Roc-A-Fella Records boss Damon Dash was on ‘Last Call with Carson Daly’ on Tuesday night to discuss his various ventures. Damon talked about the tragic death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who signed on to the Roc last year and had pretty much completed his new album. Dash wasn’t sure if the music would get put out, and said it was up to the family. He praised ODB’s work ethic putting the album together and of course was shocked by his death. Dash also talked about Jay-Z’s tour troubles with R. Kelly, his Pro-Keds sneakers, and his new movie ‘The Woodsman’, which he was executive producer. Read on for a transcript.
Carson: All right. Blues explosion, thank you. The comedy of russ
meneve coming out. Our next is the co-founder of roc-a-fella records, one
of the great hip hop moguls of our time. Say hi to daman dash. Damon!
[ Cheers and applause ] What’s goin’ on, buddy. Thank you for being
here. Good to see ya. How you feelin’?
Damon: I’m cool.
Carson: Yeah, you a little tired?
Damon: I’m a little tired, yeah.
Carson: Do you sleep at all? What aren’t you conquering at the moment?
Damon: I don’t know. Just trying to stay away from being broke, I guess.
Carson: Well, I think you’re a far, far distance from that.
Damon: Yeah, well, I’m just trying to stay above water.
Carson: Good for you. Let’s talk, first off, about O.D.B. God bless
him. Just passed away last week. You signed him for roc-a-fella in ’03.
Tell us, were you shocked by the news when you heard?
Damon: Oh, yeah. I was definitely shocked. We were upset. Still, when
O.D.B. First came home, people were expecting him to be so out of line,
to be so unruly, but he was pretty responsible. I got a really good album
on him. He was really into his career, and he was acting in a very responsible
way. It wasn’t what everyone was expecting. I got a solid, good classic
album, filled with wu-tang material from the river and stuff from roc-a-fella,
mark watson did stuff. His vocals, they were right. He was just ready to
do his thing, so we were definitely shocked.
Carson: How was his health while making the record?
Damon: I mean, it was cool. I mean, you know —
Carson: Was he still — was he using? Do you know?
Damon: Nah, I mean, he was O.D.B. You know what I mean? So, he always
has his personality. He was kind of shy, though. But I couldn’t really
tell. I mean, like I said, I’m just surprised about his work ethic. He
had a really good work ethic.
Carson: Right. Sad, though, right? I mean, unbelievable. The guy, he’s
36 — he would’ve turned 36. I knew him, one of the most — and character
is the wrong word. One of the great people, I think, in hip-hop. His contribution.
Damon: He’s always an individual.
Damon: You know, he never sacrificed any of his integrity, or his —
you know, he always talked about what he felt was on his mind. You know
what I mean? It was colorful. It was fun. You know, he will definitely
be missed. I’m disappointed because I wanted to shock the world with the
music that he made and —
Carson: What will you do with the music? Is it — will you still release
the record or just — that’s not important right now?
Damon: Well, whatever his family wants me to do, I’m gonna do it. You
know? So we just gonna wait —
Carson: You have a full album?
Damon: A full — I mean, we were ready. We were ready to roll.
Carson: Is that what he was doing in the studio?
Damon: I don’t really know what he was doing in that studio. But, like
I said, he worked a lot. So, it was hard.
Carson: All right. I’ve got a lot to ask you. Jay was here and talked
a little bit about the r kelly thing. What was your take on it?
Damon: I don’t have too much of a take on it. I didn’t really have too
much to do with it. You know, so — jay, I always know, is a responsible
individual. So all I know, just based on the way jay works, and what he
does — that’s all I know is jay being responsible and about his business.
And that’s all I know about him. But I didn’t really have much to do with
putting together that tour.
Carson: Right. What is the rock-a-fella, the empire has grown now so
much to the magazine, which I’ll show in a second, and vodka, and you’re
producing films, and then there’s music. You guys, you’ve been friends
with jay since — forever, right?
Damon: 15 years or something.
Carson: And were you once trying to be a rapper before you moved into
the business side of things?
Damon: No, huh-uh.
Carson: You were never doing that?
Damon: I just act like a rapper.
Carson: ‘Cause there was one moment when you watched damon in all the
videos, and he was the guy with the cristal and, like, his shirt off and
having a good time, and the next minute you see him, he’s we’re a suit,
and he’s worth, like, $1 billion and he’s running films. Is it important
for you to make that crossover?
Damon: I mean, it’s just a lot of different dynamics in damon dash.
You know, it’s about work, but I like to have fun. And, truthfully, what
I’m doing is selling a lifestyle. So, I’m actually living the things that
I sell. For example, pro-keds, I’d be wearing pro-keds sneakers. And these
are new pro-keds. So, I have to live it, walk it like I talk it.
Carson: So, like, are these lame? ‘Cause I’m wearing nikes. With no
Damon: I think you need some socks, but other than that —
[ Laughter ]
Carson: I think you’re right.
Damon: I mean, nikes cool. I always wore nike. One of the reasons why
I started pro-keds is because is ’cause nike wouldn’t give me a sneaker
[ Laughter ]
Carson: Right, okay, fair enough. And then I can mention “the woodsman.”
This is a film you produced, correct?
Damon: Right. Well, actually, executive producer. Lee daniels produced
it. He produced “monster’s ball.”
Carson: And kevin bacon’s in this?
Damon: Kevin bacon stars in it, kyra sedgwick, benjamin bratt, mos def
and eve. It’s a story about a pedophile, and you know, kevin gives a stellar
performance. It won two awards at the cannes film festival. Won an award
at the london film festival. It’s gonna be released, limited, the 24th
of december, and then probably mass in january. But it’s a really good
film. New market will be distributing it. I’m pretty proud of it.
Carson: Right, awesome. Good for you.
Damon: I also just directed “state property ii.”
Carson: And here’s the magazine. What, did you just start this? Let’s
show the one with usher on the cover. “America.”
Damon: “America” magazine.
Damon: It’s cool. Yeah, “america” magazine. Smokey fontaine is the publisher.
Carson: We all know smokey. Everyone knows smokey, he’s a good dude.
Damon: He’s a good dude. It’s a good magazine, you know, it’s a free
opinion leader. And we just also just started the roc box, which will be
released next week. It’s like, get a bit of that apple. Make ipods. Mp3
player, sort of like in competition.
Carson: You’re a busy man. You got your hand in all kinds of stuff.
Damon: Yeah, like I said, try to stay above water.
Carson: Good for you. And thank you for being here. We appreciate it.
Damon dash, everybody.
[ Cheers and applause ] Pick up all of his items — his shoes, the vodka,
the magazine, the movies, the watch — everything.