Michael’s career in New York started with his relocation in 2003 to work with a newly founded company, Native/DBG’s, which is the design unit of the ROC family of brands. ROC is an entertainment/fashion empire founded by hip-hop entrepreneurs and Roc-A-Fella CEOs Damon Dash, Kareem Burke, David Gensler and co-owned by Jay-Z. The brands embody a dizzying panoply of urban marketing possibilities, including Armadale vodka, C. Ronson, State Property, Rocawear, ROC Music, Roc-A-Fella Records, Team Roc, Roc-a-Fella Films, Dash Films and even some magazines. Native/DBG’s print work for Roca Wear, State Property and Team Roc run the gamut from black and white, color-by-numbers-styled portraits of hip-hoppers, to sexy photographs by Albert Watson.
Michael was tasked to design, edit, shoot, really do whatever was needed to unify the brands in the ROC family. From working with the team to make Kanye’s first album cover come to life, hang tags for apparel, designing seasonal retail websites, to EPK’s for Armadale vodka and some of the craziest stories of his life.