In a new interview with VladTV, Dame Dash addressed his history dealing crack as a young adult in Harlem. “I don’t advocate it,” he said when asked about his first job, “but it is what it is, it was crack.”
When asked about a possible history in higher-level crime, Dash admitted that his dealings elevated past the street but spoke instead about the experience of having large amounts of cash as a kid.
“Yeah, but, at that point you can’t really be talking about it,” he said of his drug dealing past. “Having more money than older people, it made me kind of arrogant ‘cause they didn’t have anything that I felt I didn’t have. I just felt I was living in this square life. I definitely think it gave me a certain mentality. Also, the concept of taking your money and reinvesting it and also having to pay people to sell it. And understanding that you always have to have a team and that you lead by example. But the difference with crack is [that] there’s violence involved. If somebody doesn’t pay you, even at that level, you gotta put your hands on them or else you can’t really do that game anymore. Everyone’s always watching. So, there’s also different stakes and there’s different repercussions of disrespect. The only reason why is because the survival aspect of it, not for the glorification of it. In order to survive at that street level, it involved being violent at times. You know what I mean?”
Comparing his life now with that of his early years in Harlem, Dash admitted that he was immature as a child with a pocket full of money.
“Everyday was crazy compared to what I go through now,” he said. “Again, I was young. My brain wasn’t completely developed. I wasn’t so into my future as I am now. And I also wasn’t so into leading by example, I didn’t have kids at the time, I was just a child. It was like a child that had a lot to [peers his age] would look very evolved but amongst a bunch of adults would probably appear very young. So that’s how it always was. I always had more money than everybody my age so I always had to be around people that had what I had but I think I was always a little immature ‘cause I was young for what I had.”
Referencing the 2002 Roc-A-Fella Films movie Paid In Full, Dash explained what made him turn away from drug dealing.
“You saw Paid In Full, that was a very personal experience for me,” he said. “That scared me, that experience, because I saw it. I saw a kid die that had nothing to do with what was going on. It made me think that the game was disgusting and unfair and I didn’t want any parts of it but I didn’t want to have a nine-to-five job so I was trying to figure out how to live like a hustler but without really doing anything illegal. I had went to a party with my cousin and it was an industry party. Everyone was really pretending to be hustlers but none of them really were hustling. I was like, ‘Oh, I could do this all day.’ I felt like this was a good place to make money and not feel like I was a nine-to-five square, you know? And also use it as a platform to do other things. I never wanted to just do one thing, I wanted to do everything.
“Which is what I’ve been doing,” he added. “I like to live. I’ve never been worried about money or security because I’ve always had the ability to earn. I’ve always been worried about not living which is probably why I do so much of it. There’s an insecurity there for some reason where I feel like I must need to be great at everything. I can’t just stop at one thing. And I’m having too much fun doing it. It’s not even a competitive thing.”