The year is 1998. If you were like me, you were in college and/or school. But what if you and your P-N-C were aspiring rappers trying to get on and a rapper with his own label offers you a contract? Considering your desire just to get on and the fact that, despite not being a king in the game just yet, the rapper was friends with another rapper many call the best to ever do it and has two crtically-acclaimed albums, what would you do?

Let's say you sign the dotted line and get the official "family" chain. Let's say you get your first major look when you're featured alongside said rapper, his protege and one of his long time friends on a soundtrack to what ends up being one of the hottest independent street movies of the summer. And not only do the movie and soundtrack put the streets on smash, but they also feature the first of a string of hits that elevates said rapper to the top of the game by the end of the summer. Then, after killing the summer and setting off one of the most popular theatrical releases of the season, said rapper places you on his third, and most anticipated, album.

For sh#ts and giggles, let's say the first single from this album features a re-imagined sample from an award-winning Broadway play and a movie. From there, the rest is history for said rapper as the album goes on to sell as many records as this other rapper who is a little more famous for his acting than his rapping, but still selling records like water in a desert.

If you do the math, then this sounds like an easy win, right? Once said rapper does his thing, you'll get your chance to capitalize off of the affiliation when your album drops right? But what if you never drop an album and you never get the chance to even release an official single?

If this sounds like your story (minus the actual details), then you could be one of The Ranjahz. They were signed to Roc-A-Fella just before Jay-Z took over the game. The soundtrack was Street is Watching and Haph and Wais P were featured on Celebration (along with Memphis Bleek and Sauce Money) before getting major shine on Vol. II's If I Should Die.

Check out this footage from a reunion show of sorts in Richmond as they relive a couple of those moments along with their biggest song post-Roc-A-Fella, Inspiration.

The Ranjahz weren't the first or the last to get under the Roc-A-Fella umbrella only to have it close up before they really got to use it to rain down on the industry, but as Wais suggests in the video, at least those royalty checks are still coming in.

Disclaimer: I don't have a clue as to how it really went down. The details and the politics are only known to the people who lived them, but I'm willing to bet that the general narrative is pretty spot on.

Shouts to Digital Hustler!

Photo courtesy of Popgadget

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