"I want you to understand that Dame Dash doesn't own Roc-A-Fella any more, and as of December 13, we actually obtained our release" from the label, said M.O.P. manager Laze E. Laze. "We saw the company was going in a different direction. To me, Roc-A-Fella's over."
Laze's announcement late last week served as public notification of the group's split from both the Damon Dash Music Group and Roc-A-Fella Records, although it apparently occurred some time ago.
The duo — consisting of MCs Lil' Fame and Billy Danzenie — had been on the label for more than three years, but have just a few unofficially released tracks to show for it. The only album they've released in that time, the Mash Out Posse rock mash-up album, was released on their own First Family label (through Koch).
"We need to be somewhere comfortable, and we wasn't really comfortable over there," Danzenie said.
Now, M.O.P. are looking to join forces with a label that's willing to release and support the four albums the group says it recorded during its Roc tenure. The album's titles are Ghetto Warfare, The Last Generation, a mixtape called The St. Marksman and the longwindedly titled Kill N---a Die Slo Bluckka Bluckka Bloaoow Blood Sweat Tears and We Out.
The group is hoping to release Ghetto Warfare first, in the fall, and Danzenie said the duo are considering making The Last Generation their final release. "I think that I'm going to let the people decide if that should be that last M.O.P. album," he said. "But we got like 60 or 70 songs, and we still do two or three a week."
And despite his strong words, Laze noted that he hasn't closed the door entirely on either Dash or the Roc. "We're still talking to DDMG about doing something with him, more from a label standpoint," he said. "And [we'd consider] even Jay, if he came to us with a situation that's not just an artist on the Roc assembly line." Laze said he's also talking with Koch, Atlantic, the Warner Music imprint Asylum and G-Unit Records.
"50 was shooting Get Rich or Die Tryin' in Canada and he calls Fox," Laze recalled, referring to M.O.P.'s female auxiliary member. "He said, 'I'm hearing records on the radio, you guys are killing it. What the f--- are they doing with you?' So after that, we met with 50 and had a great conversation where he said, 'You may think I'm crazy in the controversy that I'm in, but I haven't failed yet. We sell millions of albums, I wanna do a deal.' I can actually say that we were talking on a day-to-day basis with 50 about possibly doing a deal. Our doors are open."
An Interscope representive declined comment, while a Koch spokesperson confirmed that the label is interested in the Brooklyn duo. Asylum, however, denies that they are talking with the newly freed agents.
And after acting in Dame Dash Films' "State Property 2," the duo are gearing up to shoot a reality show called "Boot Camp Cold Turkey" in Pennsylvania, through their Blaze Films production company. The show, which they plan to shop to television networks when it's finished, details their experiences in a four-week boot camp at the hands of Navy SEALs. Of course, the duo have other projects in the works.
"We're getting into the beverages now," Danzenie said. "We got a coconut rum liquor called XXX. And we're doing movies, starting on a project called 'Creepers' — porn. We're not acting, but we are producing it."
And interestingly, amid the fallout from their Roc-A-Fella deal, Billy seemed downright wistful about Jay and Dame's split. "I don't think it's right, because these guys built an empire together," he said (see "Dame Dash Says He's Staying Involved With Roc-A-Fella Roster"). "I had conversations with both of them and they appear strong enough to stand on their own, but nobody wants to see Jay without Dame, or Dame without Jay. That's what M.O.P. is built on anyway — we're loyalists. If we don't got each other then we ain't got nothing."