J-Z's 'diamond' loses its sparkle

Rupa Sudra  

Legendary hip-hop rapper Jay-Z is facing claims that the diamond sign he makes actually belongs to a former artist on his label.

Rebel, an ex Roc-A-Fella artist, alleges that Jay-Z stole the diamond sign from him.  "When I first saw Jay throwing up the diamond sign on the cover of his Dynasty album I can't lie, I was angry," says Rebel, who was part of the group Diamonds in da ruff.

He continues:  "You can clearly see me throwing the diamond sign in  'The streets is watching' music video in 1998. Jay didn't begin throwing up the diamond sign until the Dynasty album launch in 2000." Jay-Z has since been spotted using the diamond sign in almost all his videos, including the one for the recent hit with girlfriend Beyonce Knowles.

 "What's a diamond got to do with a dynasty? The diamond represents Diamonds in da ruff  — that's my group," explains Rebel. In an attempt to get his version of the truth out, Rebel has produced the freestyle record Throw ur diamonds up. Although the record is not intended to insult Jay-Z, it is meant to give hip-hop fans the true history behind the diamond sign.

This isn't the first time that Jay-Z's diamond routine has faced controversy. In 2005, former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page sued the Roc-a-Fella CEO, claiming the  'diamond cutter' sign was his own trademark gesture.  "Jay-Z and Roc-a-Fella Records use this symbol to promote themselves.

People have come to recognise Page and the way that it's being used by Jay-Z is taking value away from it and causing confusion to the public," explained George Gallegos, Page's lawyer. The lawsuit accuses Jay-Z of copyright and trademark infringement, and includes an injunction to prevent him making the sign again. The outcome of the case is being watched avidly by hip-hop fans and many others.