Jay-Z’s Rocawear Could ‘Fade to Black’

NEW YORK – Rapper Jay-Z’s Rocawear has hit hard times.

Like many companies in today’s economy, Jay-Z’s clothing line is experiencing some rough times.

According to the New York Post, half the staff of the rapper’s Rocawear men and boys division in its Big Apple headquarters was laid off in early January. According to the New York State Department of Labor the urban apparel brand let go 28 of its 56 workers for “economic reasons.”

Moreover, an insider told the Post that the rapper used to be a strong presence in the office, but rarely shows up these days.

“It’s kind of like he’s given up on the brand,” the source said.

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, sold Rocawear for $204 million in 2007 to Iconix Group, which also owns Starter and Ed Hardy.

Following the brand’s purchase, the rapper continued to oversee the company until his contractual obligations expired. Now, he refuses to promote the brand as sales continue to decline.

“Jay-Z doesn’t do anything without getting paid a lot of money–a lot more than Rocawear is generating,” an insider told the Post.

The rapper launched the brand in 1999 with Roc-A-Fella Records partner Damon Dash.

The clothing line notably made headlines in November after receiving criticism for its “Occupy All Streets” t-shirts.

According to TMZ, protesters criticized Jay-Z for trying to capitalize off of the “Occupy” movement happening across the U.S.

The shirts were pulled from the company’s Web site, but later resurfaced.