Today is the 20th anniversary of the critically acclaimed debut studio album Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z. Originally released on June 25, 1996 by Roc-A-Fella Records and Priority Records, the rap album debuted at number 23 on the US Billboard 200, on which it charted for 18 weeks. It was promoted with four singles. Reasonable Doubt was certified platinum as of 2006 and has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States. Collaborating artists on this project included Mary J. Blige, The Notorious B.I.G., Foxy Brown, Memphis Bleek, Sauce Money and Big Jaz. Additional vocals on the album include Mecca, Pain in Da Ass, DJ Clark Kent, Mary Davis and Khadijah Bass.
Where are they now? Take a look below.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has had her music featured on numerous film soundtracks, been featured magazine covers and has acted in film and television shows. She has also gone on to win 9 Grammys. Mary J. Blige is currently the host of Real Talk on Beats 1 Radio. The show premiered in November and has featured Jada Pinkett Smith, Tyrese Gibson, Demi Lovato and other guests.
The Notorious B.I.G.
May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997
On March 9, 1997, The Notorious B.I.G. was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Two more albums have been released since his death.
Foxy Brown is an American rapper, model, and actress. On August 14, 2012, Foxy Brown appeared as a special featured guest on Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday Tour in New York City. On August 15, 2013, Foxy Brown appeared on MTV Rapfix and announced her fourth studio album tentatively titled Bandz Up and a single of the same name, produced by Joe Milly, which was set to be released December 24, 2013, but was not released for unknown reasons. Foxy has also had a slew of legal trouble and personal health issues regarding her hearing. Recently Brown said her hearing is fine now, and is excited about recording and performing again. According to NY Daily News, she also received a key to the city from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams recognizing her as one of the “Leaders of Tomorrow” for her music.
Memphis Bleek currently hosts parties and making vlogs. Since Reasonable Doubt he discovered Rick Ross.
In 2006, he appeared at Jay-Z’s ‘I Declare War’ concert to perform “Reservoir Dogs.” Sauce Money also released a 2008 single entitled “Listen 2 Me”, sampling the Oompa-Loompas from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Besides being an emcee, he has produced songs for several hip hop artists other than Jay-Z, such as Group Home, M.O.P, Ras Kass, Rakim, Kool G Rap Neilleon and others.
In 2014 his single “ZOOM ZOOM” was featured in numerous workout DVD’s as well as VH1’s Single Ladies and Fox’s Red Band Society, and then featured again in Chasing Life on ABC Family (now FreeForm) in 2015. His single “FLAT STOMACH” was the premiere single at the 2014 Labo Ethnik Fashion & Lifestyle week in Paris.
Pain in Da Ass
Has a budding acting career and continues to appear on multi-platinum albums.
DJ Clark Kent
DJ Clark Kent is a hip-hop DJ and producer. He is well known as a sneaker collector and has worked with Nike a handful of times in creating sneakers, many of them carrying his signature 112 look. According to SneakerNews.com, Kent has also teamed up with Adidas Originals under the Quickstrike monicker featuring a two-pack of classic three stripe silhouettes with subdued woodland camouflage accents throughout.
Jay-Z has been a busy man since his Reasonable Doubt days. The 21 time Grammy winner is not only a music power house but a business mogul as well. His empire, according to Business Insider, includes:
Roc Nation, LLC
An American entertainment company founded by rapper Jay-Z in 2008. The company has offices in New York City, London and Los Angeles. It is a full service entertainment company housing a record label, talent agency, touring and concert production company, music, film, and television production company as well as a music publishing house. The company is home to a diverse roster of recording artists, musicians and record producers such as J. Cole, Big Sean, Rihanna, Kanye West, Grimes, Demi Lovato, DJ Khaled, T.I. and Rita Ora. The company also has partnerships with global management companies Three Six Zero and Philymack. The firm has a multi-year partnership with live event company Live Nation. In June 2009, Roc Nation signed a 4-year distribution deal with Sony Music. In 2010, Roc Nation partnered with London-based entertainment company Three Six Zero Group. In February 2013, Roc Nation signed a worldwide music publishing administration deal with Warner/Chappell Music. In April 2013, Roc Nation formed a new sports management division, Roc Nation Sports, a subsidiary dedicated to sports representation for professional athletes. Shortly thereafter, Roc Nation Sports also launched a boxing promotion division. After the Sony deal expired, in April 2013, Roc Nation signed a multi-year partnership with Universal Music. In February 2015, Roc Nation and Three Six Zero Group announced the formation of Three Six Zero Entertainment, a division representing clients in film, television and the literary arts.
The New Jersey Nets
Jay-Z is a part owner of the NBA team the New Jersey Nets. Last year Forbes valued it at $269 million.
The 40/40 Club
Jay-Z founded The 40/40 club, a chain of sports bars with a club atmosphere. The club now has eight locations, including Tokyo and Macao.
The Spotted Pig
After investing in the semi-famous chic New York bistro in the West Village, Jay-Z bought the entire building. The place is Michelin-starred and doesn’t empty.
Jay-Z founded Rocawear back in 1995 and has promoted the hell out of it since, and it’s worked. He sold the company for $204 million in 2007, but retains creative and operational control.
Jay-Z co-owns the Carol’s Daughter line of perfumes and beauty products. The line has been featured on shows like the Tyra Banks Show and Oprah.
Jay-Z is publishing a book called Decoded, built around his lyrics and that is, according to the WSJ, “a hybrid of music history, social commentary and memoir.”
What’s interesting here from a business perspective is the innovative promotion: Jay-Z got Microsoft to put up $1 million to promote the book as part of an initiative with Bing. Pretty cool.
In a four-year partnership, Jay-Z became the first non-athlete to have a line of Reebok shoes named after himself, the S.Carter line, which was popular.
In 2006 he didn’t just star in ads for Budweiser Select, but he also helped craft them.
Cherry Cola, HP, Translation Advertising
Coca-Cola, the world’s greatest brand, brought in Jay-Z to advise on the redesign and relaunch of Cherry Coke. Most of these brand partnerships (Budweiser, Coke, HP) go through the ad agency Jay-Z cofounded with Steve Stoute, a serial entrepreneur who had sold his previous company to Interpublic, the third largest ad agency conglomerate.
To read up more on Reasonable Doubt, hit up the respect-mag.com site. It’s Jay Day, All Day Baby!