Damon Dash‘s band The Black Guns and Freeway have released the music video for “365,” the lead single and title track from the pair’s forthcoming collaborative album arriving in early 2024.
Directed by Dash and executive produced by Wesley Barnett, the visual finds the band Freeway and Dash jamming from the studio to the stage, with Free manning the mic and Dash fronting his group mates. Produced by The Black Guns, “365” is powered by live instrumentation and fuses rock and Hip-Hop, resulting in a sound the mogul and entrepreneur first helped ingratiate to Hip-Hop over a decade ago.
In addition to his prominence within rap circles, Dash famously delved into the indie-rock realm with his BlakRoc venture and helped discover The Black Keys in the late ’00s. After releasing a critically-acclaimed compilation album in 2009, BlakRoc has since been envisioned into BluRoc with Dame joining in on the fun as The Black Guns’ lead singer.
According to Dash, the sound he and the band are looking to bring to the forefront consists of elements from two worlds that have brought him joy and success as an executive. “I wouldn’t categorize it as rap or Rock, it’s like rock-soul,” he exclusively told VIBE on the phone. “But again, if we’re gonna put some work on the street, it’s gotta be a drug no one ever got high off before. That’s what Roc-A-Fellas really do.”
Nearly three decades after cofounding the iconic record label, the Harlem native is now looking to restore the feeling fostered by him and his cohorts. One of his first moves in that quest is to align himself with former Roc-A-Fella artist Freeway, who costars alongside Dash and The Black Guns throughout 365. Damon Dash says that witnessing the strength and grace Freeway displayed in the midst of his medical issues and personal tragedy prompted him to bridge that gap and bring the Islamic emcee into the fold.
“I saw how he was becoming a general over there at State Property, plus doing all the stuff with the schools,” Dash recalled. “And it was like ‘Let’s do a project.’ That’s the Roc-A-Fella sh*t I’m talking ’bout. So in spirit, I just was like ‘Roc-A-Fella ain’t gonna ever gonna die, it’s just when I feel like doing something.’ And we’re rock stars, so we ain’t gonna come back and do no old sh*t. We’re older, we’re gonna come back and do what we do. This is what rock stars look like. We fight for education and sh*t, we deal with adversity and we’re still here. And that’s Roc-A-Fella/State Property. That’s what it is, so this is that.”
Freeway, who released his solo debut Philadelphia Freeway in 2003, also spoke on linking up with his former boss for his latest venture. “Reconnecting and collaborating with Dame has been a true honor and delight. From the moment we reconnected, it felt as if no time had passed at all. I want to give a special shout-out to OSG for facilitating our connection. Together, we embarked on a new educational journey, and it’s truly inspiring to witness the incredible progress we’ve made. Stay tuned for our exciting rock ‘n’ roll project that promises to be nothing short of amazing.”
As for 365, the 52-year-old revealed the album is already completed after recording it over the course of five days during the State Property member’s visit to his Florida compound. “The album’s done,” Dash declared, emphatically. “I got a studio [that’s] like a movie studio, but it’s a music studio in it. Freeway came through for five days, [recorded with] me and my band. We did 10 records and we shot the [“365″] music video.”
The industry veteran also said 365‘s rollout will include curriculum, a film documenting the creation of the album, what he describes as a “very interesting” television show, and possibly, a movie. “The movie is gonna be a zombie movie I’m doing called Dead Weight,” Dash explained before detailing the sheer scale of the project, which will include up to eight verticals.
“So that music’s gonna be in that. And it’s on BluRoc, so BluRoc is a music vertical of the Dash Group. And I got the America Nu Network.”Dash anticipates that each month in 2024 will mark a new development, including a tour that may be announced in the first quarter of 2024. As for the 365 documentary, it will be released close to the actual album and will show the step-by-step process of how the music, accompanying visuals, merchandise, and additional media and assets were created by Dash and his team.
“If you look at the podcast, that’s out now, we did that while we were making it,” he said of the documentary, which will be released via America Nu Network. “So we did two podcasts, we did a live performance. Designed all the merch, did the photo shoot and did the cover shoot for VIBE in five days and also taped every second.”
Another thread within the fabric that brought Dash, Freeway, The Black Guns, and 365 together was the Off School Grounds (OSG), a nonprofit organization that’s “dedicated to advancing ethical leadership practices within schools and communities,” according to its website. When asked about the overarching theme of the album and what we can expect, Dash referenced the OSG, explained similarities in each’s endgame, and shared what he hopes to instill with this project.
“This is to teach people how to dream,” said the Hip-Hop legend. “I would say education and dreaming because the OSG brought us together so that’s what inspired us. So if you hear what we’re saying, ‘365’ is about working on your dream 365, 24/7. And when you have a dream, you hustle 365, 24/7 on your joint. And then you have records that’s about dreaming.
“And then there’s some remixes of his old records, we made about two or three of those. But overall, it was just us getting together, getting with a band and just seeing what we would make and we literally made ten records in five days. Videos and merch, everything. When you focus and you’re doing something you love and you’re doing something for the right reasons, everything falls together.”