Dame Dash: If Roc-A-Fella Happened Today...This Is What I'd Do.
(AllHipHop Features) What Dame Dash helped create, nobody can take away, but how will he be remembered? Right now, the mogul doesn't seem too concerned with that, as he has made it his life's mission and work to educate in deed and word. Sometimes he's misunderstood and other times, overstood like when he managed to wretch a $2 million loan repayment from director Lee Daniels, who he helped early in his career. However, Dame continues to speak the boss talk of empowerment, independence and ownership. He recently launched the Dame Dash Studios, full of original content, partnerships and an app to match. He's also a fixture on "The Next Big Thing," a BET show where he helps to find new super stars.
And yet, the past lingers. Over time, it seems like the entire Roc-A-Fella crew is coming back in full force, even unlikely folks - like Biggs and Jaz-O that have had strained relations with Jay-Z - are at Roc Nation. Dame speaks on it, but also keeps things in perspective and the present.
AllHipHop: There is so much to talk about. I wanna ask you this, because its weighed on my mind heavily. Recently, Jaz-O, Jay-Z's mentor signed with Roc Nation. Obviously, he was never a part of Roc-A-Fella Records formally. How do you feel like the Roc crew is back in a newer form.
Dame Dash: I didn't know that with Jaz. But, I would have to say its the Roc-A-Fella crew in an older form. (Laughs) Everybody's like 50 years old, bro. I'm doing a television network. I wish that would have happened years ago. The gray-haired version, the "Cocoon" (This refers to the Oscar-winning 1985 movie about changes in elderly Florida residents that find a fountain of youth.) version of Roc-A-Fella. I don't think the young kids gonna be on Jaz. (Laughs)
AllHipHop: Fair enough. (Editor's note: Jaz-O is currently on tour with Eric B & Rakim, the classic Hip-Hop duo, and presumably wants to target an older demo.)
Dame Dash: No disrespect to anyone. Being together is great. It's like getting the high school varsity team together again - it's not that time no more for that. I'll watch that. I'll put it on my network, if they want. I just - again - I just wish it could have happened years ago under a different term. I just wish that everybody was rollin'.
You don't want to see an old Dame Dash running around on stage. And I don't want to see that. My whole mentality is different. If Roc-A-Fella was around today...if I was young, I wouldn't have started it knowing what I know now. I would do it different. So my version of Roc-A-Fella right now is this is the evolved version. A television network. An independent news company that's about loving your girl, and being healthy and identifying people that are taking advantage of the culture. This is my version, what (Roc-A-Fella) would have been had I done it all my own.
Now that they are doing it on their own, you'll see what it will be. Hopefully, it will be good. Sometimes you wonder as a thinking man - timing-wise - "Why now?" What's going on now? I think that its good that everybody needs each other and they know to come together to get things done, but it looks like it may be a necessity for everybody to come together right now. I think that's good: that they can look to the side and say, "YO, I gotta do what's in the best interest of my pocket right now no matter how I feel." Come together as grown men. I just hope it yields (prosperity) for them. I suggest evolution in everything. Me, if I was doing a record company 20-30 years ago, I should be doing a television network now. And, if I was signing everybody 20 years ago, at this point, the only way I can get with you is if we are partners. I couldn't start from scratch right now. I couldn't do that to my friends. I'd never have them look like they are working for me. Ever. Unless we are looked at as equals right now, I'd never have them looking like they work for me. Or under me. Or they need me to help them. That's just not how I move.
AllHipHop: We talked to Master P recently and he echoed many of the sentiments you have expressed now about film, TV, ownership. AllHipHop is owned by two Black men. What advice would you give people who are visionaries or want to be a visionary? And withstanding the rigors of maintaining that vision?
Dame Dash: The same advice I give to Master P when I see him: let's work together. That's what I want to see. I want to see us work together. Period.