Dame Dash & Lyor Cohen Beef: A Timeline Of Feud

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Ryan Leslie Performs at the Yellow Fever Party at Noel Ashman and Chris Noth's Nightclub NA
Lyor Cohen and Damon Dash during Ryan Leslie Performs at the Yellow Fever Party at Noel Ashman and Chris Noth's Nightclub NA at NA in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Djamilla Rosa Cochran/WireImage)
This decade-long beef doesn’t look like it’s letting up soon.

In the high-stakes world of the music industry, clashes between titans are not uncommon but rappers are not the only ones who engage in beef. Now and then, record executives also get down and dirty, starting and maintaining feuds. For example, one long-standing feud between industry giants surrounds the animosity between Dame Dash and Lyor Cohen.

Their beef spans several years and is a testament to the power struggles and egos that often define the business. Despite the passage of time, the feud between the two continues to cast a long shadow over the music industry. Even in 2024, shots have been fired, and it seems their beef won’t be ending anytime soon. Here’s a look at how it began and its timeline over the years.

2004: The Fallout

Before 2004, Dame Dash and Lyor Cohen were friends and business partners with a long history of working together. Alongside Jay-Z and Kareem Burke, Dame Dash founded Roc-A-Fella Records in 1994. In addition, Dash was also Jay-Z’s manager at the time. Cohen, on the other hand, was in charge of Def Jam Records. While Def Jam was under Cohen’s leadership, Roc-A-Fella signed a 50/50 partnership and distribution deal with the label in 1997. As a result of this partnership, Dame Dash and Lyor Cohen saw a lot of each other in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. However, in 2004, their relationship soured after Def Jam purchased Roc-A-Fella and positioned Jay-Z as the president of the iconic label. Since then, Dame Dash and Lyor Cohen have not been on the best of terms. However, they mostly kept things civil until much later when Dash took a shot at Cohen.

2014: Dame Dash Accuses Lyor Cohen Of Ruining Roc-A-Fella 

After the events of 2004, some fans believed there was some tension between Dame Dash and Lyor Cohen, especially because of the eventual fallout between Dash and Jay-Z. For a while, neither Dash nor Cohen did anything to confirm this suspicion. However, that changed in 2014 when Dash took a shot at Cohen. During an interview with Vlad TV in 2014, Dame Dash finally got a few things off his chest about Lyor Cohen. When he was asked about the record executive, Dash said, “I think he’s a fake CEO and I think he’s fronting on my culture but he can’t front on anybody else.”

He further stated, “I’m calling him out publicly and I want him to stop trying to rape my culture. Go make some money with some other people.” Driving home his impression of Cohen, Dash continued, “Never had a beef with Jay. Always with Lyor and his whole crew. He’s the one that ruined Roc-A-Fella. Lyor Cohen.”

2015: The Indirect Verbal Exchange Continues

During an appearance on the Rap Radar podcast in September 2015, Lyor Cohen addressed Dame Dash and his culture vulture allegations. “It actually doesn’t bother me. It would bother me if it came from a credible source. If it’s a credible source, then we can have a conversation and actually have a discussion. If someone thinks something about me that I may have done to offend them or hurt them or do something they misunderstand, then we’ll have a dialogue. We’ll communicate and get to an understanding and move on, or not. But I can’t give any light to that. It’s a clown right now,” Cohen said. 

Subsequently, Dash took to Instagram to respond to Cohen in a now-deleted Instagram post. “Just like a #CultureVulture won’t answer a direct question and gonna have the nerve to try to discredit a good positive man from our culture for telling the truth in an intelligent way... and still trying to convince us that we’re lucky to be getting robbed by him…they always try to make us think we are winning when we losing when they are trying to rob us …and he still can’t get a dollar from his own culture…I’m not credible?…. Who’s the clown?… And he’s like 70 still trying to get money off the rap game…nobody’s checking for that… The plantation game is over my culture is smarter then that these days…#HustleForYourLastNameFirst #CultureVulture the book coming soon @hip_hop_motivator let’s go! It’s time I’ve been waiting for him to speak after 6 months #nerd,” he wrote.  

2018: Lyor Cohen Says He Doesn’t Know Dame Dash

At this point, it was clear that Dash and Cohen were not fans of each other. Even during periods of silence and peace, there didn’t seem to be any hope for reconciliation between the two. On August 1, 2018, Lyor Cohen made an appearance on The Breakfast Club where he denied knowing Dame Dash. “Who’s Dame Dash? You brought him up. I don’t even know him. You bring his name up, I don’t even know him. I don’t know him. I don’t know what to tell you,” Cohen insisted after Charlamagne brought up Dash’s culture vulture comments. Subsequently, Dame Dash took to Instagram where he posted a photo featuring himself and Lyor Cohen. It was accompanied by a long caption in which Dash called Cohen a culture vulture once again.

Afterwards, on August 8, during an appearance on The Joe Budden Podcast, Dame Dash spoke further about Lyor Cohen. When Budden asked Dash what a culture vulture is and why Cohen is one, the music exec eagerly answered. “A culture vulture is someone that exploits the culture that he’s not a part of, doesn’t benefit the culture and takes care of his culture, and has no respect for the culture he’s exploiting,” he said. Furthermore, he explained, “And that’s why Lyor is one because he’s been making money off of our culture; he is not part of it, he’s been exploiting it. Never helping, teaching or anything, doing what’s in the best interest of his own pocket over the culture. And to add insult to injury, he is not accepted in his own culture. He cannot get no money in his own culture so he comes to ours, acts like a big cat, pretends we need him when we don’t.”

2023: More Accusations And Denials

On October 14, Lyor Cohen appeared on Drink Champs with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. Addressing Dash’s many accusations, N.O.R.E. asked the executive if he was indeed responsible for Dash and Jay’s fallout. Cohen’s response was, “Absolutely not. If Lyor was the reason, then they never were really together in the first place. Mic drop.” Despite Cohen’s vehement denial of being the reason Roc-A-Fella fell apart, Dash continued insisting that he played a significant part. During an interview on The CEO Show podcast, Dash claimed that Cohen convinced Jay to cut ties with him and Kareem Burke. “He’s the person that told Jay, ‘I’ll do a deal with you or without Dame Dash or Biggs [Kareem Burke].’ And he’s the one that advised him based on what Steve Stoute told me,” Dash said.

Additionally, Dash criticized N.O.R.E. for platforming Cohen without attempting to defend his name. "I just wish N.O.R.E., when he gets a Lyor Cohen and says that he's necessary for the culture—at least ask him why he would get on a Black platform that caters to us and say I don't exist," Dash said. "Just defend me a little, the way I defended him. I appreciate all the accolades he gives me so he always is my brother but when people say they love me, that shit don't feel like love to me.

2024: Dame Dash Calls Lyor Cohen Out For Allegedly Exploiting Young Thug

On March 2, 2024, Math Hoffa’s interview with Dame Dash on American Nu Network was uploaded on YouTube. In the interview, Dame Dash fired shots at Lyor Cohen again. This time, for allegedly taking advantage of Young Thug. “When I look at Young Thug, I’m like, Lyor and them just made a big check and he’s going to jail. They made money off his music,” Dame said. “So if they made money off that music and he’s in jail for that, then all that money they made off the music should not go to them. How do they get to get all that money and he has to get a jail cell?” he asked. 

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About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.