOTHER JAY .

    SHUT THE FUCK UP BOL

  • Anonymous

    n

  • KING ROB

    IM HOPING DAME BOUNCE BACK,THERES NO WAY JAY-Z COULD HAVE BUILT THAT UP WITHOUT DAMES CONTRIBUTION…AND CURREN$Y IS THE REAL DEAL

  • Blaze

    yo b4 u try nd diss curren$y, at least listen to his SONGS, ur a dumbass for even sayin shit like this about him

  • aaron

    Welcome back Dame….Just be easy and show em what you got and know…..You are a genius!…If you need production let me know i am here for you I manage some dope producers!

  • ajwins

    haha you should have waited till after polit talk dropped to post this cuz curren$y is official. he selling out everywere!

  • Ace Sinatra

    If I am not mistaken, after the split btwn Jay & Dame. Jay owned Rocafella and Dame started DDMG. Dame does not have Rocafella.

  • BeerGangsta

    Hustle Ambition!! It don’t make Dollars it don’t make sense!! Any Coommon Sense!! can Dame get his fame back.