Former Roc-A-Fella Records co-owner Damon “Dame” Dash recently spoke on finding maturity in hip-hop and why he has grown past his early days as a young music executive.
From Dash’s perspective, he no longer has a desire to re-live his youth.
“Don’t get it twisted, I had a ball. I was young, I was wild,” he says. “But I can’t be going out and doing that sh*t. That sh*t is corny. You’re allowed to make mistakes as a young’n. But I would probably get offended if I watched somebody pour champagne on a girl’s head right now, and I was the main motherf*cker who was doing that. I know the disrespect that I was committing, the karmic repercussions of it, my God. But if you don’t remove yourself from that, how would you even objectively know? I feel sorry for people where that can become your life choice, where they’re just surrounded by wack world every day, all day. You can’t still be living by those ideals.” (YRB Magazine)
Producer Swizz Beatz recently talked about getting his grown man look on.
With no plans to slow down, he maintains this next year as a rebirth of his old self. “Part of the graduation stage is dumbing-down the toys a little bit. You gotta understand, I was doing these things since I was 17, 18 years old, and I’m 31 now. If you are doing the same things in your 30s that you were doing in your teens, something’s not right,” says Swizz with a chuckle. And it’s clear that things have changed. Gone are the extravagant cars and necklaces decked with diamonds, and in their place is a grown man with a clear vision for the future. He is determined to put a tangible feeling back into music, and with his new album in the works, this is his moment. “Music is something that should stick with you and represent a moment in time. I need to raise the bar for that. I need to personally take the risk to make those sounds and take those elements where everyone is over there, but Swizz is over here.” (Haute Living)
Earlier this year, Dame discussed his falling out with Jay-Z 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)
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)
Check out a recent Damon Dash interview below: