Jay-Z reigned over the New York rap scene throughout the late '90s and early 2000s and steadily built up the Roc-a-Fella Records dynasty in the process. The Brooklyn rapper made his splash debut in 1996 and cranked out album after album and hit after hit throughout the decade and into the next. Jay-Z became so successful that Roc-a-Fella, the record label he began with Damon Dash, became a marketable brand itself, spawning a lucrative clothing line (Roca Wear); a deep roster of talented rappers (Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron, M.O.P.) and producers (Just Blaze, Kayne West); a number of arena-packing cross-country tours; and even big-budget Hollywood films (Paid in Full, State Property). While such success is amazing, Jay-Z's musical achievements outweigh the commercial achievements of his franchise. Every one of his albums sold millions, and his endless parade of singles made him omnipresent on urban radio and video. Moreover, he retained a strongly devoted fan base -- not only the suburban MTV crowd but also the street-level crowd as well -- and challenged whatever rivals attempted to oust him from atop the rap industry, most notably Nas.