Multi-platinum producer and one-time Swizz Beatz mentor Dame Grease explained how he — along with DMX and entourage — escaped the grips of a notorious warlord while touring in Africa, in a recent interview with 247HH.
“It was the first time I realized I was an American,” he said of the incident. “I thought I was a street dude from Harlem, no. I’m an American. I’m not even black out there.”
The ordeal took place in Angola, which was the final stop of DMX’s 2005 European Tour. Soon after arriving, and interacting with the promoter, things started to feel weird. “We feel like we’re getting fattened up like turkeys,” Dame explains.
They had received an additional $30,000 up front for radio and promo, and the show went off without a hitch. Afterward, though, they were told that they were going to have to stay an additional three days. The promoter then uttered in Spanish, “If you try to leave, you’re going to have a problem.”
Dame and company then contacted the American Embassy, who set up bulletproof white Tahoes in the garage of the building they were in, and the group took advantage of a window of opportunity to load the cars and escape. When they reached the airport, however, they were confronted by the warlord and a large group of armed rebels.
They were forced to pay $17,000 in cash and were able to leave on the next flight. “We drank a whole bottle of Bacardi Limòn in like 30 seconds when we got on the plane,” Dame says with a laugh.
In another clip from he same interview, Dame broke down the tension in California at the infamous VIBE party Biggie Smalls attended before he was killed in 1997. “Everyone was followed,” he says, “It was a big-time assassination.” He said that he and Style P — who was also there that night — could feel something was off. “They just killed 2Pac — and Biggie is right there. Something is going to happen.”
Dame initially rose to industry acclaim as a Bad Boy beatmaker, producing classics like “Money, Power & Respect” and “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa” for LOX’s debut album, and “Niggaz Wanna Act” from Mase’s debut opus.
He was also the lead producer on DMX’s iconic It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot that debuted at #1 on Billboard when it dropped 19 years ago, changing the lives of everyone involved. Specifically, he produced some of the album’s most enduring gems, “Damien” and “Get At Me Dog.” As well, he later crafted the sound that propelled French Montana and Max B to prominence. This is all on top of a lengthy discography and film score credits.
In other news, Dame also teased his Facebook fans with a sequel to Live On Lenox Ave, which was the first self-produced compilation released on his label, Vacant Lot Musik. The project featured names like Nas, Scarface, and much more.
Check out the full interview above.