In a new interview, Dame Dash says that the real reason Roc-A-Fella Records folded was his resentment toward Jay-Z for collaborating with R. Kelly on Best Of Both Worlds. The interview, with Youtuber Kenyatta Griggs of Hip Hop Motivation, finds Dame breaking down that sequence of events with some rather fortuitous timing as the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly has the troubled singer at the forefront of music fans’ minds.
In the interview, Dame relates how his relationship with singer Aaliyah — one of R. Kelly’s most well-known, early victims — made him reticent to have his name and label involved in an R. Kelly project. “I been tight about the sh*t for years,” he admitted. “I never wanted no parts of that. When [Jay-Z] was doing that sh*t, I was like, ‘Bro, you know [R. Kelly] violated and he violated my girl. He violated a friends of yours.’ So when he moved forward, I was like, ‘Yo, I don’t want no parts of that.’ Because of the moral challenge and him choosing one way, I knew morally we weren’t the same, so to me, Roc-A-Fella was defunct.”
He says that the relationship between R. Kelly and Aaliyah was so traumatic for her that “I remember Aaliyah trying to talk about it and she couldn’t. She would just leave it at, ‘That dude was a bad man.’” Due to his reluctance to work with R. Kelly, Dame left his name off the credits of Best Of Both Worlds, which released just months after Aaliyah’s death in 2001, and donated his share of the profits to a breast cancer organization she supported.