ROC & Roll (Out)

March 14, 2005

You know how they have that saying that Art is supposed to imitate Life? Well, boys & girls, I’m here to tell you that it’s really the other way around. Case in point: Dame Dash’s first foray into movie directing “Death of a Dynasty” distrubted thru Independant film company TLA and produced by Dash’s company Dash Films. The movie was shot about a year and a half ago and takes a satirical look into the world of Hip-Hop. With larger than life performances from actors portraying Dame Dash, Jay-Z and others from the Rocafella camp, the movie details the break up of the partnership of Dash and Jay thru the eyes of a White reporter trying to break into the often guarded world which is Hip-Hop. Dash as well as Jay-Z both make cameos in the movie with other performance by Devon Aoki (2Fast, 2Furious), Nore and others.

In most other instances, this movie wouldn’t be much to get charged over; Sure, the movie is funny and it does make some poignant analysis about the way the movers and shakers in Hip-Hop percieve themselves and how we, the fans, percieve them. But let’s be real: A little over a year and a half later after the movie was filmed, edited in Post Production and given to PR companies to hype up, Jay-Z and Dame Dash really did break up. Which kinda leads to a question? What’s Dames’ reasoning for wanting to put out the movie now? I’m sure he knows that because of some the scenes that were filmed, the movie will do nothing, but fan the flames of the endless specualtion on why they really broke up. There is a scene in the movie in which “Dame” gets into a heated argument with “Jay” over a girl portrayed by the aforementioned Devon Aoki. Makes you go Hmmmm? There is also another scene in the movie in which “Jay” tells the reporter that “Dame” is jealous of him and wants to be in the spotlight himself. Hmmmmm? I know that Dame wrote and produced the film himself and that Jay openly participated in the project, but one starts to wonder, is Life now imitating Art? Holla back and let a brotha know somethin…….

If you’d like to see the trailer for the movie, just here:

Quicktime Player Ver

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A Piece of the ROC

March 6, 2005

Ok, so like I’m reading the new Source mag, you know, the one wit Dame and Hov on the cover right, and all I could think as I read the article was that things done changed right? The end of an era. F’dat is all I can say. I’m all for change and growing and gettin older, but I feel like when it comes at the expense of others, I don’t know. I know you all are scratchin ya heads like “What you talkin ’bout Willis?”. Well, in case you haven’t heard by now, here’s a break down:

Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter of Def Jam records, Rocafella’s distributon home for the past 8 years.

The Roc was sold to Def Jam for $10 million.

Damon “Dame” Dash, former CEO of the label has inked his own distribution deal with Island/Def Jam CEO Antonio “L.A.” Reid, for his own label, tentively titled Damon Dash Music Group.

Most of the Roc’s roster has been dropped with the exception of Kanye West, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and the Young Guns. New Roc signee Ol’ Dirty Bastard (RIP), MOP and Nicole Wray will go to Dames’ label.

Now I don’t know about ya’ll, but alot of the afore mentioned tidbits have seriously disturbed me. I mean, how is a company that was last valued at $250+ million going to sell its recording division for a measely $10 mill? I understand that L.A. Reid thinks that signing Jay-Z on as President is a good thing, but what happens if Hov doesn’t perform to task as expected? Will Mr. Carter be given the boot as L.A. was when BMG thought that Arista was under-performing while under L.A.’s watch?

The Source article really tried to paint Dame Dash in the picture as some bullish business man who wanted to control every and anything that had to do with the Roc and Jay-Z. Such reporting really does no good to a man that is trying to survive in a cutthroat business. If you built up a business/brand, and toiled and sweated to gain respect and credibility for ten long hard years, wouldn’t you be seen as bullish and controlling? I think Mr. Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke have been given a fair accounting in all of this. And on top of that, what happens to the artists that wanted nothing more than to represent the Roc while making Hip-Hop music? Artists like Peedi Crakk, Omilliyo & Sparks and Freeway are being shown the door while importance is being placed on Kanye West, who no one believed in until his record sales surpassed a million and Memphis Bleek, who still hasn’t managed to get passed Gold status (500,000+ records sold). Then artists like MOP who have been in limbo for the past two years since signing to Rocafella are now having to wait even longer until the dust clears with Dames’ new deal. Things just do not look good. And what of the joint ventures that Jay-Z, Biggs and Dame have created? Armendale Vodka, Rocawear Clothing, Rocafella Films, the ROCBOX (digital MP3 player), what happens to these now that it seems that the ROC is no more? Only time will tell. All comments and opinions are welcome. Holla later.