Least of the hip-hop moguls
It was announced recently that the Damon Dash Music Group has signed a distribution deal with Koch Records, where he'll be releasing albums by Sizzla (not to be confused with Sizzler), the guy who did the god-awful theme music to "BET's The Ultimate Hustler." So I think it's safe to say his career is pretty much over.
There was a time, after he was forced out of Roc-A-Fella records, when he was said to be handling the careers of a whole range of artists, including N.O.R.E., Rell, Nicole Wray, and the ODB's corpse. But they may have opted to go work at a Church's or something rather than put out albums on Koch.
The ODB is dead obviously, so I'm not sure what ended up happening with his final album. It may very well have already been released. I've had a copy of it sitting on my laptop for like six months now. djxplicit reviewed it a while back and said it wasn't that good. N.O.R.E. was the only one left with any real potential, and I think he may be signed to some reggaeton label.
In addition to being forced out of Roc-A-Fella Records, and subsequently banned from the Island Def Jam building, he also somehow managed to get forced out of his own clothing company, Roc-A-Wear, which may have been his only other profitable business venture. So as of now, all he's left with is Pro Keds, Team Roc, Roc Digital, America Magazine, and a bunch of other bullshit that may actually cost him money.
This would seem a rather precipitous decline for the man who once lorded over the vast Roc-A-Fella empire, but then this type of fall isn't entirely uncommon, either. P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, and Master P hardly have careers as label heads to speak of, despite the fact that they're P. Diddy, Russell Simmons, and Master P. Still, I think a case can be made for Damon Dash being the least talented of this bunch.
If there's one thing all of these d-bags have in common, it's that they all basically made their bones by attaching themselves, parasite-style, to some rapper who actually had talent. P. Diddy obviously had the Notorious B.I.G.; in Russell Simmons' case, it was his brother's group Run-DMC. I don't know that Master P was ever affiliated with any talented rappers, but he's from the South, so talent was naturally less of an issue.
That said, those other three also possess varying degrees of talent that extend outside of knowing some famous rapper, or in Master P's case, a legion of wack-ass rappers. P. Diddy, for example, is a pretty good dancer and may very well have carved out a profitable career dancing in R&B videos had he never discovered the Notorious B.I.G. And didn't Master P used to play for the Charlotte Hornets or the Houston Rockets or some shit?
Russell Simmons may not be master any particular craft, but he seems like the kind of guy that's going to make a dollar regardless of the situation. This is, after all, the same guy that runs a debit card scheme designed to siphon money from the bank accounts of poor black people, Superman III-style. You may want to consult my special report on the state of his marriage, if you have any doubts about his business acumen.
Meanwhile, I don't know that anyone was really surprised to see Damon Dash's career fall apart so quickly after Jay-Z gave him his proverbial walking papers. It'll be interesting to see if he's able to mount some sort of second act to his career over at Koch, of if this the beginning of an even further slide into obscurity. Obviously, any smart money would have to be on the latter.