Don Pooh is a member of a special club. He’s more than the man that discovered Foxy Brown and worked extensively within The Notorious B.I.G.’s management team. The Brooklyn native is more than the executive that delivered one of Mary J. Blige’s magnum opuses, No More Drama, or the guy that worked with both Jay-Z and Nas. Robert Cummins, his government name, has defined his second act on his own terms through the early 2000’s when so many professionals waned. This club of music industry survivalists is a special breed that have mastered reinvention through rugged individualism, intensity and ingenuity.
Before he closed that chapter in music, he simultaneously began anew as a restauranteur that specialized in hospitality. His new journey started in the early 2000’s when he began to franchise out Papa John’s pizza spots and IHOP pancake houses in Brooklyn. Instead of sticking to the script, he catered the businesses to the local community. For example, one IHOP had a VIP room with numerous artistic nods to BK. In 2018, Stratis Morfogen, Don Pooh, And David Thomas launched Brooklyn Chop House in downtown Manhattan just over the infamous bridge. The location quickly became a hot spot that paved the way for a second location in Times Square this year. The midtown location is a massive space, that can host 660 guests on five levels, with six private dining rooms, three bars and a rooftop. The menu is a foodies dream and incudes the famed lobster, steak, duck, lamb and a broad spectrum of delicacies.
When Don Pooh pulls up, fresh off a birthday vacation in Italy, he is in full mogul mode with a big bodied Rolls Royce truck to match. He is clearly proud and he should be, speaking humbly about his phoenix-like rise. He talks to AllHipHop about his success, is difficulties and his triumphs in both industries. He dives deep into his rap side and his restaurant side as well, traversing in a spirited conversation with Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur.