Funkmaster Flex has found some new fuel in his unusual and one-sided feud with Jay-Z thanks to an even more unusual source: Donald Trump’s 11th-hour spate of high-profile pardons just before leaving office earlier this year. Included in those pardons was Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez, who was arrested in 1994 for conspiracy with intent to distribute narcotics. She cooperated with the US Attorney and was sentenced to five years of probation. Perez was appointed CEO of Roc Nation in 2019 after serving as COO and working with the company for nearly a decade.
Meanwhile, Flex, who has been harping on what he believes to be Jay’s shortcomings for the past month, shared a headline from gossip site Press Reality on Instagram that posited “Jay Z Cut Deal w/ Trump; Didn’t Support Biden In Exchange For Pardon!” Flex, no stranger to courting controversy to entice curious listeners to tune in, said he’ll be discussing the headline on his show.
Press Reality’s headline seems to have been based on a line of conjecture from Variety‘s January 21 profile on Perez’s pardon that notes few Roc Nation artists spoke up against Trump or for Biden during the election in comparison to Jay and Beyonce’s very public support for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Variety also explained why a pardon would be critical for Perez, as she could be integral to Roc Nation’s move into cannabis with the Monogram brand and a potential public offering. Felons cannot run public companies or be involved in the legal marijuana business, so with her pardon, Perez could take more control as the company moves in those directions.
However, a spokesperson for Roc Nation told Variety the company “does not impose itself in its artists’ political involvement.” In terms of the Roc’s involvement in prison reform, knowing Trump’s sensitivity, insecurity, and vindictiveness, the source says they aren’t surprised if the company toned down its criticism of Trump as it worked with his administration to get legislation passed, saying, “As anyone who’s worked with the Trump White House knows, you can’t piss him off or he will take revenge.”