Music Monday: 40 Reasons, #38: Rebirth of the Roc Playlist

Beware of the Boys (well, the boy…) Dame Dash is coming back to balance the boat after the Roc of Gibraltar got off the SS Dynasty to walk on water, and let the vessel fumble and falter (read: Former Hov Partner-in-Crime Damon Dash, is back this year to resurrect the Roc-a-Fella Record Label after Jay-Z left to pursue bigger and better things… namely: the world). Now, after a sabbatical from life, Dash is back to bring “positivity” to the Dynasty sign…

When Damon Dash pulled a Roc-A-Fella chain out of his vault several months ago and presented it to Curren$y, it was just a celebration of their friendship. Now, the chain means much more. Dash is resurrecting Roc-A-Fella Records and plans to make Curren$y’s Pilot Talk the label’s first new release on June 15.

“I think we just having fun, really,” said Dash, sitting in his office at DD172 next to Curren$y. “[Curren$y] inspired me to dust off the chains. We brought ’em out for kicks, just ’cause we could. Then we was like, ‘F— it, let’s put it out through Roc-A-Fella.’ It was really more something he wanted to do. Basically, ’cause we havin’ such a good time, and the opportunity’s there, we was like, ‘Why not?’ “

(Read: “It’s like when you’re younger and you and your best friend had a lemonade stand; and then your best friend ended up running Orange Julius, and you went back to your parents basement, and still had some packets of Country Time left, and you’re like ‘Man, I’m having so much fun in my parents basement doing nothing all day except buying drinks from Orange Julius, I’m having such a good time being broke that I figure why not just try to make some money again? That, and my parent’s are really hounding me about rent… but it’s all for fun so, why not?”)

“What that means, what that shows me, is that dude thinks as highly of me as I do him,” Curren$y said about releasing an LP on the label Dash co-founded with Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke in the mid-1990s. “I know what’s behind that. We all know and the fans know what that represented at the height of it. The aesthetic of it.”

Dash said he hadn’t been having “fun” in music since he, Jay and Biggs dissolved their partnership several years ago. But meeting and working with artists such as Curren$y and Jay Electronica who come through his DD172 facility brought the old feelings back.

Again with how much fun it is to not be on Hov’s good side… like how much fun it must be to be George Bush without a country to run into the ground, or how much fun Jesse James is having without Sandra Bullock, or how much fun Sarah Palin is having without … a brain – so. much. fun.

“The funny thing is, people don’t know that Roc-A-Fella wasn’t meant to sell records,” Dame said. “It was meant to show the respect and the honor amongst each other as friends. It was a friendship thing. That’s what people liked. It’s what made Roc-A-Fella appealing. It’s odd, because I f— with [Curren$y]. I kinda like him. When I met him, I wasn’t as familiar with his music. My nephews and Sean O’Connell put me up on him. I liked him as a friend. Then I start seeing he’s super nice with the rhymes, then I started seeing his influence. It’s similar to the way we felt back in those days. It’s working out.”

The last album to come out on Roc-A-Fella was Jadakiss’ The Last Kiss in April 2009. The label had been under Jay-Z’s sole custody since the breakup of Hov, Biggs and Dash.

“Def Jam or Universal bought the brand. I think the ‘beef’ [with us and Jay-Z] was that Jay made it clear he didn’t want me or Biggs to be a part of it. That’s really where it was at. Now that he doesn’t work for Def Jam anymore, he doesn’t have the right to use the name. So there’s no reason for us not to use it. It’s there, and it’s a brand that’s not being used. So I was like, ‘I’ll take it.’ It always meant something to me.”

(Read: “I could’ve taken Hov, but it was out of respect and friendship that we didn’t use Roc-a-Fella even after he left… we wanted to make sure the horse was dead before we pulled out the defibrillator – that and we really didn’t want Hov even madder at us. We were going to start Roc-a-Fella up again after Jay went to LiveNation a few years ago, but we wanted to give him three years of personal space.)

Dash said he and Curren$y are pushing a positive message about friendship and evolution.

“It’s a way more positive movement,” he added about the label’s new incarnation. “It’s what I wanted Roc-A-Fella, what I thought it should be 10 years after I started it.”

Dash said he secured the new deal through L.A. Reid and Def Jam, which will serve as a distributor for his records.

Wow: nothing says “positivity,” “friendship,” and “evolution” like L.A. “My wife conned TLC, I dropped T.I. after one poorly-selling (result of my subpar promotion, not his content), I dropped GaGa before she even got a debut, I was one breath away from dropping Pink for thinking too far outside the box before her best-selling album, all this because I hate and negate unconventional sounds, because clients aren’t comrades or friends – they’re products, and because I think regression is the wave of the future” Reid: we got a winner #requiemforadynasty

After Curren$y’s album, the next project coming off Roc-A-Fella will be Ski Beatz’s 24 Hour Karate School mixtape.

Reps for Jay-Z were not reached for comment by press time.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In memory of what was… a playlist of the Dynasty’s finer days

… okay so maybe he wasn’t using hyperbole about the fun, but as Hov’s new labelmate said: “I’m not going to say I didn’t have fun – but sometimes fun is overrated…” If the boat’s a Roc-king… get off it and get the Nation Live.

At the end of the day, you just can’t knock the hustle baby

Watch this space: not so much good or bad, per se, but this could  be exciting to watch in a trainwreckish kind of way… if nothing else I wouldn’t mind seeing the old Dame Dash signature shoulder dance again… Dynasty signs up, 37 more to go

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