Jay Electronica Chooses Roc Nation Over Bad Boy: Right or Wrong Move?

by Yvette Travillian

Jay Electronica – Exhibit C

So the big news of the weekend was the signing of Jay Electronica to Jay Z’s Roc Nation. On Friday night Jay Z hosted an exclusive event at NYC’s The Box titled  “Jay-Z Invites You to an Evening of Magic: Experience The Turn” where everyone from Beyonce to Jay Electronica’s mother were in attendance to help the nicely suited up New Orleans MC celebrate his big move to the Roc.

The news was met with immediate congrats from celebs and fans alike via twitter but it soon became pretty obvious that there was a certain famous ‘uber twitterer’ who was suddenly unusually quiet. This obviously being Puffy aka Mr. Tweet himself. When he finally emerged to comment, the twitterverse was surprised to to see the emotional message he put out that could have been directed at either Jay Z or Jay Electronica:

So why all the dramatics from the mogul? Apparently Puffy had been in talks to sign Jay Electronica to his Bad Boy/Interscope record label for over a year. In Diddy’s mind it was pretty much a done deal so he was completely blindsided at the news of Jay Electronica going to Roc Nation. But what he didn’t know was that Jay Z was also peeping the dope MC and after a chance meeting between the two at Jay Z’s  West Village eatery, The Spotted Pig, it soon became obvious to Electronica that he had a much better chance at success over at The Roc rather than with Bad Boy  – whose roster for the most part seems to be unknown to many. (*cue in Biggie’s ‘soon as he buy that wine I just creep up from behind’ verse from “Big Poppa”)

It was pretty much a no brainer move for Jay Electronica. Puffy undoubtedly is a successful business man but his need to wear many many hats, (one of them being an entertainer himself) has definitely affected his  ability to focus on being the respected label boss he once was in the 90’s and early 2000’s (although ‘respected’ can certainly be debated). Bad Boy is now considered by many to be a graveyard of some sorts; a place  where talented artists go to dig a spot for their final resting place – because the odds of them succeeding with Puff are slim to none. Although Janelle Monáe has respectively given the label a much needed boost. Diddy also wears the hat of artist manager and has seen success with managing Rick Ross but has reportedly just lost Nicki Minaj to music industry vet Benny Medina.

Roc Nation however is slowly becoming the label/entity to watch. Its artist roster so far includes J. Cole, Willow Smith and Jay Z and it also acts as a management company overseeing the careers of artists such as Rihanna, The Ting Tings, Wale and Mark Ronson; producers like No ID and Lab Ox; and  DJ’s like D Nice, Samantha Ronson and Solange. Surely this list is destined to only grow longer in 2011.

Although Jay Electronica is still riding the indie wave and has yet managed to fully crossover, he has shit load of talent and potential to be one of the hottest MC’s out (“Exhibit C” anyone?). He is entering Roc Nation with a very respectable catalogue and if he sticks to his script hopefully he will have no problem reaching the top. And with Jay Z promising that his first official Roc Nation album will drop sometime during  the1st Quarter, it appears that we will not have to wait long to see what’s next. I think Diddy (who I can’t front… I have a serious soft spot for) needs to understand that business is business and it is a known fact that he has pulled many shady moves on many people in his lifetime, so the best thing he can do is get over it and move on.

But what do you guys think? Was Jay Electronica wrong for breaking his verbal deal with Puffy? Should he not have gone with Jay Z? Will this put a permanent dent in Puff’s relationship with Jay Z?  Weigh in and let us know your thoughts.


  • Stone

    As much as I like Diddy as a persona, he’s terrible at managing artists. Like you said, look at all of the artists who are now sitting on the shelf. Day 26, Dainty Kaine, Cheri Dennis, etc. And let’s not get started with the Puff’s 2 minute plus diatribe on The Ghost of Christopher Wallace, that was longer than Jay’s freestyle.

    Roc Nation is on fire as a management team. After seeing J Cole this weekend, and now with Willow Smith the brand is on fire. It’s a no brainer. As Puff should realize, “its just business.”

  • jamal

    Puff and Jay-z are one in the same, they are both artists that moonlight as business, the exception being the latter having the right platform in place (ROC Nation) for other artists to succeed. Jay-z gives Roc Nation credibility but its people like John Meneilly that really make it work. Jay-z really was not good at developing artists at Roc-a-fella..

  • FinchyKing

    I don’t think Jay-El was wrong for signing with Jay-Z. An artist should go with the best possible deal there is. Maybe Jay-Z had the better deal on the table. Show business is business not show friends (learned that along time ago), so with that being said it should not put a dent in the relationship that Puffy has with either Jay’s.

  • vickey

    I think signing with Roc Nation was a better look for Jay Elect. artistically. Puff, is very talented and this might sting a bit for him, but Puff does people dirty; it’s a proven fact. This was a business decision for Jay Electronica, not personal….

    As I said to Mr. Combs via twitter: This is karma, embrace it…This too shall pass.

  • BlackBetty

    Let’s be honest the only artist Diddy truly cares about is himself…

    • Stone

      True INDEED.

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