Kanye's Story About Playing "All Falls Down" in the Roc-A-Fella Office
Netflix's new documentary, jeen-yuhs, features many intriguing moments about Kanye West. However, one scene in particular has taken center stage.
Kanye rushes into the office of Roc-A-Fella in New York City 17 minutes into the film and plays "All Falls Down”-a song that went platinum twice and became his first Top 10 hit-for anyone who will listen. He faces apathy, instead of blowing away everyone. In reality, no one cares.
There's a thing about Kanye's self-belief and determination during a time when most people still dismissed his skills as a rapper and regarded him as merely a producer. Fans were shocked to see Roc-A-Fella employees so carelessly disregard a now-classic rap song like "All Falls Down," and the video quickly went viral.
There's much more to every story than meets the eye, though. The four-minute segment only captures a small portion of Kanye's interactions with Roc-A-Fella, and the full story is more complex than what's presented in the documentary.
Kyambo "Hip Hop" Joshua, Kanye's manager at the time and former head of A&R at Roc-A-Fella, was one of the first people Ye encountered when he walked into the building.
Joshua says Kanye wasn't often at the Roc-A-Fella HQ back then, but he did have a habit of performing for anyone who was willing to listen to him. “Those types of impromptu performances happened all the time,” Hip Hop says. “This was when he was becoming more confident in his music. He was still trying to get those opportunities.”
On that day, Kanye appeared unannounced at Roc-A-Fella, at a time when employees were busy preparing the albums for Cam'ron. People have criticized Chaka Pilgrim, in particular, for failing to praise Kanye's song when he was introduced. “All Falls Down.” But with additional context, a more complete picture comes to light.
Kanye began performing at Pilgrim's desk as she sat behind a stack of papers, so she wasn't able to give him her undivided attention (which would have been the case if this had been a scheduled listening session)“Chaka was definitely busy, because she’s behind her desk,” Hip Hop says. “If she’s behind her desk, she’s doing something. Usually, she’s walking around doing a bunch of shit or on a video shoot or something like that.”