Published Aug 30, 2016Damon Dash, Kareem Burke and Shawn Carter teamed up back in 1996, starting Roc-A-Fella Records to put out the latter's Reasonable Doubt — the debut album under his soon-to-be ubiquitous rap moniker, Jay Z. Now, the story of the record label is set to be the subject of a revealing new TV series.
As Deadline reports, Dash has paired with executive producer Lemuel Plummer to deliver a "brutally honest" portrayal of the company's rise.
The show will cover the Roc empire from its humble beginnings as a home for Jay Z's music, to its early 2000s heyday boasting a roster that included DJ Clue, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleak, Cam'ron, and a young up-and-comer named Kanye West.
Tensions rose amongst the founders in 2005, when Roc-A-Fella was sold to Island Def Jam Music Group, bumping Jay Z up to the president and CEO of Def Jam and leaving Dash and Burke to move on to other ventures. Since 2010, Roc-A-Fella has primarily released material from Jay Z and West under the Def Jam umbrella.
The show will also delve into the main characters' personal lives, following Dash from his days in private school to his time as a street hustler to working as Jay Z's manager. Even his former high-profile relationships with Aaliyah and Rachel Roy won't be off limits when it comes to the storylines.
"What defined what we were doing is everything that was in my life equals Roc-A-Fella," Dash told Deadline, speaking about the decision to tackle events beyond the realm of business.
"My experience is colourless. The reason why Roc-A-Fella crossed and became so essential to pop culture is that we were probably the most authentic people that were also so sophisticated," Dash continued. "My experience doing white people shit is just as heavy as my experiences doing black people shit. Actually I think I've done white people shit better than white people."
As for what might be in store soundtrack-wise, Dash is hopeful that a number of artists will be open to collaborating. "As much music as I could get, I know what I own, and there's a lot of different artists that would probably not have a problem with participating," said Dash. "And hopefully Jay doesn't either, but as of yet we haven't crossed that barrier. I'm not worried about that."
Plummer added, "It means a lot that Damon trusts us to tell the story — the true story — of how two global music icons got their start and did nothing less than redefine pop culture. That story is so unbelievable and yet so true that we know we have an awesome responsibility as storytellers to get things right."