Here’s a Excerpt from the feature “Jay-Z: It Takes a Harmless, Hand-Built Gangster to Run this Town” From the FEBRUARY 2010 ISSUE of ESQUIRE MAGAZINE
“I’m indie, and Jay went corporate.” Dash says this so many times in the space of an evening that it’s likely what he employs at bedtime instead of counting sheep.…Time to tell the story about the day he knew he’d lost Jay-Z:
It was about the time Jay had been offered the CEO gig at music label Def Jam, a job that Dash thought should rightfully have been his. Nonetheless, they were still partners in Rocawear, which was successful and growing. But their relationship had lately Paris-and-Nicoled. They were no longer congenital, “two brothers in the afterlife,” as they’d once been tagged by other close friends. But they were still on the same page in the business. Says Dash, “It was me and Jay and the two Russians voting on every decision, and I controlled the vote, because I always had Jay’s vote.” The two Russians were Alex Bize and Norton Cher, old-school clothing slingers from Manhattan’s garment district who ran the day-to-day operations.
“But one day,” Dash says, “they brought me to a hotel.” He takes his time with the story, replays it daintily. It’s clear that reliving the scene is as painful as it is ebulliently cathartic. “I said, ‘Why are we meeting at a hotel?’ and it was because they didn’t want anyone to hear me yelling. That was the day they told me they didn’t want [celebrity photographer] Mario Testino to shoot the ads.” Instead, they were going with someone cheaper, and they were going in a different direction altogether.
“Here the Russians were telling me how to cater to my people! I wanted [Rocawear] to be sold at Bergdorf Goodman’s, not Dr. Jay’s!” says Dash.