It appears JAY-Z's relationship with R. Kelly played a role in Roc-a-Fella's downfall.
In a recent interview with Kenyatta Griggs, Roc-a-Fella co-founder Dame Dash said he tuned into Surviving R. Kelly—the explosive three-night special that explores the unsettling sexual abuse allegations against the R&B singer. Dash told Griggs that the series wasn't easy to watch, as it evoked painful memories about Aaliyah.
Kelly allegedly married Aaliyah in 1994 when she was still underage. One of Kelly's backup singers also claims she witnessed a then-27-year-old Kelly having sex with then-15-year-old Aaliyah on a tour bus.
"I watched some of it yesterday, as much as I could tolerate," Dash said at around the 10-minute mark. "I'm not gonna lie, as a human, I was tight. I was tight about a couple things. Number one: There was a girl when she was even trying to talk about it and she couldn't, and I remember Aaliyah trying to talk about it and she couldn’t. She would just leave it at, 'That dude was a bad man.'
He continued: "I didn’t really want to know what he did, to the extent that I would, you know, deal with it because that's what a man does. But it was so much hurt for her to revisit it. I wouldn't want to revisit it without a professional. Whatever got done was terrible."
Dash and Aaliyah met in 2000 and continued to date until the singer's tragic death in 2001. Months after Aaliyah died, Kelly and JAY released The Best of Both Worlds, a collaborative album that Dash strongly opposed.
"If you remember The Best of Both Worlds, you don't see my name on that [...] I never wanted no part of that," the music mogul explained.
Dash said JAY knew about Kelly's alleged sexual abuse of young girls, including Aaliyah; however, that didn't stop his Roc-a-Fella co-founder from teaming up with the singer. Dash claims he refused to be credited on the album, and that he donated his profits to a breast cancer awareness organization Aaliyah supported.
"I know I'm not fuckin' with that [...] I knew, morally, we weren't the same," Dash said, referring to JAY. "So, to me, Roc-a-Fella was defunct. It was over. I couldn't fuck with it. It was something that, to me—I don't wanna say 'unforgivable,' but I couldn't understand it."
You can check out Dash's full interview above.
JAY was one of the celebrities who allegedly turned down an interview request for Surviving R. Kelly. The series' showrunner/executive producer dream hampton said John Legend was the only star who was willing to appear on camera. Dash applauded Legend for being willing to speak out.