By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
On Thursday, June 21, Dame Dash hosted an exclusive conversation titled "Culture Vultures: MasterClass," after his most recent book Culture Vultures co-written with Kenyatta "KING YATTA" Griggs.
The panel included Van from TMZ and Letty from Genius, as they spoke on the building on the art of independence in a world full of vultures.
AllHipHop caught up with Damon at his brand new studio, DDS33, in Burbank, California prior to the event.
Damon discussed what his new book means to this generation and his thoughts on XXXTENTACION’s passing.
AllHipHop.com: Talk about how the book Culture Vultures caters to the new generation who seem kind of lost.
Damon Dash: Well when I started making the book, it was almost like trying to establish the DNA of what this generation should be — any opportunities that were going to present themselves, how to capitalize them, and how to monetize them.
So this book is really to get you prepared for “the now,” but I wrote it then.
AllHipHop.com: What was your reaction to the XXXTENTACION death?
Damon Dash: You know the sad thing about it is, the last couple days, I was like, “Yo, hip-hop is going through that phase.” In my generation, it got kind of violent.
Then Biggie and Pac died and it kind of calmed down. And then I remember Wiz’s generation, I liked it because it was like other parts of the country were working together, like Curren$y and Smoke DZA.
Everyone was just smoking weed and everybody was cool, and being violent was kind of corny.
Now I was like, “wow, it feels like that time when someone’s about to get killed.”
And I was actually trying to explain to anyone that was younger than me, and that was in the business, I was like, “Yo, regardless to what happens, nobody should be getting killed.
That’s not what we’re here for. But at the end of the day, that’s going to severely f##k your money up. Because when people don’t feel safe at shows, then they’re not going to hire you to perform.
So if you can’t think about it on an empathy level, or a humanity level, at least look at it on a business level.
I remember we couldn’t perform until the Hard Knock Life Tour. We had to struggle and prove ourselves, and then that opened the doors again.
It’s just funny how things go in cycles, and you could just feel it.
Actually, I got it on tape. I was like, “Yo, it don’t feel right. It’s going to take somebody to get killed, for everybody to cool out.” And it’s sad that it was him.
But he’s definitely going to be looked at from this 15 to 25-year-old generation as Tupac and Biggie.
AllHipHop.com: That’s exactly what Adam from No Jumper said.
Damon Dash: Definitely. There’s going to be movies about the kid, all that. I already know what it’s going to be. Based on the things I’ve seen about him, exactly how he wanted to go down is exactly how he’s going to go down. If he were to lose his life. It’s almost like the power of the spoken word.
You speak things into existence, but there’s a gift and a curse with that. You got to be careful what you say.
And for some reason, this generation seems to be infatuated with death, and getting there faster, and I don’t understand why.
Damon Dash: What this generation has to understand is you got to be here to raise your kids.
Because you’re going to make kids, and they need their parents. And at the end of the day you’re really only here to make sure your kids don’t have to go through what you go through, and that you’re here to take your kids through that journey.
If you’re in jail or locked up on some gangster s##t, then who suffers the most? The people you love really, your family.
So I think it should be turned into a logical equation. What logically makes sense for my family, and the people I love, and my children, and my woman. That’s the only thing that the focus should be on as a man.
It takes living and life experience unless you have someone like an OG to explain those things to you, and that’s also what this book is about.
For those that aren’t getting guidance. Because it’s a lot of responsibility for a teenager to all of a sudden have access to this kind of fame, celebrity, and money without guidance.
What do you really expect the young people to do if the older cats aren’t saying nothing?
That’s why I think it’s always important for us to give some kind of guidance.