“Friend or Foe”: Jay-Z vs Dame Dash by VOFO.
by Rapjoint Lagos
“Friend or Foe” is title of a song on “Reasonable Doubt”, Jay-Z’s classic and critically acclaimed debut album. Ironically, whilst JAY-Z was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of his debut album “Reasonable Doubt”, he and his ex-business Partner, Damon Dash, were engaging in a legal battle over the same album. Damon Dash sought to sell a Reasonable Doubt non-fungible token (NFT) of the Album.
Also, Jay-Z commissioned “multidisciplinary” artist Derrick Adams to carve out a Reasonable Doubt non-fungible token (NFT) released on Friday (June 25) — exactly 25 years after its initial release date through Jigga and Damon Dash’s ex-record label, Roc-A-Fella Records.
Released in 1996, Reasonable Doubt was both a critical and commercial triumph for JAY-Z. A mafia rap masterpiece, the album packed a massive guest list, including Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G., Foxy Brown, and Memphis Bleek, with production mostly handled by DJ Premier, Ski, and Clark Kent. It debuted at No. 23 on Billboard’s albums chart and went on to sell more than a million copies.
Jay-Z, Dash, and Kareem Burke co-founded Roc-A-Fella, and while Dash and Jay notably cut business ties in 2005, each of the three founders retains a one-third share in RAF, Inc. As Roc-A-Fella’s new lawsuit notes, however, Jay-Z’s original deal with his label stipulated that RAF, Inc. would be the sole owner of the rights to his albums, including Reasonable Doubt.
A judge has ruled in favor of Roc-A-Fella Records and prohibited Damon Dash from minting and selling Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt as a non-fungible token, Rolling Stone has confirmed (TMZ first reported the news).
The wording of the claim, which you can read in full here, then gets more serious, stating that "By attempting such a sale, Dash has converted a corporate asset and has breached his fiduciary duties. His planned auction of Reasonable Doubt would result in irreparable harm," the lawsuit reads.
According to the lawsuit, filed in New York on Friday (June 18), and first reported by TMZ, Dash was planning to work with NFT platform SuperFarm to host an online auction on Wednesday (June 23) for the copyright to Reasonable Doubt. The lawsuit claims that Dash’s “status [as] a minority shareholder in RAF, Inc., gives him no right to sell a company asset” (i.e the copyright to Reasonable Doubt).”
Following the news of the legal complaint filed by attorney Alex Spiro in New York’s Southern District Court, Dash maintained that the suit fundamentally misunderstood what was at stake. Dash claimed that, as of March 2021, Jay-Z had actually attempted to buy out his 1/3 share of Roc-A-Fella at “a price I deemed unacceptable” and said that he is now seeking his own potential buyers. “Under the terms of the deal with a potential buyer, the buyer would buy my share of Roc-A-Fella Records and Jay-Z will have exclusive administration rights,” Dash told TMZ. Dash further claimed that Roc-A-Fella’s lawsuit filing was nothing but a “scare tactic” to prevent him from selling something he believes he has the legal right to sell.
This is not the only problem that Jay-Z has had with his debut as of late, an album co-released by Roc-A-Fella Records and Priority Records, and featuring future Hova classics such as “Can’t Knock the Hustle” and “Brooklyn’s Finest.” On June 14, Jay-Z commenced a suit against photographer Jonathan Mannion, who’d been a longtime collaborator starting with that debut album cover, for reportedly exploiting the rapper’s name and likeness without consent.
This story is still developing. Hold tight for updates in the days ahead.