(AllHipHop Features) Damon "Dame" Dash has been part of the most impactful moments in Hip-Hop culture, most notably - but not limited to - Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records. These days, the mogul is party to another moment, which is "The Next Big Thing," a new show that hope to launch a new era of stars.
The show features creator/ recording industry vet Tina Davis (Chris Brown, Ne-Yo), producer Zaytoven (The Migos, Gucci Mane) and a wide assortment of others like Joe Budden, Lil' Kim, Remy Ma, Jeremih, and others as they critique young Hip-Hop and R&B stars Tuesdays on BET Network. Dame represents the cold, hard truth, but in an uplifiting, yet unwavering way - if that makes any sense. Watching the show, Dame's candor seems to offend and confuse some of the contestants, but it all manages to make sense.
Why? Perhaps it is because Dame Dash has a walk that no other music mogul has walked and talks like no one has talked. And, while he is doing this show, he's got other ventures in the chamber like Dame Dash Studios.
AllHipHop: I wanted to get your take on "The Next Big Thing." How do you feel about this show and is it a part of your reinvention? How do you see it in your career?
Dame Dash: The next wave in my career is my own television network, Dame Dash Studios. I've just launched the app, which is my own version of Netflix. A 24-hour network comes next. That's where I'm going with it. Tina (Davis) asked me to do it. As a friend, I did it. I was taking that as a good chance to come into a traditional situation and be untraditional. So, I welcome and embrace that, because I am certain that's the only way they were calling me to do it. And, really that was it. BET is BET. They're a platform and they've been around for a while. And I think they are going to help introduce other platforms.
AllHipHop: The interaction between you and Tina is interesting. Is this a part of the show or is this the real contrast in styles?
Dame Dash: Tina used to work at Def Jam so she was always the deliverer of bad news. She would be used to having the reaction. Again, it would never be anything personal, because she was just sending messages. But I think that banter is just how we communicate based off pattern.
AllHipHop: There's a lot of interesting characters on "The Next Big Thing" and always wonder how I feel about breaking talent this way. Is it a viable way to break talent to you?
Dame Dash: I think if the individual knows how to take advantage of the opportunity of having those eyeballs on them and leveraging the celebrity they have...if they take matters in their own hands, yes. If they think somebody is going to give them something behind it, no.
AllHipHop: Do you feel artists are lacking the traditional structure? Do they need artist development, which is the cornerstone of this particular show.
Dame Dash: I think my version of artist development is business development. You have to look at yourself as a brand and you need to know how to build it and you need to know how to do it on your own. So, that's what I am teaching on the show an all that matters. Having an understanding of merch. If the record company wants to sign you on your terms, that's alright. I've always done partnerships or distribution deals.
A lot of artists, especially in urban are not taught how to feign on their own or (about) the fundamentals of music, because the urban business is run by non-urban people. It is more advantageous to keep them blind. I didn't know no better until I got there. Once I logically got there and saw what was right and what was wrong, my mission in life was to make us aware. And how to do this without them. And how, when the flag should be raised when somebody is trying to play you as well as signaling out the exact people like the Lyor Cohens of the world who are going to exploit you. (Lyor) was exploiting us in the traditional music way and now that there's a new way, YouTube, he's doing the same thing - just a different, updated evolution of culture vulturing. Profiting off of our disfunction and keeping us dysfunctional, because it behooves them.