AllHipHop.com: You and Benzino created The Source together. Was that something purposely you guys wanted to do to keep that under wraps?
Dave Mays: Yes. Yes it was.
AllHipHop.com: I guess what—why the decision to finally have it announced when it came out that he was cofounder with you as well as the chief brand—
Dave Mays: Executive.
AllHipHop.com: What was the decision that changed that strategy?
Dave Mays: Well you know I think again for a long time we felt it wasn’t really anybody’s business what Ray and I’s relationship was. His first love is music and Hip-Hop which is why he continues to make music and put out music because he loves it and that’s what his passion in life to do. And he happens to be good at it; gotten a lot better at it and makes great music now. So that’s his passion. My passion was to build this business and voice for Hip-Hop called The Source and that’s what my passion in life became. We were best friends and supported each other and worked together on both sides of our passions and our business. And it made sense for people to think of him as okay he’s an artist and a produce and a record label executive. He had his own label in 1986; don’t know too many other people that could say that. He had his own record company in 1986. Not too many people out there that could say that. And I was The Source and it made sense.
But over the years it just created lots of different situations. It was always, it was basically exploited by people who like Reggie Dennis and anyone else, who had an agenda against The Source or against Dave and Ray. And Dave and Ray being successful and them not being successful. Dave and Ray built an incredible thing. It was over 17 years from nothing. Dave and Ray are respected around the world. Dave and Ray are respected from corporate executives of the biggest Fortune 500 companies to the average person on the street, any hood in America.
AllHipHop.com: Right. What in particular do you think that they were exploiting?
Dave Mays: Again they exploit— they use Ray as a scapegoat. They choose Ray and try to blame him for things and exploit that perception to make it seem and use that as a way to try to damage what Ray and Dave do. Ray and Dave are best friends and business partners for almost 20 years. Again, there’s not too many examples of that out there. Okay, Ray and Dave are examples of what’s great about hip hop. Ray and Dave are examples of a White, Jewish kid from a middle class neighborhood in Washington who meets a street kid from Roxbury, Massachusetts, the hood of Boston, through the love of Hip-Hop. That’s the relationship between Dave and Ray. So again whenever people go out and try to put forth these other perceptions or try to take advantage of any kind of confusion that people may have as to how does Dave and Ray get along and—I don’t know what it is but—
AllHipHop.com: What about those allegations that like it was Benzino using you or the magazine. He reportedly called you a Hitler at one point.
Dave Mays: That’s bulls**t. Again that’s the creative writing side. Again that’s Reggie Dennis for 12 years of his life having nothing to do but dream up these different stories that he can write about and try to make people think something because he’s a bitter, disgruntled fool. You know what I mean? It’s pretty obvious.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think—what about his assertion that your friendship with Benzino has cost you in your personal life?
Dave Mays: My friendship with Benzino has cost me in my personal life. It sounds like a weird, unclear statement. We’re friends. Again if you understand what a friend is the definition of friend is like you know you go through things. You go through s**t together. Thick, thin, good, bad, friends stick together. That’s what friends and business partners do. So as far as I’m concerned my friendship has brought me great things. I’m very happy. The Source is the most powerful voice and media and entertainment company for Hip-Hop in the world. We got great things happening. We got Source Latino launching, we have Source 5.0 launching, we have this huge expansional Source Awards weekend coming up this year, the major boxing event over Source weekend in Miami along with the awards. Man, I mean we’re doing our first movie right now this summer we’ll be filming. It’s accomplished a lot and it’s worked.
AllHipHop.com: So again going to the Dave and Ray and the information that appeared in the article – Benzino holding a gun to your head.
Dave Mays: A lie. Another creative writing experiment of Reginald Dennis.
AllHipHop.com: Certainly with Benzino being on the cover of the magazine and him being a co-owner of the magazine, do you see that as a conflict of interest? And if not, how do you see that?
Dave Mays: Let’s see, I mean first of all Benzino is a widely respected figure across the globe. In any city, any country around the world Benzino is widely known and widely respected. So the fact that he would get covered or that people would have an interest in reading what he had to say should be not a questions and therefore justifies why he would be on a cover ever or be covered in the magazine. And for the record he was on one-fourth of a cover [with Nas, Jadakiss, and Suge Knight]. One time in 17 years so I think that pretty much sums it up. So that’s why there’s a perception because for whatever the reason people like Reginald Dennis have nothing better in their lives to do for years and years of their lives than to be obsessed with Dave and Ray success and be bitter that they’re not a part of the success that we’ve had and are continuing to have.
AllHipHop.com: Right. But you do think, certainly with your magazine and it having a strong brand, that the view of Benzino as a villain or the view of The Source lacking the credibility it once had, do you see that as a problem for the business?
Dave Mays: No. No because The Source has more credibility that it’s ever had. The Source has built such a stronger foundation in the community over the past three years through Benzino’s and The Source’s actions. The fact that we have been willing to sacrifice millions of dollars from our business in the name of trying to promote the rights of minorities, of poor people in our inner cities, Black people, Latin people, young Black and Latin men in particular, that are an endangered species, damn near, in our society; the fact that we’ve been willing to stand up for those peoples’ rights and take millions of dollars in losses in the course of it has earned us even more respect and more credibility despite what anyone who may not really understand Hip-Hop well enough to really know what’s going on. But eventually, the truth comes out; it just takes time sometimes. But I’m not saying anything but the truth.
AllHipHop.com: What about the relationship with your staff in general? He made the claims that it went through bad times then there was certainly the walk-out with the one staff, and that he mentioned that the staff has to do what you tell them. Would you say that in general have this tension with the staff that you have at the magazine?
Dave Mays: No. I’ve got a great staff. I love and respect my staff and I think they do the same for me.
AllHipHop.com: So what about the situation currently going on with the lawsuit between you and Kim Osorio. And I understand you can’t because of the lawsuit you can’t go into great detail, but you mentioned that you have proof of her basically sleeping with other rappers. Is that correct?
Dave Mays: I never mentioned that no. I never mentioned that, but yes she did. She did. She slept with a bunch of rappers; if you’re asking me, yes.
AllHipHop.com: And if you’re gonna, again I don’t know how much you are able to speak, but if you’re gonna counter sue her, I maybe wrong, I thought there was an article that mentioned you or maybe Benzino perhaps mentioned that you have proof of that, that she did that. So how would you know that she’s done it?
Dave Mays: I can’t really get into that.
AllHipHop.com: And so again, going back to the article that appeared on line, nothing—what about the allegations that the members of Benzino circles have physically threatened you or harmed you?
Dave Mays: Complete lies and falsehoods.
AllHipHop.com: And what—has there ever been a moment when an ex-employee of The Source has went on or perhaps they didn’t start another magazine but you still had a good relationship with them?
Dave Mays: Yeah, there’s plenty of people who’ve left The Source and gone on and I’ve still got good relationships with, yeah.
AllHipHop.com: Lastly, the future of The Source, because the way Reginald Dennis painted it was that it has less than a year left because of the financial situation.
Dave Mays: Right. okay, last time I checked Reginald Dennis doesn’t have anything to do with the financial operations of The Source so he’s not really in the position to make much of a judgment about that. Unfortunately again, Reginald Dennis is entirely wrong. Sorry buddy, The Source will be here forever.
AllHipHop.com: It’s completely in your hands? Not for sale?
Dave Mays: Not for sale. Ray and Dave own and run The Source along with our partners at Black Enterprise.
For a longer version of this interview, click here.