“Have you ever loved somebody who used to get the party poppin’? We used to party-hop, we used to be in the Hamptons, party a lot. We was The Breakfast Club, you was a part of the Roc…”
Jay-Z, Hype Williams, Natane Adcock, Dame Dash, Puff Daddy and Aaliyah, photographed at Puff’s annual Fourth of July weekend BBQ and party at his property in East Hampton on July 2, 2000.
Since 1997 the Roc-A-Fella Records family had been renting mansions—which often came with a $30,000-a-week rent tag—and hosting a Summer-long soirée. for their family and friends. Puff also organized many festivities during the Summer months, and a raft of must-attend parties were spread between the two properties. There was also an annual Roc-A-Fella Records vs. Bad Boy Records softball game.
Being a longtime friend of Jay meant that Baby Girl was of course always invited out to the Roc’s summer house. During one of her last-ever interviews with journalist Touré, held at the Roc’s East Hampton mansion just two weeks before her untimely passing in August 2001, Aaliyah said this about her close friend: “Jay is the sweetest person. I have so much fun when I’m with him. I admire him because he’s an amazing talent, and on top of that he’s a beautiful person. He’s really good people.”
Aaliyah’s close friend Natane Adcock was also privy to the Roc’s festivities—in fact she was the one who would formally introduce Dame Dash, who she counted as her “best guy friend,” to Aaliyah during this 2000 holiday, beginning a whirlwind romance between the two. When the couple returned to East Hampton a year later in 2001 a bed strewn with rose petals greeted Aaliyah on arrival. Two weeks after their trip a different picture was being painted: For five days Dame barely moved from his bed, as he mourned the untimely loss of his “informal” fiancée. And for five days, Jay-Z sat with him on the bed, supporting his best friend through his grief. The whole Roc-A-Fella crew slept over—on the floor, on the couches—while their CEO wept. Due to the circumstances, they knew he could very well be heading to the Bellevue Hospital Center.
Natane would speak on the group’s time together in the Hamptons for a memorial feature in Vibe magazine in November 2001. “I’ll never forget how we laughed our way through the Summers,” she explained. “We’d make up silly names for the food Jay and Dame’s cook made, like ‘cereal pie,’ ‘candy salad’ and the ‘bizarre purple potatoes that came from Mars.’” Jigga of course referenced these “special plates” in his 2003 remix of Aaliyah’s single “Miss You”—which can be heard on his S. Carter Collection mixtape, now streaming on TIDAL.
The close-knit group, who spent hours dancing in the living room to Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, would name themselves “The Breakfast Club” after the teenagers in the 1985 coming-of-age film. Like the high-schoolers in the film, spending long nights together talking had the group realizing that they were all deeper than their respective stereotypes. Here Adcock explains how the nickname came to be: “One night me, Aaliyah, Jay, Damon, and May Anderson were sitting up talking, and we realized we were like those kids from ‘The Breakfast Club.’ Like, at the end of the movie, when they all let their guard down; it was like that from the start with us. We all saw in each other what we had in ourselves.”