By now, everyone should know that Dame Dash is bringing back Roc-A-Fella Records. He recently signed a distribution deal with very familiar partners Def Jam and will be releasing albums under the name of the Roc, a label he co-founded with Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in the ’90s before selling his share to Island Def Jam in 2004.
But Dash’s co-founders aren’t onboard for the new venture, and some Roc-A-Fella purists are already saying that it just isn’t the Roc without Jay and Biggs.
“I don’t know,” Dame said of the naysayers. “A ‘Roc-A-Fella purist’ is me. So what am I gonna tell myself? If someone has the essence and the DNA that Roc-A-Fella initially meant and they reflect that, then it’s not an issue. Any Roc-A-Fella purist — that would mean they would love to see the evolution of Roc-A-Fella. They would be happy because as of now [the label] doesn’t exist. And the spirit doesn’t exist. If we’re gonna bring back the spirit of Roc-A-Fella, any Roc-A-Fella purist would say, ‘That’s exactly what I would have wanted Damon to do if he was still the CEO of Roc-A-Fella.’ Or, ‘Roc-A-Fella as an entity always chose the opinion leader, and he seems to be that guy. And always a thorough individual, and he seems to be that guy as well.’ So I would think a Roc-A-Fella purist would be happy.”
Dash says he welcomes the participation of both Biggs and Jay-Z, if they want to be involved.
“If Jay wanna come through and do something, he can come holla at me,” Dash said. “I ain’t got no beefs with Jay.”
Dame made sure to add that he and Hov would have to come to an amicable business agreement if they were ever to partner again.
“Just off the strength that it’s Roc-A-Fella, I could never tell Jay he can’t be a part of something he helped create,” the Harlem born CEO said. “So maybe it felt ridiculous that he said [me and Biggs couldn’t be a part of Roc-A-Fella once we sold the company] and a Roc-A-Fella purists didn’t appreciate that. If I walked away from Roc-A-Fella, then that would be different. But the option should always be there. So the option is there for him. He helped build that. And I don’t hold grudges. I think one of the most important things in evolving is forgiveness. If he did something wrong or if I did something wrong, we’d have to forgive each other, or we’d still be children.”
The first release from the latest incarnation of the Roc is Curren$y’s Pilot Talk, which has a tentative release date of June 15. After that will be the mixtape album helmed by Ski Beatz called 24 Hour Karate School.
Can Roc-A-Fella Records truly exist without Jay-Z’s involvement? Share your thoughts in the comments.