The scene is iconic. A 34 year old year Jay-Z descending from a New York penthouse, clothed in the finest Hip Hop linens, wearing a fresh white pair of S. Carters (His signature Shoe he released with Reebok in 2003). In slow motion Jay takes his car keys from the penthouse valet, sits in a $250,000 luxury car, closes the door and starts the engine. A piano influenced melody drops with a settle baseline, and the words are uttered;
“ I heard motherfuckers saying they made Hov
Made Hov say, OK so, make another Hov
Niggaz wasn't playing they day role
So we parted ways like Ben and J-Lo.”
The scene and its opening verse capsulate the opening 90 seconds of a music video for the song “Lost one”. A simple track explaining Jay-Z’s decision to leave business partner Damon Dash. The song and video wouldn’t come into being til 2006. But to understand the importance of what the song and video captures, we’ll need to journey back to January 14th 2004. When the New York Post ran an article called “ROC-KY BREAKUP – HIP-HOP’S JAY-Z, DAMON DASH PARTING WAYS”.
The article revealed the shocking news that Jay-Z was creating a separate unnamed company outside of Roc-a-fella records with Def jam. The new company (which would eventually form into Roc nation) would handle all of Jay-Z’s endorsement deals and partnerships outside of Roc-a-fella. Universal Music, parent to Def Jam – which also was still backing Roc-A-Fella at time of the company’s formation – would provide startup funding and a line of credit to launch the venture.
This move by Jay-Z was the final loose thread that unraveled the Roc. The official split up of Roc-a-fella would come months later in December of ‘04. Where at a private dinner meeting between Jay and Damon, Jay-Z would finally confront Damon and demand they part ways. Damon, who up until that moment had been trying to consolidate power from Jay-Z - by singing and appointing Cam’ron as of the president of Roc-a-fella, divesting Roc-a-fella’s cash assets into movies and knock out Ipods (Google Roc Box by Damon Dash), decided he would clap back with furry .
Khufere Qhamata, is the founder of the SMAART INCUBATOR, a serial entrepreneur, and dedicated futurist. He is chief executive of Leap72, a strategic innovation consultancy advising corporations on how to use startup economics to grow and compete for the future. He is also a co-founder and board member of Academy M, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit specializes in the mentorship and career development of millennials. You can follow him on Linkedin.