dame-dash-doctrine-roc-a-fella thumbnail

Blueprint to a Mogul: The Dash Doctrine



Doctrine: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief

If you’ve been on social media within the past couple of weeks, you may have stumbled across remarks made regarding the recent interview between business mogul, Damon Dash, and the members of NYC’s Power 105.1 Breakfast Club. What began as an interview intended to talk about Dash’s recent projects in film production (Loisaidas), quickly turned into a lesson on life skills and entrepreneurship. While viewing the interview, I began to see many parallels between his statements and words I’ve read while reading Napoleon Hill’s, “Think and Grow Rich”. While undoubtedly, both figures come from extremely polarized positions and backgrounds, lessons can be learned from each of them. This is relevant for the new generation, who may not necessarily be receptive to someone who has been deceased for over 40 years, but would be to a prominent figure in Hip-Hop culture who at times brings controversy, but definitely made an impact on the music and fashion industry and was responsible for assisting in the careers of some of the most prominent figures of today, such as Jay Z and Kanye West.

While Dash may seem to appear arrogant in his approach at times, and I may not necessarily agree with everything he says, there is some value in his street teachings.These words of wisdom pertain to ideas related to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and life skills.



Damon Dash, born on May 3, 1971, is a Harlem native. So much in fact, that he uses his experiences as a resident of this neighborhood of Manhattan as a primary reference point for his mentality both from a street perspective, as well as, a business one. Dash attributes his work ethic to his mother, who died of an asthma attack when he was 15 years old. As a teenager he hustled his way through adolescence by sweeping floors in local barbershops, selling newspapers, and eventually, drugs. He eventually made a name for himself as a party promoter; however, the biggest career move happened in 1992, when his friend Clark Kent introduced him to a young rapper from the Marcy Projects in Brooklyn named Jay-Z. By 1996, both of them, along with Kareem “Biggs” Burke, launched Roc-A-Fella Records after constantly being denied by record companies. They decided to become masters of their own destinies and it paid off, eventually establishing successful distribution deals with Def Jam and Priority Records.



Dash played a pivotal role in the success of Roc-A-Fella Records, often times shifting his moniker from a street-savvy virtuoso to a corporate businessman. His keen sense of awareness and flexibility is a perfect example of what it takes to be a street entrepreneur, an individual who’s able to use his “street smarts” to become successful in the business realm. Keeping this in mind, Damon Dash was able to venture off into a variety of industries. For example, he was the man behind the acquisitions of Armadale Vodka and Pro Keds, using his artists and his label as a means of marketing his other brands, especially the Rocawear clothing line. He was also highly involved in orchestrating crime thrillers, such as State Property (2002) and State Property 2 (2005), and the crime comedy Paper Soldiers (2002). In 2004, he worked with producer Lee Daniels (The Butler, Monster’s Ball and Empire) and Kevin Bacon to produce The Woodsman, a drama about a child molester who gets out of prison after serving a 12-year sentence and attempts to start a new life. In addition to delving into music, fashion, and film, Dash has also ventured into boxing promotion, enlisting boxers such as Gary Starks, Curtis Stephens, and Andre Alberta.

As you can see, Dash is a straight-up hustler with a diverse portfolio of businesses. Although he is no longer involved in the Roc-A-Fella label or Rocawear, he continues to be tenacious, starting his own Damon Dash Music Group and sportswear-clothing brand called CEO. You can view him on channels and websites, providing insight on what it takes to become a successful businessman, which leads to the idea of “The Dash Doctrine.” Below, you will find some very valid points that Damon Dash made during his recent interview at Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club. These words of wisdom pertain to ideas related to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and life skills. Therefore, each set of quotes are accompanied by a specific skill that can be found in Forbe’s article, “The Top Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs” and “Life Skills” mentioned on the website Skills You Need.

Honestly, at times, I’ve personally felt conflicted about some of Dash’s comments. While he may seem to appear arrogant in his approach at times, and I may not necessarily agree with everything he says, there is some value in his street teachings. This is even more evident as I aligned his words to Napoleon Hill’s. Ultimately, quotes from both figures served as an exchange of ideas that developed into a conversation that reinforces certain perceptions of success and ourselves. In the end, I really had to ask myself, “Do I have what it takes to be a boss?” What about you?

The Dash Doctrine


1. Leadership and Responsibility

“I hustle for my last name…not for my first.” – Damon Dash

“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.” – Napoleon Hill


2. Communication and Collaboration

“We have to stick together. And I’m sick of us as a culture not sticking together.” – Damon Dash

“…through personally analyzing hundred of successful men….all of them followed the habit of exchanging ideas, through what is commonly called conferences. When they had problems to be solved they sat down together and talked freely until they discovered, from their joint contribution of ideas, a plan that would serve their purpose.” – Napoleon Hill


3. Initiative and Self-Motivation 

“Jobs are for lazy people who don’t want to invest in themselves.” – Damon Dash

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” – Napoleon Hill


4. Self-Discovery and Life-long Learning

“I’m mad at y’all for having the same job for 25 years…I can’t imagine doing the same s#!+ every day having to be told what to do everyday…and ask to go on vacation” – Damon Dash

“Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.” – Napoleon Hill


5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving 

“A real man doesn’t listen to a rumor.” – Damon Dash

“Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished up anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by ‘opinions’ when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.” – Napoleon Hill


6. Independence and Accountability

“How could a man say he has a boss and be proud?” – Damon Dash

“Success comes to those who become success conscious.” – Napoleon Hill


7. Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

“See, you enjoy the safety and security of a job everyday, but there’s no pride in that to me……..There’s just a pride that you should have in ownership…By putting your own money up and investing in yourself. That’s it…you flip.” – Damon Dash

“Do not wait. The time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill