The cold war between Roc-A-Fella founders Jay-Z and Damon Dash is about to heat up – or maybe explode. Roc-A-Fella is suing Damon Dash, who co-founded the label with Jay-Z and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.
The legal beef stems around Damon Dash’s attempts to mint Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, as an NFT. Dame already had one auction planned but it was canceled.
Roc-A-Fella’s lawyer Alex Spiro marched into court and sued Damon today (June 18), claiming he is probably planning another auction, and they want to put a halt to it right away.
“The clock is ticking. Dash had planned to sell at a SuperFarm Foundation online auction on June 23, 2021, the copyright to Jay-Z’s debut album Reasonable Doubt, recognized as one of the greatest recordings in history. That auction was cancelled, and Dash is currently frantically scouting for another venue to make the sale. It’s not a matter of if, only when,” Sprio said. “But Dash does not even own Reasonable Doubt or its copyright and, therefore, has no right to sell the album or any rights to it. Instead, RAF, Inc. owns all rights to Reasonable Doubt. The sale of this irreplaceable asset must be stopped before it is too late, and Dash must be held accountable for his theft.”
Roc-A-Fella’s lawsuit against its own founder claims Reasonable Doubt is not Damon’s to mint and sell as an NFT.
It’s interesting because Damon Dash has said in multiple interviews that he still owns a portion of the masters to Reasonable Doubt. The release is Jay-Z’s classic debut album, which was released on June 25, 1996.
In 2004, after almost 10 years in business, Jay-Z, Damon, and Biggs sold the remaining 50% of Roc-A-Fella to Def Jam for $10 million.
That same year, Jay-Z was named President of Def Jam Records. In 2008, Jay-Z reportedly bought himself out of his contract with Def Jam for $5 million to start Roc Nation.
Jay-Z owns all of his masters except for Reasonable Doubt, which he co-owns with his former partners.
“Dash’s status a minority shareholder in RAF, Inc., gives him no right to sell a company asset,” Spiro added. “The bottom line is simple: Dash can’t sell what he doesn’t own. 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 Court should stop Dash from attempting to sell the copyright to Reasonable Doubt, require Dash to return the NFT of Reasonable Doubt to RAF, Inc., and hold him accountable for this brazen theft of RAF, Inc.’s most prized asset.”
In previous interviews, Jay stated he was willing to give up everything – all of his masters – his stake in Roc-A-Fella, and his position at Def Jam – to be the sole owner of Reasonable Doubt, which he dubbed his “baby.”
Roc-A-Fella is asking a judge to grant a temporary restraining order against Damon as the court battle begins.