Damon Dash has amassed quite a posse for his Roc-A-Fella Records camp in the last two years. He saved Cam'ron from being just another anonymous, street-reared rapper. He resurrected M.O.P. out of the grimy landscape of Brownsville. And he welcomed Ol' Dirty Bastard with open arms when the Wu-Tang MC was released from jail.
And for his latest reclamation project? Posh Spice.
Ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is recording a new solo album that Roc-A-Fella honcho Damon Dash will oversee. The as-yet-untitled album, due in September, will be released on Beckham's European label, Telstar, and through Roc-A-Fella in the States.
"I've never helped anyone outside the Roc like this, so this is different for me," Dash said. "But when we talked, I got to feeling how she wants to win like I want to win. I got to see where her heart is and how she'd work hard to promote her record."
Dash already snapped up Beckham, wife of English soccer star David Beckham, to promote Roc-A-Wear, the clothing line he owns with Jay-Z, in billboard ads alongside Naomi Campbell and as the line's European spokesperson as it's launched overseas (see "Dame Dash Nabs Spice Girl To Rep For The Roc"). But recently, the two met in Paris to discuss Beckham's musical aspirations. Dash realized there was serious pop potential in their relationship.
"She pays close attention to what makes people move and she truly loves hip-hop and R&B as well as pop," Dash explained.
Almost more surreal than the partnership between one of hip-hop's most savvy moguls and one of pop's ex-icons is who exactly Dash has her working with. Already, he's overseen the recording of two songs — "It's That Simple" with M.O.P. and "Let's Do It Again" with Cam'ron.
"She went into the gutter," Dash laughed. "I mean, M.O.P. is the grimiest group we got, and she took it there. I wanted to push her limits."
When Dash introduced her to M.O.P. in the studio, they didn't know who she was. "They thought they were just doing me a favor. But she won them over. They liked her as an individual."
Dash doesn't know if Jay-Z will make a cameo, but he's already recruited Macy Gray and Ol' Dirty Bastard, a.k.a. Dirt McGirt, to write songs with her.
Any criticism fans of the Roc may have with this latest signing can get kicked to the curb, Dash says. "If I say it's aiight, it's aiight. I think I've built up enough respect in hip-hop at this point that they should trust my opinion. They wasn't worried about it with Jay. They wasn't worried about it with ODB. They shouldn't be worried about it now. You watch — I'm not just going to make her a pop star but a Roc star, too."