Aaliyah’s former boyfriend Damon Dash has dished on more details about the late singer’s relationship with Jay-Z. The actor/record executive, who was dating the R&B singer from 2000 until her death in plane crash in August 2001, claimed in a recent interview that the Roc Nation founder was trying “very hard” to win her heart.
“He tried very hard,” Damon told Page Six of Jay’s effort to be with Aaliyah. “I did not know Jay was trying to holler at her, but then it just happened like that. He was trying, I was trying. Everybody was trying – he was going hard.”
Of how Aaliyah ended up with him instead of with Jay, Damon claimed, “I did not mean to fall in love with Aaliyah, she was just that cool. But you know, we were both going hard … everybody was trying to get to Aaliyah – it was not just Jay.”
He went on recounting, “She was just cool as hell … we would laugh … we never stopped hanging and that is what happened with her. There was never any obligation or any title … just liking being around somebody for who they are. I was not in love with Aaliyah through the television – I fell in love with her from hanging out and meeting her. She looked different than Aaliyah on the TV screen.”
In January of this year, producer Choke No Joke, who worked at Roc-A-Fella Records with Damon, told The Starr Report that Damon came in between Jay and Aaliyah. “Dame went behind [Jay-Z’s] back and hollered at [Aaliyah],” Choke said.
While he didn’t admit that he ruined Jay’s chance to be with Aaliyah, Damon admitted that Jay pursued Aaliyah first. “I was going at her, and Jay was going at her,” he told Hip-Hop-Motivation. “He knew her before I did.”
He explained, “It was just a situation where Aaliyah was the type of girl that would give you a shot. She didn’t care what people thought or whatever. So, she’ll date you and be your friend. You might end up in the friend zone. A lot of times, that’s what happened. You weren’t just going to hit that. At least in my experience. Somebody may have had a different experience at a different time in her life.”
Jay-Z was among the mourners at Aaliyah’s funeral service on August 31, 2001. He would later date Beyonce Knowles and married her in April 2008.