The premiere of WE tv's Growing Up Hip Hop made its way to a television screen near you on Thursday (Jan. 8). The reality series takes viewers inside the world of six children who just so happen to be the offspring of music royalty. We had a chat with cast member Damon "Boogie" Dash Jr. about balancing life as a a young CEO, while learning the ins and outs of the business from his successful entrepreneur father, Dame Dash. Boogie revealed the best advice his father ever gave him and details about his forthcoming EDM mix album.
Growing Up Hip Hop follows the lives of Boogie (Dame Dash's son), Egypt (Pepa and Treach's daughter), Kristinia DeBarge (James DeBarge's daughter), Romeo Miller (Master P's son), TJ Mizell (Jam Master Jay's son), and Angela Simmons (Rev. Run's daughter). Besides playing a pivotal part in the cast, Simmons, Miller, and Master P all serve as executive producers on the show.
When your father has dabbled in everything from a multimillion dollar record label, production companies, and clothing lines to art galleries and wine, resting on your laurels just isn't an option. The 23-year-old is the proud co-owner of Buns restaurant, a baked good company, and a record label. Did we mention he's a DJ too?
A photo posted by boogiedash (@boogiedash) on Jan 6, 2016 at 12:21pm PST
Read the full interview below to find out why he values the importance of hard work, his experience filming with the cast for the first time, and the meaning behind his promise to not attend Coachella.
Morgan Murrell: What was your initial reaction of the show when the idea was first presented to you? Were you reluctant to join the cast at all?
Boogie Dash: No, not at all. My dad actually called me and told me there's a huge television opportunity coming my way. He said, "WE tv just called me and they're asking for you to be a part of the show Growing Up Hip Hop. You better take it, because this could act as a big commercial for your brand and for yourself." I told him, "say no more."
Besides your dad's encouraging words, did knowing some of the cast members make you more comfortable with the idea too?
I actually only previously met TJ one time before doing the show, because we did an interview together at my dad's art gallery, Poppington. As far as everyone else, I didn't personally know them, like face-to-face. I knew of them.
What was it like getting to know other children of music royalty?
It was great to meet up with them, because all their parents have their own legacy. I have my own with my dad, so it was really nice to meet kids that I could really relate to on different levels. We could also help each other out with different problems. I could be going through something that they might have already went through and vice versa, so it was a good group of people to be around. It was a blessing. We have an organic relationship between all of us. They're more like my cast brothers and sisters.
A photo posted by boogiedash (@boogiedash) on Jan 7, 2016 at 6:03pm PST
What are you hoping viewers learn about you from the show?
I want people to know that I'm not cocky or conceded, but I am confident though [laughs]. I'm not loud. My dad's very loud, but I'm not like him in every aspect. I can be loud when I want to be loud. I grew up privileged, but I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth and nothing was handed to me. There were things that were presented to me, but I had to take those things, flim them, and then use them to my advantage on my own. I want people to know that everybody starts at a bottom and some people's bottom look different than others. For instance, Donald Trump started off with a million dollars, while some people start off with no money. I started off in the middle, so nothing was given to me. I just want people to know that I'm human as well and I go through problems just like everyone else. You'll actually see me go through some problems on the show.
How would you describe the show in three words?
It's inspirational, relatable, and amazing. If I could add a fourth one, I would say it's knowledgeable.
Although you grew up in the public eye, did having cameras all around you in a reality TV setting make it harder for you to be yourself?
It was actually kind of normal, because my dad always has a camera around. He pretty much has the same camera that was used during the taping of the show, so it feels really normal. He has cameras on him all day, every day. I'll walk around with my girlfriend and he'll have the camera on her at all times, so the experience didn't make me nervous or act out of character. If anything, the big difference was being on camera with people I'm meeting for the first time versus being on camera with people I already know. It's all good though, nothing changed on my end.
Growing up in the public eye can have its perks, but there are also negative aspects of it. Were you ever the target of bullying solely because of your last name?
Well, I know how to fight so... [laughs]. But no, it all depends on how you look at it. Some people might think being in the press for everything you do could be a bad thing. I mean, I get in trouble every now and again, and it ends up in the paper. Some people might think that sucks, but I don't. If no ones talking about you, then you're not doing anything. Whether it's good or bad. So when I get the chance to speak to the press, I let them know the truth about the situation. After hearing my side, people usually change their views and realize that I'm a good kid who makes mistakes. They respect that and they realize I'm a human being who just happens to be the son of Dame Dash. So, it's fine with me if they keep talking about me, just as long as I get a turn to speak.
Entrepreneurialism must run through your blood, because you are taking on a lot of business all at once. Tackling everything from your own restaurant to your own record label. Will viewers get to see you engage in your various business ventures?
Yes, of course. Like I said earlier, this is like one big commercial for each and every one of us. So we got a chance to promote our businesses or whatever we were doing at that time. So yeah, you'll see things that I'm doing. I'm not going to say what I'm doing. You'll just have to tune in!
Did you ever feel like people didn't take you seriously when you began some of your businesses?
No, but I do think they were surprised to see me in all these corporate business meetings. It was not to only work for them, but to also work with them on a partnership so they could sell my stuff. I think they respected it, but they were also shocked. Also, I'm young. I'm younger than the average person trying to do what I'm doing. I know some people would actually try to test myself and my partners, because we're all young.
My business partner and friend, Luke Pascal, knows what I'm talking about. We conduct ourselves in such a manner that you have to show us respect. Our dads taught us very well and made sure that we knew not to allow anyone to walk all over us. We might be a small business, but we don't act like one. We have major businesses behind us and we're not to be played with.
A photo posted by boogiedash (@boogiedash) on Jul 31, 2015 at 10:39am PDT
What's the best advice you've received from you dad?
There's a couple of things. When I was young he told me, "hustle as hard as you can now, so that when you get my age you won't have to work as hard. It looks cooler for the younger people to do certain things." The next thing is, "don't ever let someone mess up your fun. One person could have your whole situation sunk under the water." I have experience with that. One of my friends did something really dumb and messed up everyone's night. So because he was being dumb, we all had to deal with the aftermath. I've even done it to myself.
He showed me the importance of having a tight circle, working, and out-hustling everybody. Even if nothing's happening, keep working. Don't stop. Every now and again you might get a fat check for no reason, just because you kept working when everyone else was chillin'.
Are there any special projects that you're woring on that you want fans to know about?
Yes, how much time do you have [laughs]? I have an album coming out this February called Arnold Palmer. You know how Arnold Palmer has the half-lemonade, half-iced tea drink? My album is going to be half electronic dance music and half hip hop. I'm very excited about it. I've been working on it for a long time now. I'm very hype. With that being said, I have a record label called All For One Records (AFO Records) and I have about four artists on there that I'm working with and we'll be putting out a bunch of singles this year. I'm super excited about that. It's not the average hip hop scene, I'm not doing hip hop. I'm doing EDM, because that's what I love. I love to go out, party, fist pump, throw my girl on my shoulders, and stuff like that.
A photo posted by boogiedash (@boogiedash) on Aug 15, 2015 at 10:10pm PDT
Have you been to Electric Daisy and other festivals like that?
I've been to Electric Zoo a handful of times. I DJed Camp Bisco a couple years back. I love DJing. I don't really want to go to those events anymore, because I want to DJ them. I made a promise to myself that I would not attend Ultra Music Festival or Coachella until I'm DJing there.
Any businesses outside of the music world?
As far as projects I'm working on that are non-music related, I'm still doing Chipz Cookies. We have a new concept where we're selling the ingredients in a mason jar. If you don't know any preservatives in your food, it will have a very short shelf life. By putting the ingredients in a mason jar, it allows for longer use of the product. It also gives you a chance to bake the cookies yourself. I can't even front, I didn't come up with that idea, my partner Luke did [laughs].
Also, my dad gave me the opportunity to run Dusko Blu wine and Dusko Whiskey. My dad and I are about to partner up on that.