Will Roc-A-Fella Records be Shut Down?

13 Sep

Roc-A-Fella RecordsIt is hard to believe that Roc-A-Fella Records was once the most dominating force in hip hop. The label was led by Dame Dash, Jay-Z, and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.

Roc-A-Fella Records had a strong roster of talent in its heyday. The label was home to Memphis Bleek, Freeway, Beanie Sigel, Rell, the Young Gunz, Cam’ron, The Diplomats, and many other acts.

When Roc-A-Fella also began distributing other labels’ work, they seemed unstoppable. On top of all of that, Jay-Z was the biggest star in rap, releasing a platinum album each year.

In 2003, Jay-Z chose to give up the spotlight so Memphis Bleek could finally shine. Bleek was Jay-Z’s friend from the Marcy Projects and his pick as Roc-A-Fella’s new flagship artist and CEO. Jay was retiring from rap to become CEO of Def Jam. His partner, Dame Dash, also had his pick for a new flagship artist and CEO for the label, his pick was Cam’ron from his native Harlem.

In picking a successor to Jay-Z, Dash and Biggs often bumped heads with Jay-Z. In 2004, Kanye West exploded and the label issues were thrown to the wayside by industry insiders. Later that year, Cam’ron and his Diplomat Records were dropped and Dame and Biggs were also sent packing.

While still dominant, it was obvious that Roc-A-Fella Records was no longer the same. Kanye West kept the label in headlines and Jay-Z even returned to rap, but the label was still falling apart.

In 2007, things looked as if they were improving when news of a new Memphis Bleek album surfaced, Beanie Sigel released his new album, and Jadakiss signed to the label. Later the same year, Jay-Z stepped down as CEO of Def Jam and it appeared that he was returning to Roc-A-Fella full time.

By 2008, Jay-Z announced that he signed a multi-million dollar deal with Live Nation, creating his own label, Roc Nation. Then, it became clear that Jay-Z would soon be leaving the label that he helped to create.

After the Roc Nation announcement, Memphis Bleek announced that he was looking for a new label to distribute his work and that of his Get Low Records. Not too long after that, Tru-Life, Beanie Sigel, Freeway, and the Young Gunz all left the label. Then, Jay-Z bought out of his contract with Def Jam.

Now, the once mighty Roc-A-Fella Records’ roster only consists of Kanye West and Jadakiss. Kanye West runs his own label, GOOD Music and he isone of rap’s biggest stars. Jadakiss is the front man of D-Block and left D-Block Records for Roc-A-Fella Records.

The only two artists left on the label could do better without it. So, will the Roc be shut down?

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