Dame Dash

Exclusive: Damon Dash Talks Independence, Nipsey Hussle, & JAY-Z

Damon Dash is making more money moves.

For his latest endeavor, the multi-faceted mogul can be seen on BET’s “The Next Big Thing.” During an interview with Rap-Up, the former Roc-A-Fella founder opened up about his role as a judge, along with A&R vet Tina Davis and producer Zaytoven, on the music competition series in which 12 up-and-coming hip-hop and R&B artists participate in an immersive artist development bootcamp.

Guest mentors on this season include Keyshia Cole, Remy Ma, Lil’ Kim, and the late Nipsey Hussle. “I was kinda surprised they got Nipsey Hussle because he’s such a free-spirited, independent thinker,” said Dame, who reflected on Nipsey’s untimely death.

“He’s that guy that sacrificed his life so that other people don’t have to feel so much pain. He walked it like he talked it,” he added. “His message will live and again, because the way he transitioned, his impact is gonna make him legendary. He’s a saint and he deserves it.”

Twenty-four years after launching Roc-A-Fella, the 48-year-old entrepreneur is still hustling with a business portfolio that includes Dame Dash Studios—all while remaining true to his independent spirit. “I don’t think it makes sense for me to have to talk to another culture or make things for my culture, give it to another culture, to sell it back to my culture. That’s not what I’m doing these days,” said Dame.

Plus, he reflected on the 23rd anniversary of JAY-Z’s Reasonable Doubt. “It’s a big feather in my cap. It’s my high school,” he said. “It’s a reflection of my mentality 23 years ago…I’m not so happy about how things rolled out, but for what we did when we were younger, it was great. It was beyond dope.”

And just in case you forgot, it was Dame who released the groundbreaking album. “JAY rapped on that record. I put the record out. Don’t get it twisted,” he said.

“The Next Big Thing” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on BET.