Jay-Z is a well-respected figure in the music industry, and after years of business and entrepreneurship, the Brooklyn native is a certified billionaire. With over 13 solo albums and 24 Grammys, Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) is at the pinnacle of hip-hop.
However, many inside the music industry lost respect for Jay-Z after he employed a well-known snitch. As well as his street credibility, his integrity was absent to many in the business after he appointed this individual as CEO of his entertainment company, Roc Nation.
This well-known figure is Desiree Perez. Prior to entering the music industry, Perez was involved in the drug game. In 1994, she was arrested in Miami for possession of 35 keys of Griselda Blanco’s cocaine, but in exchange for the offer of zero years in prison, the Roc Nation CEO agreed to wear a wire and became a federal informant for the Drugs Enforcement Agency.
Perez helped the DEA lock up copious amounts of Hispanic Americans involved in the Miami drug wars and turned on low-level associates of Griselda Blanco, Fabio Ochoa and even Pablo Escobar. Working with the police is highly frowned upon in hip-hop culture. With tracks such as ‘Fuck Tha Police’ and Ice-T’s ‘Cop Killer’ being so popular it came as a shock to many when Jay decided to bring Desiree into his circle.
In 2015, during an appearance on The Breakfast Club, Jay-Z’s former Roc-A-Fella counterpart Damon Dash told the hosts, “Once a n*gga has certain friends, we don’t even talk about him anymore where I’m from!” He also stated it would be unlikely he would do future business with Jay-Z due to his connection to Perez.
Desiree was the wife of Jay-Z’s good friend, Juan Perez, a Harlem native whom Jay-Z met in the 1990s and went into business with. Together they opened a series of sports bars including the iconic 40/40 Club.
Desiree acted as a promoter for these various clubs. With the help of Juan, she rose from a part-time nightclub manager to a record company executive, and in 2008, Jay-Z made her chief operating officer of Roc Nation. In 2019, she was promoted to CEO.
Although President Donald Trump pardoned Perez of her crimes in 2021 and wiped her criminal record, Jay-Z lost the respect of hip-hop by hiring, entertaining and promoting a well-known snitch who put people behind bars. You can hear about Desiree Perez in the video below.