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The silent partner of Roc-A-Fella Records, Kareem “Biggs” Burke is now planting his flag in the fashion world. He talked sneakers, Rocawear and more in a lengthy interview with Nice Kicks.

As a man of few words, Biggs is letting his newest projects speak for him. The former music executive turned branding authority took the time out to discuss his come up with Jay-Z and Damon Dash, keeping culture the priority and more in a rare interview.

He details the early beginnings of the Roc as a true brotherhood. “In the beginning Roc-A-fella was a bridge and that bridge took us out of one situation into another. That bridge started with Dame first getting into the music business and coming up with the name Rocafella with Tone Hooker (of Original Flavor) and inviting me in. It wasn’t just a logo, it was something that was etched in our hearts. It was something we believed. The name Roc-A-Fella is still with us today.”

Burke also defined how important Damon’s role was to the structure of the company. “Back then, I would say Dame spearheaded that whole belief system tenfold because he was a great motivator and business mind. Because he was treated so wrong with the first group he managed, he was able to learn so much in the music business through every single department. Dame taught Jay and myself a lot, then from there we took on different rolls,” he explained.

Kareem also shares how many of Jay’s most iconic verses were inspired by the crew; including himself. “Jay’s genius and being the wordsmith he was and still is, he knew how to say things in a way. Those are all stories from all of us. ‘We don’t drive X5’s we give them to baby mommas,’ I remember buying an X5 for my baby’s mother who’s my wife now for Valentine’s Day. I drive it one time and said, ‘I can’t drive this, man. This is my baby’s mother car.'”

He added, “That ended up in a song that goes platinum. We had so much fun making all the music and hanging together. All we did was laugh, make music, plot, shop, and go to restaurants… that was our life back then.”

In talking his newest fashion ventures Biggs details the OG Roc-A-Fella Nike Air Force One sneaker which came as a pleasant surprise to him. “My memory is a little foggy and I’m not sure how it happened, but I just remember getting them in the office. We were in the moment and seeing so much success, we weren’t really surprised by too much. But I do know it was really dope to have because we were buying hundreds and hundreds of pairs of white on white Air Force 1’s. So for a company like Nike to recognize the impact we were making and reach out to do something like that was really dope and special at the time” he recalled.

You can read the rest of the interview, which is a must read for any fan of The Roc, right here.

Via Nice Kicks

Photo: Kareem “Biggs Burke / Instagram Screen Cap