News: Dame Dash Reveals Truth Behind Jay-Z Collapse, "He Stopped Listening To Me"
Friday, Jan 8, 2010 9:01AM
Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon "Dame" Dash recently discussed his falling out with Jay-Z and explained why rap marketing pioneer Steve Stoute played a role in their estranged relationship.
According to Dash, tensions began to rise with Jay during their run with Rocawear Clothing.
"It was me and Jay and the two Russians voting on every decision, and I controlled the vote, because I always had Jay's vote." The two Russians were Alex Bize and Norton Cher, old-school clothing slingers from Manhattan's garment district who ran the day-to-day operations. "But one day," Dash says, "they brought me to a hotel." He takes his time with the story, replays it daintily. It's clear that reliving the scene is as painful as it is ebulliently cathartic. "I said, 'Why are we meeting at a hotel?' and it was because they didn't want anyone to hear me yelling. That was the day they told me they didn't want [celebrity photographer] Mario Testino to shoot the ads." Instead, they were going with someone cheaper, and they were going in a different direction altogether. "Here the Russians were telling me how to cater to my people! I wanted [Rocawear] to be sold at Bergdorf Goodman's, not Dr. Jay's!" says Dash. "In the end, Steve Stoute was making money off them. Jay stopped listening to me and started listening to him." Shortly thereafter, Jay-Z made their separation formal when he bought out Dash's stake in Rocawear for $30 million. (Esquire)
Former Roc-A-Fella artist Beanie Sigel recently accused Dash and Jay of shady business practices with Rocawear and his own clothing line, State Property.
"The clothing line that I had, I had 20 percent of State Property clothing, it's me, Jay, Dame [Dash] and the two other Russians that had the Rocawear owned State Property because I gave them an idea, pitched it to Dame at the time -- [Dame] was taking all the money from Rocawear and putting it into all his little companies, he did the same thing to State Property." (Power 99 FM)
While Dame initially laid the groundwork in 1999, Hov recently said he has taken the brand to new heights.
"Dame did a great job when he was here," Hov said in an interview. "I just feel that I have a different way of running things, which I think is working out well. I let people make mistakes, and push them to be creative. I let a design team design. When they feel good about something they have created, it makes them want to do more. It makes them want to do their best. People are happy here. I'm not a controlling manager and I have a great team that makes me confident that things can run well when I'm on the road, and I'm proud of that...Our goal is to make Rocawear a $1 billion company," he said. "It may take us more time than we would like since the economy is in the shape that it's in, but I'm confident that we will get there." (Women's Wear Daily)
Last year, Dash said former Def Jam president Lyor Cohen influenced their break-up.
"I'm very disappointed where Roc-A-Fella went," Dame explained in an interview. "I'm very disappointed, it's like the brand is compromised. I never thought that could ever happen where Roc-A-Fella is just not relevant. Lyor is a funny dude, he's a mastermind. He's not scared, I think his influences are what broke up Roc-A-Fella. It's just all business man and even though I'm not running it no more, you still don't wanna see something go down. It feels good but it feels bad, it's bittersweet. It's hard. I got love for everybody, really. But sometimes people do things that are uncharacteristic of what I thought they were." (Mixtape Monster)
Check out the Rocawear 10th Anniversary advertisement below: