Damon Dash (born May 3, 1971) is an American label executive; the co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z and Kareem "Biggs" Burke. Roc-A-Fella, specializing almost exclusively in hip-hop music, branched out with several spin-off ventures into other fields as well, notably hip-hop fashion (Rocawear Clothing) and many films (Roc-A-Fella Films and, later, Dash Films).
As well as his work with Roc-A-Fella Records, he was also known in Europe for his ambitious project with pop singer Victoria Beckham. He produced an album worth of hip-hop inspired tracks for the pop star in 2003 which culminated with the release of her double-A sided single "This Groove/Let Your Head Go." which reached #3 on the UK charts. After public disputes with her manager Simon Fuller of 19 Management over the "urban sounds," Beckham's album "Come Together" produced by Damon Dash was eventually shelved. Tracks featuring Cam'ron, M.O.P, and other members of Cam'ron's Diplomats crew had been leaked on the Internet, Beckham was the face of Rocawear in 2003.
In late 2004, Dash sold his interest in Roc-A-Fella to parent company Island Def Jam Records for $10 million, and founded the Dame Dash Music Group as a new venture with the senior record company.
Dash sold his stake in Rocawear for $22 million to former partner, Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter. Dash is working to launch his CEO Clothing line but it has not been seen by the public. The clothing line was featured in a magic trade show in Las Vegas. He also has a stake in the clothing line of his wife, Rachel Roy; in June 2008 Jones Apparel Group, along with TSM Capital purchased a 50% equity stake in the line. Dash and Rachel Roy have signed a joint venture deal with Jones Apparel Group Inc to develop, market and license the New York-based fashion brand.
Dash has been listed as one of hip hop's 10 Biggest Moguls, His other business interests include Armadale Vodka, Dash Management, PRO-KEDS, Tiret Watches, an investment in New York nightclub The Plumm with Noel Ashman & Chris Noth, Dash/DiBella Boxing, and the social network website BlockSavvy.
Growing up in what he once described as the best building in a bad neighborhood in Harlem, New York, he swept barbershop floors and hawked newspapers to get enough money to buy the latest sneakers and shirts. He says he learned to hustle from his mother, who died of an asthma attack when he was just 15. A secretary, she also sold clothes on the side out of their apartment. Dash, who had went to private schools after winning scholarships, watched her and learned. Damon Dash sent himself to boarding school because he wanted a better education than he was receiving at the time. As a result, his "street credibility" was initially questioned at the onset of his career. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Commerce. In 1992, his friend Clark Kent introduced him to a young rapper from Brooklyn named Jay-Z. The two hit it off, and together with silent partner Kareem "Biggs" Burke, they launched Roc-A-Fella Records in 1996. With Jay-Z's first album, "Reasonable Doubt," quickly selling a million copies, the Jay-Z and Dash empire was well on its way to global success. But in 2004, Def Jam Records bought the Roc-A-Fella label and made Jay-Z its new president. The changes led to a very public split between Dash and his former partner (Damon received only 10 million for his parts in Roc-a-Fella Records.
A year later, Jay-Z acquired Dash's stake in Rocawear, the clothing label the pair created a decade ago. Even without Jay-Z in tow, Dash's burgeoning empire goes well beyond music. He dabbles in films, fashion, boxing, publishing and even alcohol. He is estimated to be worth $50 million dollars and he told CNN his goal is to eventually have a billion dollars behind him. He has recently launched a campaign to advertise his stable of brands. Critics say he is a jack of all trades, master of none, and Dash himself admits now is crunch time to prove his diverse empire is worth its weight.
Damon Dash is the cousin of New York City socialite Chandler Dash and actress Stacey Dash, Dash attended the South Kent School, a prep school in Connecticut.
Damon Dash also has Diabetes Mellitus - Type 1 and is an advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). He recently appeared on the new CNBC show dLife to discuss his experiences with the condition.
Dash dated R&B singer Aaliyah until her death on August 25, 2001, He then married fashion designer Rachel Roy with whom he has two daughters: Ava born in 1999 and Talullah Ruth born 2008, Rachel Roy filed for divorce in March 2009.
Reports in August 2008 said two of Damon Dash's homes in Manhattan had begun foreclosure proceedings. Dash and his ex-wife owe $7.3 million on the two properties, according to court filings, and foreclosure proceedings have begun. Eastern Savings Bank, who holds the mortgages, says the couple's monthly mortgage payments are $78,500, which they apparently have not been making.
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