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Subject: "Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots" Previous topic | Next topic
makesureshes18
Member since Apr 03rd 2005
17 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:36 PM

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"Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots"


          

http://www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/articles/2005/11/08/jay_z_pays_tribute_to_his_rap_roots/



On ''Moment of Clarity" Jay-Z rapped, ''Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense, but I did five mil, I ain't been rhymin' like Common since."

Some interpreted the lyric, from 2003's ''The Black Album," as a diss against the Chicago rapper now simply known as Common, but the line was more revelatory than inflammatory. It's an admission by one of the most critically and commercially successful rappers in pop music history that he might have pursued a similar path of forward-thinking, socially conscious rap if only it was as financially rewarding as less-challenging mainstream hip-hop.

Such thoughts might have prompted Jay-Z, in his capacity now as the president and CEO of Def Jam Records, to sign the Roots, Philadelphia's great hip-hop band, to his new label spinoff, Def Jam Left. Long respected by critics and in alternative hip-hop circles, the Roots have been putting out solid albums since 1995's ''Do You Want More?!!!??!" yet have never achieved widespread success.

The Grammy-winning rap band's new affiliation with a Def Jam roster that already includes Kanye West, Juelz Santana, and Ludacris might heighten commercial expectations, yet that's not the aim of Def Jam Left. As Jay-Z told Billboard, the label is designed to be ''an artist-driven label with very low deals so people are not pressured by first-week SoundScan , so we can build artists." (Jay-Z could not be reached for comment.)

When's the last time anyone in mainstream hip-hop spoke of the merits of creativity over commerce, and actually meant it? We may have snickered when Jay-Z claimed ''The Black Album" would be his last, but his signing of the Roots is giving serious hip-hop heads a reason to believe.

With Def Jam Left, and his inaugural signing of the Roots, Jay-Z has created a boutique label for rap artists with more on their minds than the run-of-the-mill topics stifling mainstream rap. For the most part, commercial hip-hop is where rock was in the early 1990s before Nirvana and its seminal 1991 album ''Nevermind" flushed away all that brain-dead hair-band nonsense. Jay-Z has been in the game long enough to know a change is long overdue.

With his multiple Grammy-winning debut ''The College Dropout" and this year's follow-up, ''Late Registration," West, a Jay-Z protege, proved there's an audience eager for something more than for mayhem and materialism. Ever the egotist, 50 Cent even takes partial credit for West's success.

''After 50 Cent, was looking for something nonconfrontational, and they went after the first thing that came along," 50 told MTV shortly after West's ''Late Registration" was released in August. ''That was West, and his record took off."

Young Curtis Jackson isn't necessarily wrong, although West's breakthrough was more than just a reaction by those turned off by 50's trite thuggery. It was about the hip-hop universe expanding instead of retracting, which is what it's been doing for the past decade. It was about creating space for both West and 50, as once there were mainstream audiences for both N.W.A and A Tribe Called Quest.

Once his success made clear there's a market for various styles of rap, West formed GOOD Music, which stands for ''Getting Out Our Dreams," and signed Common. With West still in the everything's-golden stage of his career, his patronage of his fellow Chicagoan has given the rapper the biggest album of his career, this year's ''Be."

Likewise, the Roots' next album will likely receive more attention than anything the group's done, simply because it's now linked with Jay-Z and Def Jam. For years, the Roots have been hip-hop's go-to band, having backed Jay-Z on his stellar ''MTV Unplugged" outing, as well as Eminem's live performance of ''Lose Yourself" at the 2003 Grammys.

Now, the Roots will hopefully find the larger audience its always deserved. With the hip-hop nation scrutinizing Jay-Z's moves as a music executive as closely as they once dissected his rhymes, the Roots' next album, ''Game Theory," due sometime in 2006, will be an anticipated event. If the album does well -- and mind you, the expectations are far more modest than those that accompany most Def Jam releases -- this could help usher in a welcome era where hip-hop can again revel in the kind of diversity that marked its evolution from cult status to world dominance.

Creating Def Jam Left and signing the Roots is Jay-Z's boldest move since he assumed Def Jam's leadership. He may have abandoned his dreams of rhyming like Common, but in making a serious commitment to broadening the breadth of mainstream hip-hop, he shows he hasn't abandoned his common sense.

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Well written....
Nov 08th 2005
1
Geffen tried to do that as well though....
Nov 08th 2005
4
      Hence Game Theory...
Nov 08th 2005
6
           Sorry
Nov 09th 2005
23
                news flash: TFA nearly went platnum
Nov 09th 2005
24
                My aren't we the studious one...
Nov 09th 2005
25
..................
Nov 08th 2005
3
Def Jam...and whatever is LEFT of it.
Nov 08th 2005
10
its said it in the article really...
Nov 08th 2005
11
      how funny
Nov 08th 2005
13
      meh
Nov 08th 2005
15
      ?
Nov 08th 2005
16
      of course I read the article and that's the same shit being printed
Nov 08th 2005
14
           oh, and by the way
Nov 08th 2005
17
           so you these talks have been going on since march?
Nov 09th 2005
20
           True
Nov 08th 2005
18
           You think Beyonce has pubes????
Nov 09th 2005
26
RE: Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots
Nov 08th 2005
5
RE: Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots
Nov 08th 2005
8
What's this? A well written article regarding hip hop?
Nov 08th 2005
7
Renee Graham is on the low....
Nov 08th 2005
9
cosign
Nov 08th 2005
19
good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit
Nov 08th 2005
12
RE: good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit
Nov 09th 2005
21
      RE: good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit
Nov 09th 2005
22

onethree
Member since May 12th 2005
513 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 05:52 PM

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1. "Well written...."
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Nov-08-05 06:03 PM by onethree

  

          

...I hope enough folks get to know about this.

The part I liked was comparing the Roots to Nirvana in the early days of grunge crushing the plastic hair-metal bands at the time.

If 'Game Theory' is the Roots 'Nevermind', I'm hella curious as to what their 'Teen Spirit' is gonna be.

Something that (in effect) destroys materialism and thuggery - hmmmmmm....

"I don't know Butchie instead"
-John Monad

  

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HighVoltage
Member since Jan 04th 2004
16583 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:42 PM

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4. "Geffen tried to do that as well though...."
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

Nirvana was signed to Geffen, they took a gamble and it paid off.

They signed The Roots hoping to have the same effect, but in hip hop.... but we know how that turned out.

Difference is that Def Jam knows hip hop.... Geffen doesnt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

www.itsallthewaylive.net

www.twitter.com/allthewaylive

  

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onethree
Member since May 12th 2005
513 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:48 PM

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6. "Hence Game Theory..."
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

...hope it works.

"I don't know Butchie instead"
-John Monad

  

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punkhopjazcee
Member since Oct 03rd 2005
5239 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 10:59 AM

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23. "Sorry"
In response to Reply # 6


          

Nirvana released one album before Nevermind broke them through to the mainstream. The Roots have realeased six studio albums and have yet to reach a wide audience in the States. It'll have to be someone else.

  

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HighVoltage
Member since Jan 04th 2004
16583 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 11:06 AM

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24. "news flash: TFA nearly went platnum"
In response to Reply # 23


  

          

the audience is there. it just takes a good label to market them correctly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

www.itsallthewaylive.net

www.twitter.com/allthewaylive

  

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onethree
Member since May 12th 2005
513 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 11:08 AM

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25. "My aren't we the studious one..."
In response to Reply # 23


  

          

...it was the idea of changing the game, chief - not about career discography.

You might as well have said the Roots are brothers and Nirvana is a bunch of white guys.

Apples and oranges.

"I don't know Butchie instead"
-John Monad

  

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aoxomoxoa
Charter member
2708 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:37 PM

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3. ".................."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

will someone pleez tell me what Def Jam Left is? Left Jam, Def Left... or whatever the heck

  

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los79
Charter member
4311 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 09:31 PM

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10. "Def Jam...and whatever is LEFT of it."
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

  

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HighVoltage
Member since Jan 04th 2004
16583 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 09:38 PM

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11. "its said it in the article really..."
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

left jam is a new branch under Def Jam for artists they are trying to further develop.

basically, it lets them make the music they want to make without having to worry about soundscan numbers and album sales.

it will let the roots do what they want do, while *hopefully* getting the proper promotion they have been lacking their career.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

www.itsallthewaylive.net

www.twitter.com/allthewaylive

  

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allison
Charter member
25289 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 10:17 PM

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13. "how funny"
In response to Reply # 11


  

          


you know more than dan

good!

  

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aoxomoxoa
Charter member
2708 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 10:36 PM

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15. "meh"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

miss me again

  

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HighVoltage
Member since Jan 04th 2004
16583 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 10:36 PM

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16. "?"
In response to Reply # 13


  

          

you lost me there...

~~~~~~~~~~~~

www.itsallthewaylive.net

www.twitter.com/allthewaylive

  

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aoxomoxoa
Charter member
2708 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 10:35 PM

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14. "of course I read the article and that's the same shit being printed"
In response to Reply # 11
Tue Nov-08-05 10:54 PM by aoxomoxoa

  

          

in every article that's been out on this "subject"

The Roots are signed to Def Jam proper, I know that much. I know who came up with the idea for the Left label and when that was. I know this idea was relayed to Jay-Z. Perhaps Jay-Z intends to do this. It did come out in an interview and "news" spread like pandemic. But as far as i know, he's not talking to The Roots about it. Once again, their papers say Island / Def Jam. No mention of anything Left. I also know Jay has got his hands full (ya think?) with not just Def Jam but also clothing lines, basketball teams, vodka, soccer teams?, cosmetics?, beyonce's pubes? .. and the list goes on. Def Jam is equated with big artists that sell units (that's the idea anyway). They're gonna start up some indy shit now? Maybe. The left label has an interesting premise for breaking artists. Anyway, I don't hear a single person in Okayplayer land speaking or working on any Def Left project and naturally, I have asked. This isn't to say its not happening. I haven't seen any news that matters (to me, given what i know) on the supposed subject. People want to pick at it, I understand... I'm just saying ... is there any REAL info on this anywhere?

  

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aoxomoxoa
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2708 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 10:50 PM

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17. "oh, and by the way"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

I own all the domain names

http://defleft.com/
http://defjamleft.com/
http://leftjam.com/
http://leftjammusic.com/

  

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gusto
Charter member
26878 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 01:07 AM

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20. "so you these talks have been going on since march?"
In response to Reply # 17


  

          

  

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Bialy
Charter member
351 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 11:01 PM

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18. "True"
In response to Reply # 14


          

Nobody has said anything official on Def Jam Left. For all anybody knows that could've been brought up in passing.

I have a feeling thats why nobody is out saying there even is a real functioning Left label or even real plans for one.

I also think thats why ?uest said he has no expectations.

Jay is so busy he might've said that one day and never given it a second thought.

Until I start seeing something official I think its just as likely they get lost in the shuffle with all the other artists that never drop at Def Jam.

At least under a separate umbrella they can do their own thing and most likely release a project whenever they want.

Hopefully they just don't get left hanging.

  

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_JP
Member since Jan 29th 2003
2433 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 01:41 PM

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26. "You think Beyonce has pubes????"
In response to Reply # 14


  

          

>I also know
>Jay has got his hands full (ya think?) with not just Def Jam
>but also clothing lines, basketball teams, vodka, soccer
>teams?, cosmetics?, beyonce's pubes? .. and the list goes on.

You think Beyonce has pubes? She always struck me as the shaving or waxing type. Hhhuuummmmm??? I'm gonna have to think about this some more.

<------- The most important release of 2006, coming on July 23.
UPDATE: It's a boy!!!!!!

  

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scribalartz
Member since Jul 29th 2005
5137 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:48 PM

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5. "RE: Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

something about this article seems silly and uninformed...can't put my finger on it...but...whatever.

sourcing all that noise - http://sonicvibrations.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/sonicvibration

  

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Buddy_Gilapagos
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47115 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:57 PM

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8. "RE: Boston Globe article on Def Jam Left f. The Roots"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

>something about this article seems silly and
>uninformed...can't put my finger on it...but...whatever.

Its because there is no independent research. Someone could at least got sound byte from the press friendly Questo.
**********

Reality check: according to the 2000 census, there were more than 31,000 black physicians and surgeons, 33,000 black lawyers. There are about 1,400 black athletes playing professional basketball, football and baseball combined.

  

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Wordman
Member since Apr 11th 2003
11224 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 06:55 PM

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7. "What's this? A well written article regarding hip hop?"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          


"Your current frequencies of understanding outweigh that which has been given for you to understand." Saul Williams

  

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Steve
Charter member
10919 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 07:09 PM

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9. "Renee Graham is on the low...."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

one of the best music writers out there....she jus hidden away at the Boston Globe...she wrote about Jill the day her first album came out...aint no one do what she does...

  

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mcdeezjawns
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26056 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 11:54 PM

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19. "cosign"
In response to Reply # 9


  

          

peace

  

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phenompyrus
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9367 posts
Tue Nov-08-05 09:54 PM

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12. "good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit"
In response to Reply # 0


          

i cannot wait for GT.

http://twitter.com/phenompyrus

Get Out the Room
http://getouttheroom.podomatic.com
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/get-out-the-room/id525657893

  

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DownSinceOrganix
Member since Jan 09th 2005
809 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 01:11 AM

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21. "RE: good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit"
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

good article, but no real news here

  

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philliPINO
Member since Oct 12th 2005
263 posts
Wed Nov-09-05 01:37 AM

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22. "RE: good article, and i think the roots may finally get their due credit"
In response to Reply # 21


  

          

Real good article but it seems to be placing some pressure on Game Theory having to be this historic album (ie Nevermind). Pressure however can be a good thing and if anyone understands this ?uest does. As much as we all love everything the group has offered to us so far, I know Im not the only one that feels this change was needed and it could lead to some incredible things (hopefully in sales and definately musically)

"If your not feeling me fine you cost me nothing pay me no mind" ~ Jay-z

  

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