For years the Hip-Hop community has put out endless rumors about why the Roc-A-Fella Records empire crumbled right before our eyes. But I am here to explain to you in non-XXL or The Source talk how we saw the downfall coming, if someone would’ve spoken up it would’ve been avoided.
To begin with, Dame Dash was just being himself but he forgot how to turn off that hustler’s mentality once The ROC made it globally. When they first started, they needed Dame to be that hard-headed, ready to blast on any and everyone in their way type of guy. But after the success of Hard Knocks, he should have taken a step back and dialed the attitude down a few.
Despite what may have been said in magazines, songs, and interviews, the crumble of Roc-A-Fella was due to egos and lack of vision. There were just too many in one place at the same time.[embedit snippet=”2″]
Jay-Z didn’t become who he is by playing the background. He was a part of the ownership, but he was also the face of the label. It’s hard to wear both hats and be objective and Jay failed miserably at that.
To begin, there was so much more they could’ve done with State Property but they forgot who SP was before signing them to the label. It didn’t matter if the forced group of Philly MCs didn’t get along. There were there for a common goal. They wanted to make some noise in the rap game.
In the middle of the movies, freestyles and guest appearances, Dame, Biggs and Hov forgot they had a talented group of rappers and kept their talents hidden as Hov and Beanie Sigel took center stage.
As times began to change, female and R&B started to pop but the R.O.C. was unable to capitalize. The smooth sounds of Christion and Rell did nothing for the label. Instead of looking outside of their own box they let their chance at R&B slip past without making a whimper in the genre.
When it came to female MCS there was not many and the ones that were out at the time were already signed. But, the R.O.C. had a little say in the music world by then and could have made a strong push for any female MC they wanted. Jay, Dame, and Kareem decided to go with Amil. Amil was an unknown and as quick as he came into the game, she was gone just as fast.
But why Amil? Why not get Foxy Brown or Lil Kim? Jay had a personal relationship with both and somehow ignored the fact his label was in need or the type of weight their name held in the Hip-Hop community. Another opportunity wasted.
To be fair, Roc-A-Fella was never at the top of the game. Jay-Z was. The amount of respect his name held could not be rivaled by any rapper, then and still to this day. But Jay was never a good label head. His concern was his music, and his only. How many guest features did he do for SP? He, Sigel and Bleek was always on a track together but Jay made no real effort to help the careers of the other artists around him.
As time grew, so did the space between the three friends. But in the end, the questions must be asked. Were they ever friends or were the just three people that wanted to take a shot at history? In a sense, they all made it to the top but only one has managed to stay there.
Roc-A-Fella will always have an asterisk next to their name, not for mistakes made but for opportunities wasted.