One of the handful of DJs to make the jump from mixtapes to the major labels, DJ Clue? hooked up with Jay-Z’s Roc-a-Fella Records camp for a bit in the late ’90s, then moved on to his own camp, Desert Storm Records. The Queens native built his reputation with street-level mixtapes and quickly became one of the city’s leading DJs, graced with the latest tracks by the biggest names.
Popular New York hip-hop station Hot 97 brought him aboard for a while in the late ’90s alongside fellow DJ heavyweight Funkmaster Flex. The air time furthered his reputation, and Jay-Z in turn invited him to join forces with Roc-a-Fella, which released Clue?’s major-label debut, The Professional (1997). The album featured primarily exclusive tracks, each boasting one of New York’s top rappers, everyone from Nas and Mobb Deep to DMX and Ja Rule. A second volume followed in 2000, and in the meantime Clue? toured with Roc-a-Fella in support of Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life album as documented on Backstage (2000).
He then parted ways with Roc-a-Fella and embarked on his own path, establishing Desert Storm Records and debuting Fabolous in 2001. Years later, once Jay-Z ascended to the position of president of Def Jam, Clue? recorded “The Professional,” Pt. 3 (2006).