History states that hip-hop started in New York in the 1970s. With early acts like DJ Cool, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa, the genre took off and developed despite early critics and skeptics.
The persistent will of the people paid off as more rap and hip-hop artists, executives, and producers came onto the scene, providing space for people like the Notorious B.I.G., Lil Kim, The Lox, Diddy, Wu-Tang Clan — and Damon Dash.
Dash is a New York native most known for creating Roc-A-Fella Records alongside partners Jay-Z and Kareem Burke. Officially founded in 1995, according to TIDAL, the label saw some early success by releasing Jay-Z’s debut album, “Reasonable Doubt.”
With significant success throughout the ’90s and 2000s, Variety reports that Roc-A-Fella Records became a division of Def Jam, selling 50% of its ownership stake for $1.5 million.
Dash would lead the company in signing artists like Cam’ron, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Dipset, and a young Kanye West.
However, in 2004, Dash, Sean Carter, and Burke sold the remaining percentage of their stake to Def Jam for $10 million, according to MTV.
Although this signaled the end of an era in hip-hop, Carter and Dash remained tied to the label in some capacity, and Dash went on to sell whatever interests he had left in the company in 2021.
Based on a previous report from AfroTech, Dash and Carter were in a lawsuit over the attempted sale of Jay-Z’s debut album as an NFT. After this dispute, Dash also claimed he felt disrespected by the cash offer for his remaining interest in the label the two co-founded.
“I was offered a certain amount of money for my interest in Roc-A-Fella Inc., which owns ‘Reasonable Doubt,'” he said, according to AfroTech. “They offered me like $1.5 million — Jay-Z. And I was like, ‘That’s some disrespectful sh-t. So, I guess I gotta sell it someplace else.'”
Despite the back and forth, few can doubt Dash’s cultural impact on the hip-hop industry. Since his time with Roc-A-Fella, Dash has tapped into several business moves — a trait and legacy he wishes to continue with his children.
Life Beyond The Roc
Dash is behind the 2002 drama “Paid in Full,” starring Wood Harris, Mekhi Phifer, and Regina Hall.
The Roc-A-Fella founder created his own streaming platform, Dame Dash Studios. He went on to leverage that expertise to produce original content for Fox Soul based on a Black Enterprise report.
Dash was also behind the lifestyle brand Rocawear. According to Forbes, he opened “DD172, an art gallery and creative collective in New York, and founded Creative Control, a digital media platform that explored the intersection of music, art, and culture.”
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Forbes also reports that Dash used his battle with Type 1 Diabetes to launch Dash Diabetes Network, offering guidance and resources for those who also suffer from the disease.
Dash has used this success to support his family and invest in their futures.
His oldest daughter, Ava, is a model, and according to a previous AfroTech report, he financed her college career. However, he said he would rather have invested the money in other ways to support her.
“I would have way preferred to just give her a quarter million dollars as a salary or at least invest a quarter million dollars in the business for her,” he shared.
Dash’s oldest son, Damon “Boogie” Dash II, was a former cast member of WE TV’s “Growing Up Hip-Hop.” Dash’s oldest is also associated with the indoor football team, the Las Vegas Kings, based on Instagram posts.
Sharing Boogie’s interest in the sport, Dash entered a partnership with the American Indoor Football Alliance, which is the operating league for the Kings.
Born Christian, “Lucky” is Dash’s next son in line, and he is a recent high school graduate with collegiate aspirations. In contrast, Tallulah Ruth and Dusko are Dash’s youngest children, ages 14 and 2, respectively.