Dame Dash was once a force in the music business. Now he’s trying to make his mark in the film industry. And he’s going to try and do it independently
Dame Dash will forever remain a staple in the culture. Not only was he the co-founder of Roc-A-Fella, one of the most successful labels levels ever, but he also grew an enterprise in lifestyle and fashion; he helped mold Rocawear into one of the greatest streetwear lines of all time.
Fast forward to 2018, the mogul is not letting up. Dame has released a book, Culture Vultures, and a new feature film, Honor Up, which he produced, directed, and stars in. (Dame plays a character named OG, who is deeply rooted in the streets of Harlem.)
The movie also stars Cam’ron, Murda Mook, and Smoke DZA, as well as Dame Dash’s cousinStacey Dash (who would go on to disown the film.) When the poster for the film was first released, the talk was centered around Kanye West who executive produced the movie.
WATCH: A lot of “Snitches” Get Shot in the Trailer for the Kanye West-Produced Film ‘Honor Up’
We recently sat down with Dame Dash to talk about his vision of the film, his tenure in the rap game, working with Kanye, Dapper Dan’s influence and much more.
OKP: Why is it so important for you to put that out for the people?
Dash: I think when you have consciousness you become responsible. And I think the truth is a heavy burden. Because usually the truth teller gets crucified like Jesus. The person that tells the truth is always gonna have to fight the people that are lying. And because the people that are lying are cheating. You’re not fighting the same fight. Like, the shit that they’ll do, you won’t do. So how do you protect yourself? You gotta be extra strong…It’s a life you gotta choose.
And that’s life that I did choose, because life has been so easy for me. I’ve had so much fun every second. I benefited and monetized everything that I loved, at every time. I’ll be 47 in May. What else should I do? And plus, I don’t like the people that are taking advantage and fronting. I think they’re soft. And I want everybody to know. So that’s why I call out names like Lyor Cohen and Charlie Walk and Barry Klarberg… Steve Stoute. All those people that have really taken advantage. I feel like I don’t want other people to be taken advantage of.
You gotta look at this movie. This movie was made by us. It’s a black movie. No disrespect to Black Panther — it’s about black people, but it’s not made or funded by black people. There’s still another culture making money off it. So I’m glad that now we’re in that position. But this is a black movie [which came out] the same day, funded by somebody black — down to like the only television station that’s really embraced it is owned by somebody black. The person that brought the most attention to it, Kanye, is somebody black. The actors are black. It’s black, black, black, black, black, black. And I haven’t had to put up the money that they do because you don’t have to pay for cool.
OKP: How does Honor Up compare to Paid In Full ?
Dash: I was there [for the Paid in Full era]. I saw it. I was a part of that. I could have told the story from my point of view, but I didn’t. I chose to tell it from somebody else’s. This movie is from my point of view. Also, Paid In Full wasn’t paid for by me. It was paid for by Miramax, which is [owned by Harvey and Bob Weinstein]. That’s where all this bullshit happened. I went to war with the Weinsteins 15 years ago because I saw what [Harvey] was doing.
I’ve been trying to punish him for years. I’ve been trying to punish all of these people. I’ve been trying to punish all of them. I talked, I beefed, I muscled, and nothing’s happened. You know what took these men down? Women. And that’s how powerful women are. And I’m glad that women are starting to realize their power and having confidence in it. I’ve been saying this shit for five, six years. I apologized for “Big Pimpin’” ten years ago, not when it was convenient and when everyone was doing it. My hashtag has been #InvestInWomen for years. The things that have gotten me my most success are when I have a crew of women around me. Because dudes get jealous. It’s the testosterone. But my point is, these things and these ideals are nothing new. I live by it.
OKP: You and Dapper Dan are both Harlem natives. What did you think about Gucci embracing him now after all these years?
Dash: I’m hyped! I was there. I had a Dapper Dan, the shearling right? And he made the pockets extra deep because we supposed to be tough so we could carry guns in them [laughs]. But I never carried a gun in them. He just was the fly guy, you know?
OKP: What was your initial reaction to Stacy Dash’s tweet and have you guys resolved anything since?
Dash: Oh, that’s family business — it would be corny to talk about. But my reaction to what I saw was, I thought she got her Twitter hacked.
OKP: Is there anything else that you want people to know?
Dash: That I got another movie coming out called The List, starring Brian White, Columbus Short. Already shot, about to put that out. And that my book Culture Vultures is out…Check that out.