Happy Birthday, Damon Dash!
Damon Dash has taken plenty of losses this year in his personal life. Nevertheless, he was one of the most influential rap moguls in hip-hop. Today (May 3), the entrepreneur celebrates his 44th birthday.
Dash is pretty good when it comes to finding talent. It's crazy to believe now, but no one was really banking on Jay Z when he first came into the rap game.
The Harlem, N.Y. native was one of the few who saw the vision. Instead of sulking about being turned down by major labels, Jay, Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke decided to start their own independent record label called Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay Z was originally the lone artist on the label and in 1996 released his classic debut album, Reasonable Doubt.
Thanks in part to Jay Z's friendship with the Notorious B.I.G., Roc-A-Fella eventually found commercial success with subsequent albums. It blew up to an empire by the early 2000s with the young and bold rhymer Cam'ron under its roster.
Meanwhile, Hov was dropping classics albums like The Blueprint. Then Memphis Bleek followed along with State Property and of course, Kanye West. Not only were fans getting good music, Dash and Jay Z became examples of young black entrepreneurs.
In 2004, the rap dynasty ended when Jay, Dash and Burke sold their remaining 50 percent stake of Roc-A-Fella Records to its parent label, Island/Def Jam.
“Things never really got f---ed up; it just got over," said Dash in a 2013 interview with the Combat Jack Show. "Me and Jay wasn’t never arguing, me and Jay never was beefin’, it was just over, and Roc-A-Fella didn’t exist anymore."
In the end, Damon Dash was the definition of a hustler during his heyday with Roc-A-Fella Records.