NEW YORK — Damon Dash hasn't spoken to former best friend Jay-Z in a while, but he's definitely been listening to Jay's music. Dash says he doesn't know for sure but hopes the new Jigga track "Lost One" isn't about their relationship.
While Jay hasn't verified that the first verse in the song is about Dame Dash, it's largely perceived that Hov is talking about the Roc-A-Fella breakup (see "Jay-Z, Dame Dash Sell Roc-A-Fella Records; Jay Named Def Jam Prez"). He raps: "I heard muthaf---ers saying they made Hov/ Made Hov say, 'OK, so make another Hov'/ N---as wasn't playing they day role/ So we parted ways like Ben and J. Lo."
On Friday evening at the offices of Damon Dash Enterprises, the Harlem native spoke out publicly for the first time about the song. Dash said he too thought the lyrics were about himself and Kareem "Biggs" Burke, who used to be the other third of the Roc-A-Fella brass.
"Me and Jay did too much together for me to have beef with him," Dash said. "If he was talking about me, I would be disappointed. I wish he would take me aside and tell me. That's what grown men do. We done so much, for me to have beef with him would be crazy. It would make everything I did look corny. ... Guys like us don't talk about other guys on a track. We pull each other to the side and speak.
"I was just a little disappointed," Dame continued. "I don't feel nothing against him. I think it was a bad decision on his part. I would never air my laundry like that. It damages the history that we made. I got nothing bad to say about that man, just that scenario. Could you imagine 10 years ago that Jay would be making a record about Dame Dash? I used to eat at his house for Thanksgiving. I know his mother, his whole family. I got no beef. We made way too much money together. I almost felt sorry for him. It's like he made an excuse for what he did. We used to have a lot of fun. The absence of Dame Dash is critical."
In last month's issue of XXL Magazine, Jay addressed the split by saying, "At the end of the day, when I look around and I know I'm on the side of right or what I believe is right in my heart ... sometimes you think you're doing right but you're not. But what you believe to be right in your heart, that's your truths. Then certain things happen that go even further then that, and you know you was right. The way people carry themselves after, it's like, 'Wow.' I wouldn't have did that. [He laughs.] A true friend wouldn't have done that."
Dame also described the Roc-A-Fella breakup as being more personal than the loss of a partner.
"Well," he said, gathering his thoughts, "I looked at it as more like a loss of a friend. I didn't really care about the business. What we sold was our friendship. ... Again, it's a different age, we grew apart."
Dash says he's grown apart from music as well and that he hasn't come across any new talent to make him want to jump back in the business. He recently started an urban-networking Web site called BlockSavvy.com and of course is still focusing on movies and his number one hustle these days: fashion.
"I don't wanna be yelling all my life," he began to laugh. "How loud did I have to yell to say that Jay-Z was the man and the best rapper of all time? Nobody believed me until it happened 10 years later. You saw what happened when I brought Kanye over. ... I love music, but the people in the music don't wanna work. I know this. I'm in the fashion industry. I haven't had to shout for two years."