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Why Damon Dash Has to Cash Out His Roc-A-Fella Records Shares

Damon Dash will soon no longer be co-owner of Roc-A-Fella Records after a judge ordered him to sell his shares. 

BURBANK, CA – APRIL 03: Damon Dash attends Damon Dash Celebrates the Launch of Dame Dash Studios at DDS33 on April 3, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Damon Dash Studios)

United States Magistrate Robert W. Lehrburger ruled in a 15-page document that Dash’s failure to pay his losing judgment against movie producer Josh Weber could be sufficed by the selling of his shares of the prize music label, Radar reported.

Here’s Why Dash Has To Sell

In 2022, Weber won a $823,000 judgment against Dash for defamation and copyright infringement following a dispute over the 2016 film “Dear Frank.

Before Lehrburger’s ruling, Dash had refused to pay the judgment.

Between 2016 and 2018, Weber and his company at Muddy Waters Pictures fired Dash as film’s director, citing he was incompetent. 

Weber subsequently alleged that Dash had taken control of the footage and marketed it under a new title. The director claimed the soon-to-be former Roc-A-Fella exec hijacked the film and shopped as a crime thriller to outlets like BET under a new title: “The List.”

Dash has had financial difficulties and money struggles, having previously stated that he is “broke.” Recent court documents reportedly show him seeking a reduction in child support payments to his ex-partner, Rachel Roy, with whom he shares two daughters named Ava, 24, and Tallulah, 15. 

The forced sale of his shares also smashes any hopes he might have had of reviving Roc-A-Fella Records. 

Dash is credited with introducing Jay-Z as a solo artist and launching State Property and Dipset. In Drake’s “Pound Cake,” Jay-Z gives Dash credit as a multimillionaire, which seemed accurate in 2013, considering his net worth was reported to be $50 million.

Now at about $100,000, perhaps his downfall started in 2004 when Roc-A-Fella Records, which he co-launched in 1996, was sold to its partner Def Jam Music Group for $10 million. Def Jam had previously purchased 50 percent of the company in 2007. Jay-Z transitioned from Roc-A-Fella artist to the president of Def Jam. He reportedly negotiated a deal that gave him ownership of his masters. Dash complained he was left out of this deal.

Up until the forced sale, Dash still called himself the CEO of Roc-A-Fella Inc., which is separate from Roc-A-Fella LLC. During his recent appearance on a local Atlanta podcast, he announced his intentions to revitalize the brand under his own leadership.

“I’m taking back Roc-A-Fella; I don’t need no paperwork,” the Harlem native said on the podcast. “Roc-A-Fella never dies. It’s not dead; I just f**kin’ took a vacation. I’m the CEO of Roc-A-Fella Inc. and Jay-Z knows it, and so does Biggs.” Kareem Biggs was the third co-founder of Roc-A-Fella.

It is also noteworthy that Jay-Z and Biggs made attempts to protect Dash’s stake.

In 2021, Roc-A-Fella Records adopted a no-sell-off clause during a board meeting that Damon Dash did not attend or vote for. As Rolling Stone reported, the clause was a preventive measure to stop Dash from selling NFTs of the copyright of Jay-Z’s first album, “Reasonable Doubt.”

Despite Jay-Z’s latest objections to Dash’s forced sale, a New York judge ordered Roc-A-Fella to deliver Dash’s stock certificate to the U.S. Marshals Service for auction within 180 days.

“They can participate in the auction and place the winning bid,” Lehrburger said, addressing anyone’s concerns over the intellectual rights of the record company and preventing an outsider from acquiring Roc-A-Fella.

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