Back in the days when Damon Dash and Rock a Fella records was the hottest entity in the music business, he was working along the good folks at Atlantic and 300 entertainment. All of them were working at DEF Jam at the time. All the artists that were signed to Roc A Fella had no complaints with their deals and were waiting for their chance to blow. Fast forward to the future, artist like Migos and Rich The Kid on the other hand quickly got disenchanted with 300 entertainment and I think I know why. A couple of days ago somebody text me a couple of videos to check out. One of them was Fetty Wap “Aye” , and the other was Migos “Slide On Em” ft Blac Youngsta .
Fetty’s song was a hot song but as soon as I heard Slide On Em, I was like yo this is hard! Thinking that they just released it because it only have 9m views and climbing. When I looked deeper into the description of the video, I found out the song came out a year ago. Now I’m tripping asking how Slide On Em and Aye aren’t hits?! After calming down and doing some digging, I realized that these guys are signed to 300/ Atlantic Records; which is very interesting.
If you let Irv Gotti tell it, when he was an A&R at Def Jam, they didn’t want him to sign X and after fighting to get him in the door, they didn’t believe in him as an artist prior to selling 4m albums. When it came to Roc A Fella and Jay Z, they had to make an indie movie and a soundtrack called ” The Streets is Watching” because Def Jam stop funding the Roc as soon as they got cold after Jay’s first album under the label. After watching 300/ Atlantic drop the ball on multiple artists, I can’t help to wonder does hip hop still need Dame Dash and individuals like him? How would the results of Fetty Wap and Migos look like if they had a Dame Dash type driving the bus and banging on the execs of the parent label not to fumble the ball every step of the way? How would music look like if Dame didn’t have enough clout to sign and put Kanye West’s “College Drop Out” album out. Once again the Execs at Def Jam now working for 300 and Atlantic did not get Kanye and they didn’t want to sign him.
We all seen the video clips of Dame Dash spazzing out on execs behind the scenes and by no means I am not advocating that we need more assholes or condoning that behavior, But with in all his bravado, he yielded results. One could argue that Def Jam and its execs had their highest success with Roc A Fella and Murder Inc. If Irv Gotti wasn’t going so hard for DMX we may not have seen his success. If Dame Dash wasn’t so passionate, The Roc probably wont be The Roc as we knew it. Ever since Dame Dash left the industry there have been a drop off in getting a hip hop artist or label up and running and selling units. I’m starting to think that 300 and Atlantic is starting to realize that reality and made the move to bring Irv Gotti and Murder Inc back in the fold. Irv kinda have the same personality as Dame, he just goes down your system easier.
If this new run with Murder Inc goes well, I can see other labels entertaining the idea of of bringing Dame Dash back. All I’m saying as a music fan, how many times do we have to watch Young Thug brick because the execs at the label are too proud to admit they don’t get the artist? How many times we’re going to watch other artist on other labels be more successful than the Migos while using their flows? The Migos are the best at what they do and they can’t even buy the credit the deserve. Dame Dash probably was an asshole but when an artist signed to the Roc, they didn’t have to worry about getting paid or having their albums flop. Roc A Fella did not do flops and that is a fact. I can say the same for Murder Inc, 98% of the artist that were signed to these labels were happy and successful. As a matter of fact, Murder Inc was the 2.5 version of Uptown Records. They had the R&B/hip-hop sound, the visibility and most importantly the artists were paid.
I would love to see is more people like Dame running hip hop and R&B labels that understand the culture. Hopefully the new Dame Dash can be a little turn down than before because the old one I would’ve snuffed off rip. Puff still have Bad Boy but he checked out the game a long time ago. Dr Dre put out projects on Aftermath every blue moon, TDE is young in the game but they are pretty much niche outfit, thank God for Hov and Roc Nation but you got to be on fire with 3rd degree burns for them to pick you up and last and least we have Cash Money Records. There is nothing more to be said about that.
All I am asking and really begging the industry is to bring back a few individuals that ran small imprints well in the past to deliver artists to the fans with out restrictions. The cost of running and funding a indie label from the majors stand point should be close to nothing. The cost of recording, and manufactureing records now are close to 65% less if not more than before. The cost of video is close to stupid so the possibilities for a indie are endless. The risk for the rewards for a person like Dame Dash is in the favor of the Labels. My nominations for throwback record label executives are 1) Dame Dash, 2) Irv Gotti, 3) Steve Rifkin, 4) Uncle Luke only because I witness first hand how he ran and operated Luke Records as a stand alone record label, employing his own staff from the office to the warehouse. 5) Masta P, 6) E Class and 7) Andre Harrell