I dropped the Jay Z: B.C. – Before roCafella mixtape around 15 years ago. For a DJ sometimes good fortune arises just from being in the right place at the right time, for me that moment happened in 1999. I was at a producer friend of mine’s crib and was listening to some beats he was cooking up. During the session he casually mentioned he had some Jay joints on tape that were unreleased. I was skeptical at first figuring I’d heard and owned every Jay song manufactured whether retail or unreleased: so he popped in the tape and incredibly my ears were met with songs that I’d never heard before. It became apparent that these were demo tracks and most of them were done with Sauce Money.
The chemistry between the two rappers was evident and while this hasn’t been confirmed, I was told that they had planned to drop a joint project at some point. If true, that would explain why Sauce had such a heavy presence on the demo. DJ Clark Kent handled the bulk of the production on the songs and you could hear Jay making the transformation to the flow we’d hear on his classic Reasonable Doubt album. After going through about ten songs, I quickly copped a dub on cassette, scribbled “unreleased Jigga” on the front and got my boy’s blessings to do whatever I wanted with them. I sat on these exclusives for about two years before finally releasing Before roCafella in the summer of 2001.
As the years have gone by, I’ve seen the tape referenced quite a few times on various blogs and the demos have popped up on the internet giving it a life of its own. Because I dropped it in the era where CDs were still popular, it was very hard to find the entire mixtape on the internet, as a result of this I’ve gotten many requests to re-release it. Recently I decided to finally put it back out with the songs cleaned up and a few bonus songs added (including two Sauce tracks that weren’t on the original tape). So it’s with great pleasure to be able to bring it to you again via the good people at WatchLoud and allow people to hear Before roCafella the way it was intended to be heard. – DJ Rhude
DJ Rhude was a contributing writer for XXL Magazine from 1999 – 2008 and also has penned for various outlets including The Source and King Magazine. The Brooklyn born DJ/producer was also the man behind the idea that sparked the widely successful “No Pigeon’s” record with the Sporty Thieves.