Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Combat Jack On Damon Dash

Damon Dash. I repped him from 1991 - 1997. My most difficult client ever. There's a lot of shit I can write about dude, but because of client/attorney privilege, I'm legally precluded from doing so. He started out as a manager with his cousin, Darien Dash. Another effin "winner". Brilliant dudes though. Both in their teens. They came in the music game with two acts, "Original Flavor" and "The Future Sound". Upon the Dash's first shot, they landed both those acts deals with the now defunct East/West Records, a part of the Atlantic record family. The Dash's must've netted over 150k for those deals. Imagine sitting on at least 50 - 75 k in your pocket, in your teens, in the music game. And not as an artist, but as managers, executives.

One of the best things that came outta me effin with Dame was him introducing me to fellow Brooklynite DJ/ Producer/ Sneaker God Clark Kent. Clark remains one of my closest friends from the music game today. Clark was A&R at East/West and gave the Dash's the co-sign. He also came to the table with the then unknown artist Jay-Z, introducing Jay to Dame. Even tried to sign him to East/West, but back then NO ONE was feeling Jay, not even Clark's then boss, Sylvia Rhone. Clark did manage to squeeze Jay a cameo on Original Flavor's first single, "Can I Get Open". That shit right there rocked and it felt great to bang a single that I was proudly associated with. Jay did murder them on they own shit though.

A coupla years passed, Original Flavor and The Future Sound came and went. So did the cash. The IRS came knocking and hard. Dame's accountant kinda eff'd up, didn't give the teens the proper financial advice and guidance they needed. Niggas had to turn in the Pathfinder jeeps they were so proudly rocking throughout NYC. Clark and Dame went into overdrive to get Jay-Z a deal. They had me up in all types of meetings, selling, pushing, damn near begging the record execs to give Jay a deal. Nada. One exec even told me "why the fuck should I sign Jay-Z, I have Black Sheep on our roster, Jay ain't fucking with them". Shit was rough on the cousins Dash. Eventually Darien, who had just graduated from college, caught on to the whole digital revolution. Saw the internet coming from miles away. Started a dot com start up company called Digital Mafia. Made a shit load of money even. One thing the cousins always had was mad smarts on their side. Brilliant.

Dame started borrowing a coupla dollars from me. Not that he needed it, but as he explained it, "there was no way niggas Uptown is EVER gonna see me walking out the subway. I'm too fresh for that. Niggas need to stay seeing me stepping outta cabs. Fuck that plebe shit." So I lent him money for cab fare. Thought he was being x-tra, still, had to admire that sense of pride. Shit like that kinda ensures your financial success. That, and/or financial demise. He was also going through mad baby momma drama at the time with the mother of his first son Boogie. Shit was so bad, he even got into a physical fight with her father, brother and uncle. At the same time. From what I remember, he knocked all three of them out and on they asses during that same encounter. I think I even remember them pressing charges against Damon for the ass whuppin. Funny shit. We laughed loudly behind that one.

Shit looked dire for the team. You heard it right there on the song. West Coast blew up, Nas stunned the world with "Illmatic", Puff and Bad Boy started killing it here in New York with that "Big Mack" one two punch (Craig Mack's "Flavor In Your Ear" and Biggie Smalls set up the momentum for Bad Boy Records forever and just right). I soon started repping Jaz-O who was an extended member of the original "Team Roc". Biggs wasn't yet down. Jay, Dame, Clark, them kniccas went in. Like 24/7, they was producing records left and right outta Clark's crib, on Carroll Street, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. We also had Ski Beatz producing fiyah as well. Ski was a member and the sound behind Original Flavor. Between him and Clark, Jay was swimming in a pool of beats to sharpen his rhyme play. Jay soon began evolving, slowing down his rapid fire tempo, stretching out his words, dumbing down his delivery to a point where shit sounded simple to the casual listener, but somehow would stuff so many layers upon layers of metaphors and double, triple, quadruple entendres in his shit, so much so that it still takes years for me to catch the full meaning of shit he dropped back in '96, '97, '98. Hard times and financial pressure made him forge his skills into the sharpest of blades.

Damon kept that whole shit together though. Never lost sight, never gave in a bit. Eventually he landed a measly ass deal with a small label, Pay Day Records. Deal was like less than 30k. Still, Dame took it, they was the only label on the block biting. They released Jay's first single ever, "In My Lifetime". A dope laid back underground New York state of mind record. Sold wood. Pay Day dropped Jay and Dame shortly after. By then they had hooked up with Biggs. They pooled their collective monies and decided to swing for the fences.

Niggas had me working overtime as well, doing producer agreements night after night with Ski, Clark, Jaz-O, Preemo. They actually went in and produced the majority of "Reasonable Doubt" on their own, on the strength of relationships and hard cash. Because Dame "dated" Mary J. Blige briefly, right before she blew up, she did him a solid and dropped her cameo on "Can't Knock The Hustle". Jay's relationship with B.I.G. and Clark's relationship with Puff resulted in "Brooklyn's Finest". Dope shit was being cooked up, just didn't see where that shit was going. Eventually, we landed a modest label deal with Moon Roof, a label under Priority. No lie, that was a bullshit deal. But the only one we could find at the time. The album was solid no doubt, but was missing that one joint, that one commercial single that would push that album from being ai'ight to becoming certified classic status.

Boom! Clark's baby cousin Inga Marchand, p/k/a "Foxy Brown" made some noise and started a bidding war between Def Jam, Bad Boy, Elektra and a bunch of other labels. On the strength, they snatched her yung ass up for what would end up being the monster single "Ain't No Nigga". Damon played that single for me in his new offices, then located in the Wall Street area. Nigga was doing that goofy "Dame dance" with the mock dice roll even then. That record was a monster!!! Inga single handedly, in my opinion, saved Jay-Z's career. Without her on that record, and Reasonable Doubt being Jay's last shot, the world at large might have never heard of Shawn Carter. (Niggas don't really put 2 and 2 together, realizing that Jay had been trying to get on since like 1987, '88, damn near close to 10 years before Reasonable Doubt!!!)

Reasonable Doubt dropped and sold gold out the gate. 500,000 units. Priority never expected that. Owed Dame $1,000,000.00 but couldn't, wouldn't pay up. Enter Irv Gotti, who snatched up the "Ain't No Nigga" single for the "Nutty Professor" soundtrack. That led to Roc-a-fella eventually landing at Def Jam. The rest, as they say, is history. Let me set the record straight, here, and once and for all. Without Dame, there would be no Jay-Z. I know it. I said it. And I said it here.

I write this all to say that as brilliant as Damon Dash is, his strongest suit, the thing that made him so extremely successful is that the man is one of the world's biggest assholes. Always was. I guess it's a good thing that dude never changed once he made money. I credit him for definitely taking great care of his artists and his peoples, but if you weren't on what he considered to be his team, he would be incredibly disrespectful. Burned a lotta bridges too. Too many. I once argued with him on just that, on how I felt he was hurting us, hurting himself by burning too many bridges unnecessarily. Told me he didn't need any bridges to blow up, to make paper. Cool. Confidence is one thing, arrogance is another, and Dame had arrogance in abundance. Throughout my years of association with him, I've seen him shit on so many people. So. many. people. Not that the music industry is full of saints, that business breeds dicks by the bundles [||], but when it comes to assholes, Dame remains king.

So now the media is clowning dude for supposedly being broke, for going through a divorce with his wife. I would never pray for that type of public humiliation on anyone, anywhere. Humiliation in spades. However, I confess, when it comes to Damon Dash, I set my watch like 13 years ago, waiting to see when shit like this would happen to him. Not outta hate though, not outta jealousy even, shit I owe dude for helping me in building my business, in helping me to establish a solid reputation in the game, in becoming the person that I am today. The reason I set my watch is because I've seen him humiliate and disgrace so many people, throw so many souls under the proverbial bus that even then, I knew that the shit he's publicly suffering through now was coming, inevitable, only a matter of time. I seen it coming years ago. Only because karma can be a mean bitch, and she is mos def getting it in on dude.

If I were a betting man, after all this shit dies down, and the papers and websites and blogs have had their way with him, I'd say that outta them all, Damon Dash might just could come back and land on top again. He's brilliant like that, and being an asshole is his strongest suit. But before that time comes, there's a whole lotta hell for him to pay. And in this lifetime.


  1. Damn, CJ, that was a great breakdown. I knew some of that stuff, but you really laced it up. I didn't realize that the whole Foxy thing was such a boost to Jay's career. Didn't even break it down like that.

  2. You might just be the best thing on the nets right now, CJ... Great storytelling.

  3. Wow, this was a really compelling read. Keep it up.

  4. "Why you think me and Dame cool? we assholes..."

    Nice drop, as always

  5. I'm late on the Combat Jack bandwagon. Stories like this & the spring break throwbacks are interesting. Thanks for taking time out to type it all out. Except now that I know you're a lawyer your whole image is ruined.

  6. Was just trying to convince eskay of the same shit lol.

    Thanks for giving me some ammunition.

    Great fucking piece.

  7. Hopefully Jim Jones will go down with Dame!

    Good Job!

  8. great read. you always have good reads here.

  9. Good stuff bro... need more dates on the events though. Neveraless a very compelling read!

  10. Very intresting. I think Dame is going to blow up again. He just has to eat that humble pie right now. Keep your head up Dame!! Peace.

  11. Damn CJ,

    Compelling as hell. But more importantly . . .

    You actually met Peter Panic, once of the most infamous one-beat wonders of all time. What the hell happened to that guy?

  12. ^Dayum. Peter is one'a my boys. Owns a commercial building in Brooklyn, renting out office space. The music game left a bad taste in his mouth, but he's mos def good.

  13. One exec even told me "why the fuck should I sign Jay-Z, I have Black Sheep on our roster, Jay ain't fucking with them".

    The person who said that should be working at walmart right now. I didnt know Dame dated mary J, damn so he got with aaliyah and mary j. Im going to have start giving this guy some respect again.

    This was another classic drop CJ. Part of me is hoping dame talks some shit to you so you will get mad and tell us that stuff you arent supposed to tell. Im sure the statute of limitations has passed anyway.

  14. Classic post. Agreed 300%, Karma is a mothafucka. Still, anyone who is at least marginally more successful than the average schmoe has to have that x factor in his personality that takes him over the top. That's dame's arrogance. It either works for him, or against. Lately, against him. I imagine right now it's just a lack of motivation that has allowed him to take this many lumps. And even such, I'm sure he's still got plenty money to lay around in all day

  15. nice job jack...dame is getting the return of the flame....
    you a good writer too..

  16. if dame and jay were so broke in 95, who bankrolled the "in my lifetime" video?

  17. ^ it was the oz's stoopid u kno, the white stuff jay raps about in every verse

  18. As my fellow namesake, I'm always rooting for dude, asshole and all.


  19. CJ you were all up in that mix bro. I remember well. Those were the effing days. My lawyer set up a meeting for me with DD and I met him two times after that. DD is by far the most cocky, arrogant disrespectful person I have ever met. I aint hatin either but I have to say Im glad to see him get this and I fully understand why Jay-Z had to part with him. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  20. Great Piece!!
    Dame is a grinder, and grinders always come on top. It's fucked up that jay and dame are not cool n-e more.... no matter what though.......
    The ROC will never LOOSE!!!!!

  21. ^ the roc will never loose what?

    Dope drop. classic shit.

  22. Classic drop. Great to see how long Jay was grinding in the music biz before he broke through. I believe he was a ghostwriter for LL Cool J but no one will say yes or no to me on that.

  23. ^ They weren't, Jay and LL were too busy battling each other every chance they could get. LL held the crown and Jay was the slum dog tryna get to the top. True shit. I'm collecting stories from my peoples who were there on those secret wars now.

  24. Damn, CJack, you should encourage ur homie Peter Panic to drop some tracks "for fun" "as a hobby".

    He could drop it as CJack exclusive on this blogspot!

    "Regrets" is 1 of the best Jay-Z beats ever. My favorite track offa Reasonable Doubt, actually. "Regrets" is 1 of the best beats for "introspective rap" songs ever, of any artist.

    Ironically on this post, this dude Dame has to "live with regrets" of shyting on too many folks apparently

  25. actually the label under Priority was "Freeze Records" a NY dance label that put out 12" and had invested catalog from Sleeping Bag Records (EPMD first 2 album, Nice & Smooth, etc.)

    The Roc cam in with their own dough. It was basically a P&D - NO MONEY! They used to try to get Priority to front them dough for various things but to no avail. I was actually their Product Manager for Reasonable Doubt thru Priority Records.

    Me & Al Branch dumbed out on a retail marketing campaign for the single "Aint No Nigga" b/w "Dead Presidents" that drove the maxi-single GOLD! It was funny to hear Jay pen the line "Ya single was 99cents, mine was 4 bucks". Because his mai was 4.99 we went in and had the maxi on sale for months at indy retail for 99cents!

    Its so much from that time that I remember and reflect on still to this day. No one believed in Jay or Dame at Priority, except for me and a few others... So me and my boss Tim Reid were there "go-to" guys at the label.

    I remember Jay came to LA and I set up 2 show a nite for him at every hot club in the city for $1,000 a show. Funny story, The west coast/east coast beef was brewing and Jay was playing LA soft, like there werent any high rollers or ballers in the city - he was doing his shows in jeans and various promo tshirts he snagged from the label. But I had set up a show for a big time d-boy and we went to get Jay and he had on jean shorts & a JT Tha Bigga Figga label shirt, I swear! So we head to the club and when we pull up its Rolls Royce's, Benz's all big boy toys out front and he was like "Is this the spot" so im like "yeah" he like "I cant go in there, look how Im dressed" It was already 2am and we were late - I told him it was nothing we could do we gotta make it - you cant go to the hotel & change. Jay did the spot, but the next morning, 10 am he was at the Beverly Center getting fresh...

    Im the guy who had him "On Pico w/Fredrico"


  26. Very good write up! It's good to hear the other perspective from someone with a firsthand account.

    Karma is definitely a bitch but Dame can make a come back. He needs to weather this storm in order to make some adjustments to his character...but until then...

    *throws a diamond in the air*

  27. also the record went gold in like a month... their first week as only 42k sold... And it wasnt that Priority wouldnt pay up... it was the fact that they for one wouldnt advance them the money after shipments confirmed gold status. If im not mistaken we had like a 90 day turn-around on pay-outs for p&d deals. 90 days is an enternity when u hustlin trying to turn shit around. i remember all the convos me & Dam had on the issues... So enter Daf Jam who had snagged the single & worked it for Rocafella of the Nutty Professor. Priority didnt have the radio staff to do what needed to be down.. we were a street driven indy with no major corp funding. so our process & ethics were alot different.

    Man I remember the rocafella wall street office on Fridays when everybody lined up to be paid cash!

    Jay had the LEXUS parked out front and Biggs had the champagne colored range! I was moving back & forth between LA & NY dealing with the early ROC - Dame, Biggs, Hop, Gee, Al, Ta-Ta, Dara, Bee-High, the whole gang!

    Keep it funky, I had caught a gun case while Jay was in LA doing shows... I had the burner in the ride & valet went thru the whip and what not... So i got arrested when I went outside to move the van whle Jay was performing. Dame & them was on the labels ass to have me bailed out within hrs... after that Jay would always rap that line from Smoothe The Hustler's "Broken English" - "Tha Gat Holder, Pistol packer" -

    Damn that was when music was the shit....

  28. Damn this post brought back mad memories - I remember the album release party at The Roxy for Reasonable Doubt. I came out from LA - the big ROC logo ice sculpture, everybody was in the place - even the VA d-boyz (and ill leave it at that) - BIG & the whole Junior Mafia was there. Jay wanted to do "Brooklyn's Finest" but BIG wouldnt come up on stage - they kept callin him up, and going into other songs hoping BIG would make it to the stage - BIG was at the bar frontin & thats when Jay did all the songs and BK's Finest was supposed to close the show - BIG wouldnt budge & thats when TA-Ta grabbed the mic said "Get Ya Fats Ass Up Here nigga and do the song u fat muthafucka"

    BIg was that dude at the time too.. I was like "Damn... Ta-Ta goes in"!!!!

  29. cot damn...this was ill. good read

  30. Missed you on the Blogs song cause I just got down with your blog but damn if it isn't one of the best out. Got a brother ready to drop a remix

  31. ^ El Gringo, funny shit is "Regrets" remains my fave on that album as well. Was in the studio, D&D, when they recorded it. Jay took mad long on his inflections, especially with how he was pronouncing the word "Korean". I'ma send Pete this link now.

    ^^Sir Tony Blair, glad to meet u homie, we gotta link up and break bread my dude! You know what the eff I'm talking 'bout. See, part of the fuckery was that Will Sokolov of Sleeping Bag fame had Freeze Records, then had a sub label under Freeze called Moon Roof, the actual entity that we did the deal with. When it came time for the Roc getting that 1M, Priority took a while and when that shit went Will's way, that's when the drama ensued. Like I said, pure FUCKERY!!! Will had that money tied up all which ways but out. NO ONE expected shit from that record, looked at it like a throw away tax write off, so when it sold, shit got very shady. I remember how the Priority NY office treated us like peons. AL BRANCH was the em effin Marketing GENIUS!!! Bad Boy had us twisted b/c the deal Dame cut with B.I.G. was on some back street cash shit. When I had to clear it with Bad Boy, I was begging Puff to let BIG on the record. Puf was like, I swear "What the fuck is a J Z?" They squeezed me and only let that shit rock on the album, no singles no videos. Maybe that's why BIG refused to perform "BK's Finest" that night, Puff and Arista prolly had him under gag order. Same thing with MCA and Mary J. Blige, which is why we had to replace her with M'lisa Morgan for "Can't Knock The Hustle". That video and single was supposed to be Mary all day!

    Finally, Jay was mad on that Lexus shit back then. GREAT to meet you fam!

  32. ^^^ Funny shit is I was repping Smoothe the Hustler at that very same time. True story, Jay's shit was either set to drop or dropped RIGHT after Pac died and the "Mackavelli" album dropped. Jay and Dame were in my office stunned at how hard Pac came at Jay, especially since Angie Martinez was rocking the shit outta "Hail Mary' on Hot 97. Shit was bittersweet 'cause I asked Jay if he had any comeback for dude, and he, like everyone else was like kinda pissed that 'Pac went ahead and got hisself kilt, leaving him to have the last word on a gang of NY rappers. I was also reppin Tragedy Khadafi at the time, and him. Mobb Deep and CNN was like 'eff that shit and dropped "LA, LA" for good measure. Good fucking times for real. Not shitting on the new generation of cats out here, but like that old nigga sitting on a porch sippin on some drank, I'm claiming that THOSE WAS THE LAST OF THE EFFIN GOOD TIMES IN THE INDUSTRY!!!

  33. CJ, from Jay-Z to DMX and many other huge stars there's a long road between trying to get a deal and becoming a huge act.

    I saw Biggie performed around the time (Party and Bullsh*t_) hit at a NY showcase, he was ok. The act that had the venue going crazy was the Lords of the Underground and the Pharcyde. Many people always talk about how great Biggie* was but they don't realize the 24/7 hours of energy that Puff put into the Biggie.

    It took a minute for Jadakiss to realize that Puff is energizer rabbit.

  34. ^Lol, I was reppin the Lords Of The Underground then, as well. Not braggin, just sayin. My blog status might be fresh, but my music biz steez was DEEP.

  35. Definitely puts some pieces to the puzzle. There's definitely a lot of history in the music biz that's concealed! Crazy

  36. as a fan I must say that I appreciate you giving us the insight and genesis of how roc-a-fella and Jay-z became who they are today

  37. There was a female artist down with Rocafella in the Payday/Freeze era. She had a song that sampled Jodeci's "Freek'n You" remix with Rae & Ghost. Does anyone remember the name of the artist and the song in question?

  38. Awesome read!! The homie Rikers put me on to this post....U should flip Fredric Dannens' book Hit Men, but on some Hip-Hop ish

  39. Great stuff, made better by the comments. I would buy a book of these kinds of stories in a second.

    Or maybe make a tv series with CJ sitting by the fire reading "True Hip Hop Stories, With Combat Jack", while sipping some Henn. I want 5% lol

  40. ^ Cy, I already wrote a book, almost kilt me: http://www.amazon.com/Bling-Hip-Hop-Jewelry-Reggie-Osse/dp/1582345589/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238020526&sr=8-1

    But you're right, a '90's Hip Hop Hitmen would be off the meat rack.

    ^^ G Off, I'd have to be sippin on that Maker's Mark.

  41. That's what I'm talking about CJ. You confirmed alot of hearsay about Dame's conduct and behavior over the years. Most assholes have a person or two who can pull their coat and calm them the fuck down. Was there anyone that Dame respected enough that if they called him out for being foul, he would listen? Clark seems like a level-headed, intelligent guy, I'm sure he tried, as well as yourself, to talk some sense in to Dame. Respect on this one Jack, that shit was informative like a muhfuc...

  42. This is that shit that makes me proud to be part of the blogroll over here.......kudos fam

  43. Jay's shit was either set to drop or dropped RIGHT after Pac died and the "Mackavelli" album dropped.

    ^^ jay dropped in the summer. pac didn't die until september. jay even had a reference to pac on rd, off can i live 2 feat. bleek ("don't even hate on those who hate me, i got pac on").

    I was also reppin Tragedy Khadafi at the time, and him. Mobb Deep and CNN was like 'eff that shit and dropped "LA, LA" for good measure.

    ^^ LA, LA came out before Pac died. It was there response to the Dogg Pound's New York, New York, which came out in 95. The posthumous response to Against All Odds by Makaveli from Mobb Deep was "Drop a Gem On Em" (in which they did not refer to Pac by name).

    Your dates are a little off and I'm surprised because a lot of this stuff was big talk in hip-hop circles back then.

  44. my bad, let me correct myself...drop a gem on em was allegedly a response to hit em up.

  45. Mobb Deep was THE ONLY cats that decided to drop a line on Pac after his death. They even let it be known during an interview that they didn't care.

  46. Darien was a "winner" alright... he was real special.

  47. Damn, this is a good piece yo. Dame is the ONLY person I've ever admired. It's crazy seein' him at this point, he never took no shit and he worked hard to get what he got. I'm glad that you did this. I had no idea about the Dame and Mry J thing, hell, not even Clark & Foxxy bein fam. So Jay owe alotta people, but instead he sh*ttin on em all. He'll get it worse than Dame, watch.

  48. propably the most interesting piece of hiphop blogery ive read this year . also read a few from the past .. defo cosign that boook . jay did shit on the people who made him .. but he was always that dude who wasnt supposed to . thats what people dont realise . i think thats the reason he doesnt know how to act sometimes.

  49. ^ it was the oz's stoopid u kno, the white stuff jay raps about in every verse

    ^^ mike, get your reading comprehension game up, the above anecdote has dame bumming cab fare off of combat jack. have you ever heard of a major drug dealer begging for cab fare? the question wasn't for you to answer, anyway, it was for combat jack. and the question was, if dame was so broke he had to borrow cab fare, who funded the "in my lifetime" video? jay was "crazy straight" and still "spending money from 88" in the late 90s, so who's telling the truth here?

  50. Mobb Deep was THE ONLY cats that decided to drop a line on Pac after his death. They even let it be known during an interview that they didn't care.

    ^^ Well, talking about someone after they're dead isn't particularly gangsta, especially when you still don't use their name. They had plenty of time to drop a direct, named dis to Pac while he was living because Pac called them out on Hit Em Up (on the spoken outro) months and months before he passed. king sun, to my knowledge, was the only east coast rapper to dis pac by name during his lifetime. which is hysterical because none of the people pac dissed by name retorted to him directly, by name (big dropped a line about faith possibly being pregnant by pac on brooklyn's finest, hardly a respectable retort).

    conversely, the only person pac and the outlawz *didn't* dis by name was the one person who lived on the west coast that they sent a dart at, which was xzibit ("if you ain't in for the cash, mayne, what's your motherf---king purpose" off of "bomb first" was a response to the hook of xzibit's first single "paparazzi" that questioned people who were only in rap for cash and fame).

  51. oh, and i was corrected by a dj friend of mine on my memory of events. can i live 2 was added to a re-release of 'reasonable doubt' and was not available on the summer 96 initial release of RD. my bad.

  52. spirit equality, why u so mad doggie? sounds like someone jizzed in yer coffee as yer girl was busy effin yer landlord behind yer back. not a good look son. i am glad that my post really inspired u to go ape on the fact checking mission, i'm proud of u b/c of that. let's be clear, who ever ever ever mentioned that dame dash was a "major" drug dealer, or a drug dealer at all? as long as i've know him, he's always been a legit business man. so happens that there was a time, kinda like now, when he had some money issues. dunno why that's so hard for u to believe. jay and biggs might have had some money saved up, but dame was busy keeping the irs off his back. with regard to who droppped whhat and when in connection with 2pac, my bad. i'm writing off memory so some of my dates might be off. but u can understand, no? hey man, if you're not satisfied, i invite u to do some fact checking on me, the real me, google my shit, peep my resume. send me yours too. then we can meet at starbucks or dunkin donuts and compare facts, dates, all types of fun informational type activities. until then though, take the fist out yer ass, smoke a blunt, buy an x-box or something, but leave that tight anger type energy to a minimum my dude, not good for yer blood pressure.

  53. ^speaking of Can I Live 2, that has to be the best rap song ever, that was ruined by a no-talent weed carrier.

    Great energetic beat, dope horns, keys, & hard drums.

    Great lyrics from Jay:
    "... I'm cynical, when in the view of the public
    and this is because, I'm defensive when I'm in interviews
    The percentage who don't understand, is higher than the percentage who do,
    Check yourself, which percentage is you?
    Can I Live!"

    Then the notoriously meh weed carrier Memphis Bleek has to come in & ruin the song.

    Seriously, maybe Bleek did save Jay's life in some fistfight or gunfight, or maybe Bleek was Jay's closeted fa-go boyfriend ([||]^2 for even considering that as a possible factor, maybe I need to stop reading Byron Crawford blogs), or some such like that. Bleek's verse was super wack on that song.

    CJ, maybe u can comment on why Jay kept giving Bleek verses on Jay's albums?

  54. spinning this Can I Live 2 now, Jay actually "ad-libs" at then end of the song
    "all my niggas who say pause after saying some focked up shyt"

    I didn't know "pause" existed slang term way back in 1996.

    Maybe CJ or the self-styled hip hop historian/investigative reporter Spirit Equality can do some research & then write a blog post about the early origins of "pause" on wax. I would read that post!

  55. Whoa - well told

  56. El Gringo... Pause has been around for some time. Well we can go back to the early 90's prior to RUN DMC's demise "PAUSE" was a song, also a phrase dating back to Flava Flav's era (PE days).

    Combat Jack you hit the bullseye. I must say that Dame has given plenty his ass to kiss. But Karam is a mofo, and Dame might resurface after this whole things has passed. Interesting "jay" almost owes Foxy for making that song a hit. I was in College back then, and the spring this song was released was refreshing, the video in Miami, Jay with the blue ferrari... Big at Banco Del Popular!!

    Spiritual Equality.. many dropped names of Pac after his death. I mean Chino XL, the whole QB, sadly Smiff & Wessun didn't due a tribute album as Treach did, with his single, mourn till we join u!

    Combat Jack I will keep in touch with your blog.. Always a pleasure.

  57. ^ Craziest shit is how it was Jaz-O that produced AND sang on "Ain't No Nigga', but him and Jay ain't friends no mo'.

  58. CJ, quick question. Whatever happened to dude in the original Original Flavor? Like "Here We Go" Original Flavor.

  59. Combat Jack whats good fam! Man we definitely gotta link up! Goin back on your comment on if Jay had a responce for 'Pac - HE DID! He was in LA when the Pac dis dropped! Only time people heard the diss was during Jay's performance at The Apollo - That night was stoopid!!! Thats when him & BIG finally did "Brooklyn's Finest" - I was there that night and thought the 2nd level of the APOLLO theatre was gonna fall!!!! People went crazy!! And after BIG left the stage - Jay did a scathing Diss on Pac LIVE! They were gonna press is up the following week but 'Pac died so Jay didnt want to do it...

    I know we did a b-side to "Cant Knock The Hustle" where Jay threw a few shots at Pac w/Sauce Money -

    Combat Jack get at me sirtonyblair@gmail.com

  60. DAME DASH IS MY ROLE MODEL! no one did what he did for this game, not even close. He's what happens when the street meets intelligence, it can be a dangerous thing!

  61. Great piece! Bookmarking the site and referencing this post on my blog...and that's the greatest compliment ev.er. :D Come and see me sometime @ http://blazeadams247.blogspot.com/ and http://twitter.com/msBlazeAdams

    Blaze Adams

  62. Combat Jack.
    You may not respond to me cause i have no intention to fact check you, or was I there for any of these occurences you've documented, but reading this has made you "something" in my eyes. I cant define it, but its not negative by any means. Im extreeeeeemly impressed with this piece for what its worth to you.
    The comments only made it better.
    You're the type of blogger that MAKES people return, because you give a shit about what you write to the point you respond to comments.

    Dame is somebody who said he would never diss Jay, then he came out talking greasy on Jim Jones "Alarm" track. Jay dissed back too tho on the Ballin' remix. Not cool in my opinion.
    Regardless, Jay is my duuuude, and i have respect for Dame, because no one makes it alone. Simple.

  63. The info you provided filled many holes in stories, and gave validation to alot of rumours i had heard.
    what i wouldnt mind knowing is the Bleek thing that was asked earlier. WHy did Jay keep him around for so long? Personally, i like Bleek, hes not the best rapper, but i like his attitude, and he's got some good ones here and there. But why was he around on songs for so long? why didnt he stick around, but just play the back like Ty Ty?

  64. spirit equality, why u so mad doggie?

    ^^ not mad at all, fam.

    sounds like someone jizzed in yer coffee as yer girl was busy effin yer landlord behind yer back.

    ^^^ freud called this "projection", when someone projects their personal shortcomings onto others.

    not a good look son. i am glad that my post really inspired u to go ape on the fact checking mission,

    ^^^ fam, i was a part of the hip-hop culture at the time of the events you described incorrectly, so i didn't have to go "fact checking", these are things i already knew because i was in the culture when they happened. instead of letting you type all kinds of wrong information, i just wanted to set the record straight.

    i'm proud of u b/c of that. let's be clear, who ever ever ever mentioned that dame dash was a "major" drug dealer, or a drug dealer at all?

    ^^^ hmmm. there are legends about dame's background. if dame is clean as a whistle, i apologize for reiterating these rumors.

    as long as i've know him, he's always been a legit business man. so happens that there was a time, kinda like now, when he had some money issues. dunno why that's so hard for u to believe. jay and biggs might have had some money saved up, but dame was busy keeping the irs off his back.

    ^^^ you're the first person i've heard say dame was broke before RD dropped. every other story i heard had jay, dame and biggs balling and self-financing the "in my lifetime" video, carrying around bags of cash, etc.

    with regard to who droppped whhat and when in connection with 2pac, my bad. i'm writing off memory so some of my dates might be off. but u can understand, no? hey man, if you're not satisfied, i invite u to do some fact checking on me, the real me, google my shit, peep my resume. send me yours too. then we can meet at starbucks or dunkin donuts and compare facts, dates, all types of fun informational type activities.

    ^^^ uh, no thanks fam on the donuts. i doubt you worked as an attorney under the name "combat jack", but if you do decide to post under your real name, i'll be happy to research you. i never said you weren't who you said you were, i just said your dates were wrong.

    until then though, take the fist out yer ass

    ^^^ the fact that you even envision a grown man doing this says a lot about you.

    , smoke a blunt, buy an x-box or something, but leave that tight anger type energy to a minimum my dude, not good for yer blood pressure

    ^^^ the only person that may be mad is you. because only people who are a little agitated start having these weird homoerotic/violent fantasies about fists like you had up above.

  65. honestly spirit equality your just gay..you got to get a night life fam.

  66. CJ excellent job. nothing said here was under oath. its facts and recollections YOU have. spiritual equality seems like a staunch tupac lover, which isnt bad, but its telling how you were so quick to fact check the tupac aspect wiht such clarity. but this was done to suggest something -- i think you want to perpetuate this myth that tupac had this aura of fear amongst his peers making them unable to utter his name on wax...you must be from cali or somewhere. no one was afraid of it, but people in the industry (the check writers) were leery enough to not instigate it on wax, but plenty of new york rappers "went in on pac". at shows, mixtapes whereever, he was like how 50 cent brings out haters who wouldnt mind yelling his name for publicity. you need to realize this beef was really an "act", but people were impressed enough to do dumb shit. its unfortunate for me that pac died because i think he was coming into his senses and but the negative forces around him lead to that subsequent beating in vegas and his death. but dont imply that rappers were petrified to utter pac name. its just he died unexpectedly and out of respect no label is gonna sign off on lyrics dissing the dead.

    as far as dame being a drug dealer...you are too impressionable. how old are you? every rapper has a persona, or what one might call a facade. this happens to be the case with these guys. were they familiar with the drug game? of course, any person who grew up in the 80's in NYC KNOWS the drug game just by observance, not to mention best friends who get caught up, you couldnt help NOt knowing. and maybe even dibble and dabble. so that was all for the image of Rocafella records, that they sold drugs. That was show money and advances that gave them that drug dealer look and presence. Im in my late 30s born and raised in Flatbush, BK. so SE, while your perspective is interesting its very slanted and biased. this wasnt even a tupac blog sorry... Combat keep up the good work.

  67. you gotta understand the nuances about this whole uproar over facts. competition was fierce back then, i remember big being alittle reluctant to have another bk rapper with lyrics who could give him a run with sales. diddy understood that too. then you have tupac, who by then had worldwide appeal, doing movies...he was bigger than both of them. he knew he wouldnt lose his base of female fans who actually buy records so it nuthing for him to shit on new york rappers, still sell and if they retort, west coast fans are gonna ride with their own and shows and sales are gonna hurt the east coast rappers more. not saying pac was gonna sell out the MSG but who knows, he had tons of groupies. big, jay z were small fries compared to him. i remember that jayz energy being that new nigga in the game from bk reppin and pac was like 50 is. if you stand next to my enemy (big and diddy) i am gonna send diss shots at you, but by him dissing jay it actually rose his profile. people were very eager to hear jay get at pac, but he died mad quick. its really unbelievable how fast time flew by but at the moment it seemed like the war was as long this Iraq shit. but SE i should be mean to you, alot of people felt Pac. i didnt, but thats because at the time i felt his hate was forced and not all too sincere and if anything borne from some latent jealousy he had of diddys success at the time. big was just his target, i think diddy was his inspiration, as well as suge's. back to dame now:

    ever heard the term everything is funny when your pockets are full of money"? that i think was dames credo...he was always full of jokes at the poor mans expense, always calling someone a bumass, clowning people, etc. its nothing more than that karmic wheel spins 360, always comes back. one.

  68. this was a great read. very informational. im still a dame fan

  69. really enjoyed the post, very refreshing in this day in age of gossip blogs. I remember the summer of 94 very well. I was the only white suburban kid i knew who had Illmatic. Then fast forward to 96 and just the sounds of Jays album was unbelievable and is nostalgic to this day. I had never heard a girl MC like Foxy. Emceeing was all about New York back then. The slang, the labels, the style etc.. Thanks for the great insight and the perspective you take. I always kind of looked at Dame as a character. Never really thought more of him than a wanna be Puffy who loved attention. The "Sunshine" video was an example of that.

  70. Ahh man good shit. Very Inspirational, I know it was about Dame but the info on Jay makes you realize that the self-confidence and preserverance does pay off. Dame'll get it back together, but it would harder with friends instead of burned bridges.

  71. excellent blog. hit me at mesainy@rapfantic.com, we'd love to do an interview with you

  72. I think in the music industry,it takes an asshole to deal with and survive amongst them. Dame has a rep but what about those people he was loyal to. The Kanye's, and yes, even the Jay-Z's. What does it say about them and their loyalty when he, for years was the asshole that opened alot of the doors which they freely roam through now. I don't personally know the dude but too many times you read about the faults of a person but how many of those faults helped make Roc-a-fella and its artist who and what they are today.

  73. Didn't Jay write Foxy's verse anyway?..

  74. This is hott sh!t!!!
    I respect Dame because all the times he seemed to be being an a$$hole it was in defense of his people. Most of us ride with the thought of, ride with us or collide with us. My cuz broke down how it was Dame that made them cats respect Kanye when everybody else didnt believe he was a rapper. I understand Karma but what type of friends were they to allow someone they use to run with to go broke. I dont f with alot of my dudes from back in the day but if I got it they got it!

    CJ keep it real, whats the real beef between Jay and Dame?!?!
    They say us ni99as always fall out over money and pus!
    Great blog!
    (never argue with a fool because from a distance people cant tell who is the fool)

  75. honestly spirit equality your just gay..you got to get a night life fam.

    ^^ InF, stop projecting your gay lifestyle on me. the only gay person here is you, for jumping in the middle of a disagreement between two grown men. and learn how to speak english. it's "you're". get a tutor or something.

  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. "CJ excellent job. nothing said here was under oath. its facts and recollections YOU have. spiritual equality seems like a staunch tupac lover, which isnt bad, but its telling how you were so quick to fact check the tupac aspect wiht such clarity."

    ^^^ i fact checked what i saw was misstated. as you could tell, i'm also a mobb deep fan because i remembered when they recorded what.

    "but this was done to suggest something -- i think you want to perpetuate this myth that tupac had this aura of fear amongst his peers making them unable to utter his name on wax...you must be from cali or somewhere."

    ^^^ you know what they say about assuming. and you're wrong. i didn't perpetuate any myth, i'm just representing the facts that other than king sun, to my knowledge, no one name-checked pac on wax during the so-called east/west beef. if you can refute my fact with a fact, please enlighten me.

    "but dont imply that rappers were petrified to utter pac name."

    ^^ i didn't, you did.

    "as far as dame being a drug dealer...you are too impressionable.
    how old are you? every rapper has a persona"

    ^^^ dame isn't a rapper. he has intimated that he has a history on the street without directly saying that he ever did anything. i took these hints to mean that he was actually active in the street. if i misread him, i apologize for associating him with criminal activity.

    "so that was all for the image of Rocafella records, that they sold drugs. "

    ^^^ you can't blame me for accepting what a man implies to be fact if i never saw anyone, until this blog entry, contradict it. you and combat jack appear to know dame and both of you say he was never in the streets. i accept that. move on.

  78. CJ don't ya think that neither Dash needs the coin since the Jackson verdict came their way and funded them majorly? I hear Cousin Darien got millions.

    www.dmeinteractive.com is down

    WTF is they doing all day now?

  79. You are being kind to these guys and while they may have been visionary and bright, they screwed a lot of people...good soldiers that would have given they lives for these two.

    I personally know guys that after dealing with these two, and getting f*cked but not kissed by them, they left the business completely.

    Even Jay-Z talks smack about them. Look these niggas are the best example of good breeding, a sucessful actress cousin that opened doors and the best private schools, etc.

    People THINK it was all Damen or Darien as some Web god, but it was guys like you CJ that hung in there and thought the big thoughts, and tamed the tiger and smoothed sh*t over when it got too hot. More than these two deserve the cred. What are they doing now, walking around in Keds sneakers playing on the Web. Please...it's over. They had a moment in time. World is a bigger, scarier place with sharper guys than these two. Barack is the furthest thang from gansta. It's the new world order. Got's ta change. And build bridges.
    So what does Damien do in that midtown office crib all day? Count Michael Jackson's $$?

  80. @ Anonymous (Above)...

    Jay-Z said in XXL Magazine (Reasonable Doubt Anniversary Cover) that Foxy Brown wrote her own verses on everything they did together. That should explain that.

  81. you're an attorney and you can't even type a paragraph without all sorts of grammatical errors? I can't even imagine how you speak. wtf, damn, we black people stay losing.

  82. This is interesting reading the comments, after the blog. A lot more gems being dropped, I wish some of the other figures would comment. One of the people who i feel got majorly done was Bee-High, dude was the everything man at the ROC. It seems ill that besides Ta-Ta, all the BK dudes got pushed out after Vol.1

  83. Gotdamn, talk about droppin science. That was one compelling read CJ. On a kinda similar note, I wouldn't mind reading such a piece on your experience with the Jigga man himself during that time frame you were working w/ the Roc. Peace brotha

  84. Jay and Dame should @ least still speak with each other..If I had a friend that helped "US" go from nothing to millions he could screw my wife and I'd accept his apology

  85. That was ag reat great read. I admire Dame Dash for everytihng he has accomplished. He may come off as an asshole and actually be one but if your not a motherfucker in this business, you will get fucked. He is everything I would ever want in a manager to the tenth power and cannot wait for his turn to come back and stick it up everyones ass, again.. pause.


  87. I was Director of Promotions at Payday Records. Got my start there. I promoted the Raoc-a fella brand and took Jay-Z on his first promo run to Philly and D.C. for Big Tigga & Steph Lova show. I knew from then that those guys were destined for greatness. Till today they still show love and appreciation.