#24: Kareem "Biggs" Burke Always Envisioned Roc-A-Fella As a Conglomerate

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On this week’s episode of HYPEBEAST Radio, we sat down with Roc-A-Fella co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke. Fresh off the re-release of the timeless “Roc-A-Fella” Nike Air Force 1, Biggs explains that the shoe originally came about as a limited friends-and-family release “and it just became something that was highly coveted and one of the most sought after Air Force 1’s,” says Biggs. “They told me top five of all time, especially on the resell market.”

Biggs also talks about the run of pop-up spaces, installations, and activations he helped orchestrate for the 20th anniversary of Jay Z’s classic album, Reasonable Doubt. The merch tour culminated in a series of 22 simultaneous pop-up shops across America—in reference to the album’s seminal track, “22 Two’s.”

“Every time a door was closed for us we went and kicked it down and opened up our own door.”


But it wasn’t always so easy. Biggs also opens up about the various obstacles he, Dame and Hov faced while trying to take on corporate America: even when an artist like Jay Z walks into a brand’s office, according to Biggs, “all the doors were being closed — nobody believed in him.” So the budding entrepreneurs decided to take matters into their own hands: “Jay talked about Belvedere all the time and they wouldn’t give us product for a video and that’s when we started Armadale Vodka. Every time a door was closed for us we went and kicked it down and opened up our own door.”

Check out the episode in full above.

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