Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-a-Fella was a formidable empire during the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, during an appearance on DJ Self’s Apt 5H podcast, former Diplomats emcee Jim Jones revealed that he believed the label’s downfall partially broke New York hip-hop.
Jim Jones is a former member of the Harlem-based crew Dipset, initially named The Diplomats. Comprised of Cam’Ron, Jim Jones, Frekey Zekey and Jones, the collective was responsible for several hits, including ‘Oh Boy’ and ‘Dipset Anthem’. However, as a part of the Roc-a-Fella roster, Jones knew first-hand how powerful the empire was.
During his conversation with hosts Hitmaka and DJ Self, Jones recalled Roc-a-Fella’s downfall in 2004, leaving a sizeable hole in East Coast hip-hop and negatively impacting New York City in a major way. Jones reflected on how the empire had a stronghold on the region with the level of talent it boasted and was behind many of the area’s stars.
Opening up about it, Jones stated, “The confusion at the Roc-A-Fella breakup did a lot of damage for New York music. Remember, Roc-a-Fella had so many different types of music. They had The Diplomats, they had State Property, they had Brooklyn shit. They really had a strong hold on East Coast music!”
Host Hitmaka even recounted how Roc-a-Fella’s sister label, Roc-La-Familia, had a significant share of the reggaeton market with Noreaga’s album, N.O.R.E Y La Familia…Ya Tú Sabe.
Although Jay-Z was set to retire after the release of The Black Album in 2003, in 2004, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime when he was offered a position as the CEO and president of Def Jam. However, this destabilised the label, and with ownership of the label and his masters, he eventually dissolved the label, which became defunct in 2008.
Between Jay-Z taking up his position at Def Jam and the end of Roc-Fella in 2008, the only prosperous artist on the label was Kanye West, with many acts such as Cam’Ron, Beanie Sigel and Memphis Bleek eventually waning.
You can listen to Jones speak about the label’s fallout in the video below.