Dame Dash – The Cost of Independence

“There’s a void in the urban space for filmmaking
In Hollywood an urban filmmaker feels like he has to do a non-urban film to be validated and I can understand that, I made The Woodsman, but at the time I have to do my urban stuff as well
As I learn from the non-urban movies and that experience I’m always gonna apply to the urban experience as well so we can have as many realistic movies as we possibly can ”

— Damon Dash, State Property 2 Commentary

Damon Dash, like those who came before him like Master P and J Prince, has always preached the message of having you own. Self determination by having equity.

He truly practices what he preaches whether it was in the Roc La Familia days of owning stake in Armadale, Rocawear and branching out into filmmaking with Roc Films or now Dusko Whiskey, CEO, an upscale clothing entity, and even producing motor oil.

His eye for opportunity is second to none, he knows how to monetize off of lifestyle.

When Cristal and Iceberg shunned Rocafella from a partnership deal that made way to their own clothing and liquor brands flourishing in less than 2 years.

His credits include producing the cult classics and critical darlings in Paid In Full and The Woodsman.

Together with Jay Z and Biggs they revolutionized music videos with Streets Is Watching and the era of Beyonce’s video albums it’s refreshing to see this concept being explored back then.

Another hallmark of Dame Dash’s career is allowing others opportunity.

As he expanded into films he took risks.

Champagne Dame used Rocafella label mates in their own movie series with State Property.

Before he was Hollywood funny man Kevin Hart’s first role was in Paper Soldiers.

Dash also petitioned for Cam’ron to play Rico in Paid in Full and financed Lee Daniels’ first two films.

With the lawsuit finally settled Dash has found some validation in his claims of putting Lee Daniels on. Along with Lionsgate, Dash made a sacrifice and gave millions of his own dollars in two independent movies of Lee Daniels.

And while The Woodsman was revered after their second project, Shadowboxer starring Academy Award winning actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren, didn’t work out instead of looking after Dash for giving him a chance he chose scorn him for his most success project, Precious.

After Rocafella, Dash branched out into music again with Dame Dash Music Group.

In 2005 he released Beanie Sigel’s second album The B. Coming album which was certified Gold and had alliances with one of the hottest acts The Diplomats.

His eye for talent rivals legends like LA Reid and Rick Rubin.

Unlike those who are heralded for their accomplishments Dash’s work is seen with apathy.

Dame brought Curren$y to the public’s consciousness with talks of him bringing back Rocafella with Spitta as the flagship artist.

With Rocawear he expanded the marketing campaign from the likes of artists to superstar actors and models Kevin Bacon and Naomi Campbell.

Dash commissioned the Blakroc project in 2009 which saw the live instrumentation of the Black Keys mixed with the hip hop of Mos Def.

Kanye West, who has thanked Dash for seeing him more than just a “producer”, recognizing Dash’s filmmaking ability funded two of Dame’s projects, Loisaidas and Too Honorable.

Dash specializes in video albums similar to Streets Is Watching where a narrative is shown throughout and the artist’s music videos are integrated in, documentaries on street figures from kingpin Nicky Barnes to infectious personalities he’s worked like Jay Z and Jim Jones.

As seen in Loisaidas or Too Honorable battle rap legend and leading man Murda Mook along with characters like Smoke DZA transition from a powerful acting scene to a hard hitting track similar to when characters in musicals are filled with so much emotion that it gives way to them breaking out into song.

Damon Dash has ran into misfires and has been ridiculed for not bouncing back as quickly as the public thought.

In 2005 he paid $5 Million dollars to license Pro Keds. Though the partnership was promising without a singular face synonymous with the brand, similar to Jay Z with Rocawear or Beanie Sigel with State Property the deal faltered and he changed his focus to CEO Clothing.

But did find success investing in the talents of Rachel Roy who’s fashions have been placed on the likes of Kim Kardashian and Michelle Obama.

“I don’t want people to see me as Damon Dash.
Damon Dash is amazing, that dude is exception but people are like scary Black dude.
Even though he’s one of the best business dudes ever: Kanye, Jay Z but he scares people.
He’s can’t because Jay Z is so smooth, even though people are scared of him but he’s still like I’m cultured and cool he gives off that.
Even though they’re both exceptional but I don’t need people to see me like that…That’s what I’m afraid of.”

— Donald Glover, Hot 97 Interview

His philosophy of putting your own money & “being a boss” was infamously touted on the Breakfast Club Interview.

Dash believes the only way to truly be able to do what you desire is to be in control of destiny by “flipping” the product.

Though media maven Gary Vaynerchuck went on the same show with a very similar message Dash’s ideals where deferred by arguing with DJ Envy about the line of questioning and statements like “My son has cookies!”.

He has passed on these views to his son, Boogie Dash, who has taken it to heart as he’s a co-founder of Pollo Frito, Chipz cookies, Iguala Mexican and Buns Bar, which is famous for their loaded milkshakes.

Damon Dash Studios, his own streaming platform, shows his own personal films he’s directed or produced.

And with reports of FIlmOn launching an Dame Dash TV, though it may have taken longer “hustling for your last name” definitely is worth the cost.

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