hip hop music

November 8, 2005

Boston Globe on Jay-Z Signing the Roots

via Spine Mag

Jay-Z pays tribute to his rap roots

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 [sales], 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...

Posted by jsmooth995 at November 8, 2005 10:40 PM

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