Can Dr. Phil Help Damon Dash and Jay-Z Reconcile?November 8th, 2012
By Gee King
According to Dame Dash, only Dr. Phil can mend he and Jay-Z’s personal relationship. But while their friendship may be beyond repair, Dash made it clear to Global Grind’s Sharon Carpenter that he still has the utmost respect and admiration for his former Roc-a-Fella Records partner as a businessman.Things have certainly changed for Dash since his Roc-A-Fella heydays. In particular, he’s no longer the hotdogging, flashy character that was loved and hated for his brash approach. “I’m a completely different person in my 40’s than in my 20’s,” said a stunningly sedated Dash when asked about his current place in life compared to the Roc’s golden era. This evolved Dame, now more easily identified by his thick-rimmed glasses than his infamous short temper and loud mouth, is clearly more mature and levelheaded than the maniacal mastermind that steered the Roc-A-Fella ship to the top of the world. So is this the beginning stages of reconciliation between the architects of hip hop’s greatest independent movement?
“Every success they have, I’m proud of,” said Dame when asked if he still has regrets about how he parted ways with Jay and former protégé Kanye West. “Every time I see them on television, I know what I did.” This humble, mature approach seems foreign from Dame (So much so that one has to at least briefly wonder if this is all an elaborate mind game) when you consider the fiery persona that helped him accomplish such ambitious goals in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Watching today, it’s actually difficult to imagine this soft-spoken, level-headed 40-year-old screaming on record executives or pouring vodka on models in million-dollar music videos.
Ever since the Roc’s messy split sent half of the roster to Dame Dash Music Group and the rest to Jay’s Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam situation in 2005, Jay has appeared to have come out of the relationship with the upper-hand. But the new Dame defines success much differently than hip hop fans and outside observers, especially in today’s economic climate. With multiple ventures flourishing under the mainstream radar, from his DD172 art gallery to his Dash Motors motor oil product, it’s hard to say Dash is struggling without Jay. But it’s also hard to shake the public’s insistence on comparing Dame’s current situation to that of Jay, even if their business models and goals are completely different.
Dame has clearly come to terms with that fact, no longer allowing public perception to shape his satisfaction with life. When asked why he keeps such a low profile now compared to his days dancing shirtless in music videos, Dame shuts down the assumption that he is hiding out of fear or shame. “I was doing my job,” he explains, “and I was insecure. I wanted everyone to know what I was doing because I felt no one knew what I was doing.” But while a high profile and boisterous personality were required during his time at Roc-A-Fella, he is clearly enjoying being laid-back Dame now. “I’m doing what I want right now, I still feel crispy,” he told Carpenter, revealing that he prefers high fashion and art where “there’s no bullets or security” to the aggressive nature of hip hop.
With DD172, Dash Motors and other ventures in the music and publishing world, Dame seems content and his future seems secure. He’s so content, in fact, that he has no qualms about publicly congratulating his former friend’s recent success. “I got nothing but positive things to say about him,” he told Carpenter. “What he wants to be, he is. I have nothing but positive things to say about him.” But can he grant fans the same contentedness by reconciling with Jay and giving one of hip hop’s greatest stories a happy ending? There are clearly no hard feelings on the business end of things, but the personal side is where it always gets complicated. For now, Dame prefers to refer to their time together as a “business arrangement,” shaking off a rumor that the two are actually secretly cool. “The bottom line is, we created one of the biggest movements independently of all time, and that’s positive,” he explains. But in the bigger picture, he and Jay’s friendship and personal trust are what truly made their partnership great. We can only hope that both of them realize that and admit it to themselves and one another before it is too late.
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