Why The Return of “The Roc” Means So Much

This Roc-A-Fella 20th Anniversary celebration is one of the most important things to have happened to my life in 20 years. It’s one of the most important things that has happened since prom, when I got dressed up, and slow danced to Dru Hill with a nigga that I had been caking up with on the house phone, and ended up making a daughter with.

It’s been 20 years since the empire that is known as Roc-A-Fella was launched. Since Dame, Biggs, and Jay- Z (when he had the hyphen still) got together and made what is one of the three most significant hip-hop albums of all time (Ready to Die and Illmatic are the other two.) This is not up for debate. I’m not here to go back and forth with you. Reasonable Doubt shifted the fucking Earth… period.

Here we are 20 years later. And just today, Jay is the first rapper ever to be nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame… in the same class as Madonna.

Big is gone. Nas is still with us, rapping his ass off, making money, and handsome as ever. And, Jay, well Jay exists in his own universe. He is an entity that is larger than life. But, the music remains the same and so let’s celebrate the music.

Photo by Biba Adams, Reasonable Doubt/Fouth of November/Fancy Pop Up Shop Preview. October 19, 2016

The other night, I went to the press preview of the Fourth of November/ ROC96 Pop Up Shop. This is Kareem “Biggs” Burke venture. Biggs was the guy behind The Roc who wasn’t Dame or Jay. The quiet one in the back who had a lot of the money and all the juice, who inspired a lot of the lyrics. After being convicted in 2010 of drug charges, Biggs came back ready to make major moves. A big part of that new effort is emphasizing the importance of Reasonable Doubt on hip-hop culture.

Last night, I bought a t-shirt at the Fourth of November/Roc96/Fancy Pop Up Shop. For $50, I can walk around with the Roc-A-Fella family tree on my chest. Significantly, it starts with him, Dame, and Jay. But the story then expands to Beanie Siegel, Memphis Bleek, and Kanye West. There is also the line that goes from Jay-Z to J. Cole and Rihanna.

Honestly, “The Roc,” is not just a rap dynasty. It is a hip-hop empire. Roc-A-Fella represents hundreds of millions of dollars. It represents songs, albums, videos, films, and television shows that are still influencing culture from today and for years to come. Without Reasonable Doubt, we don’t have Biggs’ little brother, Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua who was the one who signed Kanye. From Kanye comes the largest portion of the family tree, “G.O.O.D Music,” which includes Common, Kid Cudi, and John Legend.

Without Reasonable Doubt, we don’t have classic hits from Cam’ron, honestly, we don’t have some of Beyonce’s best work. Shit, if you really knew… you would know that means we don’t have some of Jeezy’s hottest shit, we don’t have 2 Chainz either, who just launched his new brand, CEO Millionaires.

So, it’s 20 years later, and we need to throw the dynasty up again. Hip-Hop music and culture NEEDS this celebration. We need to dance and pop bottles again. We have come a long way, and Jay Z (no hyphen his time) took us most of the way there. We owe it to him to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Roc-A-Fella Records.

The Fourth of November Pop Up Show is only in New York until Oct. 23rd, but after that, you can get most items on the website, and it’s worth it… because we don’t get a lot of chances to celebrate us. This is one. This shit is for us.