“My name is Damien Harding, son of Elaine V. Davis and Rahn Harding. I have 1 sister Rahlaina Harding, 3 half sisters Tia and Rohnetta Evans and Siobhan Harding and one half brother Cameron Thomas. As a young child I lived with my mom and my sister Rahlaina. My father left at an early age. It was me and my mom and my sister with my grandparents. We were a tight nit family. My mother worked long strenuous hours at a hospital to provide for me and my sister. We were raised by my grandmother and grandfather. I have 3 uncles Shield Davis Jr., Carlton Davis and Stanley Davis. I also have 2 aunts Dinah Davis and Evelyn Davis. They all helped raise me. My mother’s ex-boyfriend, Rod Harris was like a father to me. My biological father was there financially when I could get in touch with him but it was Rod who was there. He really stepped up. My uncle Stanley was also like my father and my mentor. He schooled me in life and life in the ghetto. I learned a lot from him and when he passed away I felt hopeless. My sister Rahlaina was like a mother to me as well. She looked out for me. We are inseparable. She’s always there. In grade school I was a very book smart kid. I would make honor roll without trying. In the second grade I scored 2nd highest in the country on a math exam. In junior high things started to change. I got into the streets. In the 7th grade I was into the streets so much, I failed that grade. At that point I was so busy stealing cars, robbing, and selling drugs I was going to school but I stopped caring about it. I made it to the 9th grade and in the 9th grade I robbed a store and went to jail at15 years old. If I would have been 16 I would have been tried as an adult. I did my time in jail and got my GED. I got out of jail and returned to the streets. The streets were my life. At the age of 17 I had my first child and that made the situation even worse because that was my justifiable reason for me to say: “I’ll do whatever I have to for money.” Crime was my full time job. I had jobs here and there, but my money really came from the streets. I grew up in Chester Pa. I was poor but was considered middle class. I was into the streets heavy drug dealing and robbing. I use to the pass time waiting for sales and rapping. I never took it seriously but all the local drug dealers would say I have incredible rap skills. Back then I use to look for a name to fit me. I called myself Damon D and D.P.T. I got that name Dame The Great when a woman I had sex with said I was great in bed and called me Dame The Great. That was my name from then on.
After being tired of being locked up, I started taking rap a little more serious. When I was incarcerated, the inmates used to ask me to rap because the word got around from the streets that I was good. Once I finally rapped, the inmates in jail started to say that I was the best in jail. The guards in the prison started asking me to rap once they heard how good I was. It got to the point when other rappers was on different blocks and the guards found out that they were rappers they would take me to the their blocks or let them come to my block so that they could see us battle. After a while people were betting. The guards were betting guards and the inmates were betting each other all over my battles. I never lost a battle in jail. Guards and inmates used to say I was crazy for having all that talent and not doing anything with it. They called me a fool. At that point I vowed to take rap more serious to a few inmates who believed in me since they would never get the chance to see the streets again.
I was a part of a few local rap groups like the Pyramid which was a group of childhood friends from my neighborhood and then it was the Empiya better known as the E. These were people that were serious about rap. This is where I was introduced to beat making and learning the equipment. Then it was BestCore, which were people who were even more serious about rap and this is where I really started perfecting my flow and really learning the part of producing. This is where Dame The Great, the pro rapper/producer was born. Then it was NeverBroke records. They were even more serious than any other crew that I had been with. My cousin Eazy is the CEO of NeverBroke records. They made moves. Then it was Take Down Records. This company is where rap became my full time job. In the studio everyday and doing shows like crazy. I paid my dues. Now it’s just me… Dame The Great!!!, a solo artist. Everything I’ve been through from the streets to the jail, in the groups, on the labels, it was all a learning process. These are the things that reflect in my music. I speak from the heart, from past experiences. My music is a reflection of my life, successes, failures, goals that I’ve reached and goals I haven’t reached yet. My music is short films, scenes from my life, and the lives of my closest friends and peers. Triumphs and short comings… the harsh reality of life in the ghetto.”
Damien Harding (born on February 15, 1978) known to fans, peers, family, and friends as Dame The Great has been in the hip-hop game since 1992. Having started his career as a DJ spinning music at house parties and local clubs his desire quickly evolved from playing music to making music as a rapper. Under the influence of the hip-hop legends like Big Daddy Kane and Slick Rick he has formulated a rap-style that transcends the characteristics of hard-core lyrics infused with wisdom, precision and a twist of wit. Usually leaving listeners with brows raised and invoking the verbal reaction……”Damn!”
In the 1990’s Great along with a childhood friend formed the group Black Hood Assassins. From that union under the label BestCore they composed the CD Behind Struggle Comes Reward featuring the underground hits: Blackhoodz 2000, Decisions and 4 Minutes. Dame would go on to collaborate with the hip-hop group Wu Tang Killa Army and composed the mix tape titled My World under the Empiya label. Another collaboration followed which was produced independent of any label. The CD was titled The Great Majestic Worlds, produced by Dame The Great and Dame Majestic. The CD featured the following hit titles: I Wanna Live and Dame The Great. Continuing to increase his exposure and to network abroad, Great appeared yet on another CD titled Streets Incorporated under the label Take Down Records. This was a compilation of various artist featuring the sole single hit Backdown performed by Dame. In addition to his aforementioned work Dame The Great has composed various mix-tapes under the Take Down and Never Broke labels as well as been featured as a special guest artist on numerous DJ’s mix-tapes from the tri-state area. His latest creation Crack-Packaged With the Intent to Deliver was completed in 2010. The CD was written, produced, performed, arranged, engineered and mixed solely by Great. Featuring the hit video single and club banger I Choose You, Dame shows off his versatility and lets you know he can spit the hits for the club too.
In addition to creating music Dame has performed as the opening act for the following venues:
- Hip Hop Explosion 2002 – guest included Jay-Z, State Property, Pharrel, The Clipse, Beanie Sigel, Lil Mo, and Fabolous.
This show was actually referred to as a history in the making by Dame Dash himself because it was the first time all the members of Roc-a-Fella Records were all performing at the same venue.
- Stop The Violence 2010, Power 99 WUSL Philadelphia– guest included Sean Paul and Mario.
- Stop The Violence 2009, Power 99 WUSL Philadelphia- guest included Rob Base and various old school hip hop artists.
Dame The Great continues to make his footprint in the industry. His music is a reflection of and greatly influenced by life experiences. That experience in turn is comingled with creativity and versatility to bring forth his unique delivery of powerful lyrics. Whether your preference is to bump your music and nod your head or kick it in the club Great can bring it. Looking over his career from the beginning through the present he has clearly and continues to establish himself as a capable, motivated, polished, solo rap artist. His progression from then until now is indicative of continued success and the expectation of Great things to come.