Damon Dash is officially back in the music business. XXLMag.com has learned that the Roc-A-Fella co-founder has formed his own, new independent label to release a rap/rock album between The Black Keys and a slew of hip-hop artists, including Mos Def, Jim Jones, Q-Tip, Ludacris and more.
XXL had the chance to chop it up with Dash earlier today about the new venture and how it came into play. “My assistants, who are now actually A&Rs, were going to a Black Keys concert for their birthday and I wasn’t invited,” he explained. “Usually on their birthdays we all do it together and the reason why I wasn’t invited was because the concert was sold out . And I had never heard of The Black Keys and I was like y’all still gonna go without me. And they was like ‘Yo it’s The Black Keys.” So I was like, lemme hear this group. So I start listening to them and they actually became my favorite group. They were on heavy rotation so we just reached out and we kicked it with them and I was like, ‘I wonder what would happen if we got Jim Jones and the Keys in the studio’ and Jim came in and all of a sudden Mos came in and then [it] just built from there. “
The album, titled Blak Roc, also features appearances by Raekwon, RZA, Billy Danze of M.O.P., Pharoahe Monch and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, among others. Set for a release on the day after Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Black Friday in the world of retail, the disc will be on a new label started by Dash and the Keys.
“We had a good rapport with one another,” he said. “And I like the way they do their business and they kind of like the way I do mine and it just turned into this project. “
When asked what made him return to the music business after all these years, Dash said it was all about the love. “The Black Keys are about real music and all these other people that came through are really good at what they do,” he told XXL. “And it was more for love really. We didn’t know what it was gonna be, we just knew that we just liked making music. And that’s really what it’s about at this point. At least after being in the game this long you don’t wana just be doing it for money that becomes obvious…If I was to be a part of anything, it would have to be something like this. “ –Jesse Gissen