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Table of Contents Preface..............................................................................................................1 Introduction........................................................................................................2 Dr Dre................................................. Dre............................................................................. ....................................................... ................................... ........6 6 Dre’s Success Success Strategies ...................................................... ................................................................................12 ..........................12 P. Diddy........................ Diddy .................................................... ....................................................... .......................................................15 ............................15 Diddy’s Success Strategies ....................................................... .............................................................................24 ......................24 Jay-Z ....................................................... ................................................................................... ...................................................... ............................ ..26 26 Jay-Z’s Success Strategies ..................................................... .............................................................................31 ........................31 Eminem ..................................................... ............................................................................... ......................................................34 ............................34 Eminem’s Success Strategies ..................................................... .........................................................................41 ....................41 50 Cent........................................... Cent....................................................................... ........................................................ ..................................... .........43 43 50 Cent’s Success Strategies................................... Strategies............................................................... ....................................... ...........50 50 Secrets Revealed – The 8 Success Strategies You Can Steal From the Hip Hop Masters .................................................. .....................................................................52 ...................52 Resources ................................................... ............................................................................... ....................................................59 ........................59 Info ................................................... ............................................................................... ...................................................... ................................... .........61 61
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Preface This book is not really about what you see in the introduction – it’s not about Dr. Dre, Eminem or any other of the HipHop Millionaires. This book is a how-to book. How to set goals, how to overcome obstacles, how to achieve your dreams, how to make a difference in the world. There are lots of bright young people out there with great potential – but they don’t use it. There are many reasons why, and lots of people have lots of opinions about the root causes. We don’t care about “why” it’s that way. We care about how to change it. Inspiration is the spark that can start a fire, and this book is full of inspiration. Maybe you’re one of these young bright people who’s reading this right now. Maybe you know one of these young bright people. Ever wonder why these kids don’t listen to “common sense”? Well, for some people “common” means: poverty, drugs, violence and injustice. The secrets revealed in this book are not new. They’ve been around as long as human societies existed. But in every society only a small percentage of people knew of these secrets and made use of them: Successful people. Powerful people. Rich people. People that made a difference in the world (good or bad, but they did!). Usually these lessons are handed down from parents to the kids, that’s why you find so many families that have great power and wealth since many generations already. And then there are always some people who make it on their own – they just start with a burning desire, make lots of mistakes, learn from experience and figure these lessons out by themselves. This book is about these people and about the lessons that brought them from the streets to the top of the mountain. What you have in your hands here is powerful knowledge. But it’s not enough to put it in your head. It does you no good if you just know it. In order to achieve your goals and realize your dreams you’ll have to USE THIS KNOWLEDGE!
Introduction In a music industry once dominated by rock and roll, rap and hip-hop stars have risen to unprecedented power, fame and wealth. In the United States, both rap and hip hop are growing at an unbelievable rate. The genres are growing more than any other type type of music. In 1998, of the $12.3 billion billion music sales, hip hop and rap represented more than 10% of the total sales (http://www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/HIPHOP.HTML http://www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/HIPHOP.HTML). ). The explosion of the genre can be attributed to the commercial success of several rappers like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called Quest and Outkast. The musical art form has permeated almost every aspect of Western culture from language to style, especially with the youth. There is a whole hip hop culture, and it evolved from rap music. Hip-hop History and Culture
The hip-hop genre began in the 1970s in the streets, basements, and house parties of New York. The sound was characterized by funky beats and rhythm. It evolved out of African oral tradition, and other genres of music like rock’n’roll and the blues. In the mid mid 1970s rap began to explode out of the Bronx. An entire hip-hop culture of urban black youth was evolving and it included DJs scratching, breakdancing, and graffiti. It was a new form of artistic and poetic expression, straight from the streets. Commercial hip-hop and rap’s evolution really started with the release of Sugar Hill’s Hill’s “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. It was a huge hit for the group, and they enjoyed enormous success based on the song. Soon, people really began to take notice of rap music. Its message was clear: rage from the urban black youth population toward the system and the police. police. Rap was full of of stories about what was going on in the streets and neighborhoods: lots of crime, violence and drugs. It was rebellion rebellion against the attitude attitude that America held for the urban youth population. Rap music represented a way for the youth to express their discontent with the way they viewed the system that seemed to
control them. It was a platform for expression and it’s popularity kept on growing. The success of “Rapper’s Delight” helped push rap into the mainstream. The music industry finally began taking notice of the rap phenomenon. Even other industries like the press and film film industry were interested. The face of popular culture was changing; hip-hop was not to be a flash in the the pan. Other artists such as Fats Boys, Whoodini, and most famously, famously, Run DMC started gaining mainstream success. It was clear that rap and hip-hop were here to stay; the potential for development of the rap and hip-hop style of music seemed endless. Today, an entire culture culture has developed out of hip-hop. This is evident is the influence the music genre has had on language, style, fashion, tends, and behavior. In less than 40 years, rap and hip-hop music have permeated the culture of North America, and its influence continues to grow throughout the world. Our Focus
There several artists on the scene today who have become hip hop success stories. The purpose of this eBook is is to introduce these artists and to explore how they became so successful, so that you can learn powerful strategies for success in your life! These artists did not simply climb to the top of their game by sheer luck. They worked hard and they started out slowly. It wasn’t easy for a single one of them. However, they they don’t all share the same story. There are similar aspects to each of their success strategies, but the artists all approached their art form from a different direction. With those strategies, extreme determination and a little bit of luck, these artists have become the best-known names in the hip hop industry. The strategies employed by these artists are varied. First, a strategy common to every successful hip hop artist is hard work and In terms of gaining credibility , rappers use persistence . techniques like networking, performing on the underground circuit, releasing free mix compilations on the street, and entering rapping contests.
Most hip hop artist and rappers engage in a lot of self promotion . If you’re an unknown on the scene, most people are unwilling to take a chance on you until they’ve heard you and decided they like your sound. Self-promotion is unrelenting. It involves using every single opportunity to get your name out there. Once other people begin to take notice of an up-and-coming artist, other strategies begin to come into effect. A great strategy to use at this point, if possible is celebrity endorsement . This is sort of like mentoring. Those who are already successful in the industry are always looking for fresh new talent. Finding a mentor who will promote you goes a really long way to cementing your credibility as an artist. These types of affiliations also lead to networking. The more people you know, and the more people know you and start to recognize you, the better your chances of success become. After enjoying a certain amount of success, strategies for success tend to evolve into strategies for gaining and increasing wealth . Making investments outside of the music industry has become a very popular strategy for successful hip hop artist. Creating clothing lines and opening restaurants and nightclubs are good examples of this type of diversification. In addition to putting their assets into other ventures, some rappers also take on different roles . Acting is a popular role for rappers to cross into, either playing themselves, taking on main roles, or making cameo appearances in films, television and even video games. Taking on different different roles is a success strategy for a number of reasons; it shows versatility and talent in the hip hop star; they gain credibility in their field; and most importantly, it gives them access to a wider fan base. However, these different success strategies are not enough on their own. Becoming successful and achieving goals requires a strong work ethic and real drive . There’s got to be passion involved, and emerging artists must be prepared to take rejection over and over again. It’s just the nature of the business. You definitely definitely can’t quit after one failure; it takes persistence to make it big. The artists portrayed in the following pages are prime examples of how to become successful. They worked hard, employed various strategies and are currently reaping the rewards of
their success. These stars are: Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent . The strategies that will be discussed in this book are very valuable tools for achieving success. Coupled with talent, hard work, work, dedication and drive, these strategies will take a career that is just starting out to the next level.
Dr Dre André Young, born February 18, 1965, in South Central, LA, is one of today’s most recognized names in the rap industry, as well as in the entire music industry. industry. He is a pioneer in his genre, basically introducing gangsta rap and his own personal version of the sound called G-Funk. He is also attributed with changing the image of hip hip hop. He is perhaps most famous famous for his producing skills skills and has lead several other rappers to success. An extremely successful man, Dr Dre has had numerous accomplishments in both the music and film industries. Between 1987 and 1999, Dre released 12 albums, receiving much critical acclaim and mainstream acceptance for the album “The Chronic” in 1992. In 1999, he released “Dr. Dre 2001”, which garnered a lot of airplay and boosted his fame even further. He has also appeared on or produced over 20 compilations and soundtracks. Most famously, he discovered Eminem, making him famous by promoting him and producing his albums. Awards and Credits
Dr Dre also has awards to his credit. In 1995 he won an MTV Music Video Award for the the hit single “Keep their heads Ringin”. In 2001, he became the very first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for Producer of the Year. In addition, Rolling Rolling Stone Magazine voted him th the 54 Greatest Rock‘n’Roll Artist of all time. Dre also has an impressive filmography, including credits for acting, writing, producing, composing, directing, miscellaneous crew, and for appearing as himself. There are dozens and dozens of films listed in his filmography. With so many credentials, accomplishments, and awards, it’s no wonder Dr Dre is so successful. He has so much experience in the music and film industry that his credibility is rock solid. You don’t get much more impressive than Dr Dre. Dre’s early albums were violent and dark, but contained a cautionary tone about criminal activity and gang violence. Later, in his records with NWA, Dr Dre would change his style, creating gangsta rap and gangsta-funk. In these albums he celebrated the
dark side of gangster life, reveling in the violence, cruelty and death that are the constant companions of a gangster. Dre got his start in the early eighties as a DJ at a Los Angeles nightclub called Eve After Dark. All of this was happening during the birth of the west coast hip-hop movement. He found himself performing on stage at clubs as well as house parties around South Central Los Angeles, usually accompanied by the World Class Wreckin’ Wreckin’ Cru. Born André, he started calling himself Dr Dre (a nickname-short fro André) and wore a surgical mask while performing. He met Ice Cube in 1986, and the two became immediate friends, writing and performing together. They started writing songs and lyrics for a label called Ruthless Records, which had been started by a former drug dealer named Eazy-E. Despite their collaborative efforts, Dr Dre and Ice Cube could not seem to to find any measurable success. The public was just not buying what they had to offer. It seemed like like a desperate situationthe two MCs could not make any money, and therefore had a difficult time making a living. The Birth of NWA
The situation came to a head when one of the groups signed to Ruthless Records, HBO, refused to use a song that Dre and Ice Cube had written. The 2 angry MCs, along with Eazy-E, decided to form their own group called NWA (Niggaz With Attitude) and signed with Priority. Along with group newcomers M.C. Ren and DJ Turner, NWA released its first album in 1987. Two years later, the group dropped its second album called “Straight Outta Compton”. The album was distributed by the Priority Records label, and the album was a huge hit on the underground music scene. It was a hit despite any support from the press, radio or MTV, which at the time, didn’t even air rap videos. It was a triumph for the group, and it showed that hip-hop hip-hop was on the rise despite the lack of help from mainstream radio and record producers.
The hit album was incredibly violent, containing vicious and misogynistic lyrics. It was pure gangsta rap. NWA soon became infamous for their lyrics, and were heavily criticized for a song called “Fuck Tha Police”. The song hit a nerve with the FBI, who actually sent a warning message to both Ruthless and Priority. This was to be the first of several encounters Dre would have with the police. When the group was at its peak, Ice Cube suddenly left NWA. The departure was related to disagreements over finances with Dre. Without any warning, Dre found himself in charge of the music. In 1992, despite the huge success of the group, Dre decided to leave NWA and go out on his own. He felt he was being underpaid and undervalued, which was probably true since he had produced 7 of the 8 albums that NWA had put out. Thrown Into Producing and the Creation of Death Row
He decided to co-found his own label, Death Row Records, with Suge Knight. However, the NWA had a huge problem with Dre breaking his contract. It’s reported that in order to get Dre out of the contract, Knight threatened NWA’s manager at gunpoint to release Dre from his contract. Dre didn’t find out for some time how he had gotten out of his contract. But it didn’t matter to him. All that mattered was making music and rapping. Soon after, Dre discovered, through his step-brother WarrenG, Snoop Dogg. Snoop and Dre would go on to become close friends, and Snoop was a big contributor on Dre’s first solo album, “The Chronic”. Released in 1992, with a title referring to marijuana, it was the debut of Dre’s elastic G-funk sound. It was a smash hit. Not only did it receive critical acclaim, but it also became a massive commercial success. Hit singles like “Dre Day” and “Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang” ensured that the album stayed on the Billboard charts for 8 months. After the success of “The Chronic”, Dre turned his attention to producing. Death Row Records was doing phenomenally well thanks to artists like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Dre produced Snoop Doggy Dogg’s four times platinum Doggystyle, which debuted at number 1 on the charts, as well as producing and appearing in 2pac’s “California Love”.
The success of the 2Pac and Snoop Dogg catapulted Dr Dre to the top of the industry. industry. His successful collaboration with 2Pac on “California Love” proved that he was a major force to be reckoned with. Dre was on top of the world. His producing career was really taking off, and he was working with big names. He really didn’t need to be making any more solo albums because he was rising fast as a producer. He was dictating dictating the direction direction of Death Row Records and discovering new talent. An Eye For Talent
Dre had quite an eye for talent. He could recognize in others what he himself had. There are lots of big stars today, including Snoop Dogg and Eminem, who owe their success to Dr Dre. Throughout his career, Dr Dre seems to have rooted through the thousands of wanna-be rap stars and found the really talented ones. Or maybe it’s just that that he has the Midas Touch. However he does it, Dre’s eye for talent is probably the biggest reason for his success, both as an artist and as a producer. He has spent his career building himself up, by building up others around him. By choosing who he works with and who he will promote, Dre has shaped the rap music industry. He did this from the very start, during his time at Death Row, and also subsequently. During his time at Death Row, Dre orchestrated several soundtracks including ‘Murder Was The Case’ and ‘Above the Rim’. In addition to producing “Doggystyle”, he was also at the fore front of hit records like Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, “Natural Born Killaz”- a reunion with Ice Cube, and Warren G’s “Regulate”. Although Dre released no new solo records during this time, he was already busy enough churning out big stars. You couldn’t listen to mainstream hip-hop without hearing something related to Dr Dre. Many of his peers in the industry were mimicking his sound; he had become the prime influence of his day. Breaking Out on His Own Although everything seemed to be going really well at Death Row Records, Dre was becoming frustrated with Knight’s overbearing ways. In addition, it seemed no one had any time for Dre. The label was putting all of its energy into promoting Tupar
Shakur’s debut album called “All Eyez on Me”. Snoop was out of the the game for awhile, trying to recover from the ordeal of his murder trial. Finally, Dre was so fed up with what was going on, he left Death Row Records, declaring that gangsta rap was dead. In the summer of 1996 he formed the label Aftermath Entertainment. In retrospect, Dre was very shrewd in leaving Death Row. Soon after he left, tragedy struck: both 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G. were murdered. The deaths put an end to the East Side versus West Side hip-hop war that had been raging. To top itit off, Suge Knight was later arrested on racketeering charges and sent to jail to serve his sentence. It represented the demise of Death Row. Sharp Business Instincts
Dre’s business instincts are sharp. His gut instinct told him that he should leave Death Row before it collapsed. Dre realized that gangsta rap was on the the decline. Why put more resources into something that won’t have any returns in a few years? He recognized that it was time to move on and change with the times. Being flexible, like Dr Dre, is absolutely necessary to surviving and prospering in the music industry. It is essential to be in tune with with the marketplace and anticipate changes. You cannot sit back and expect things to to go along along as they always have. The nature of the music industry is dynamic. If you want to be successful, getting getting left behind isn’t an option. Dre realized that the era of gangsta rap was coming to an end. It takes a humble person to realize that something he has created and pioneered is no longer a viable form of music to make money with. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Dre pulled himself up by the bootstraps and chose to carry on. That is true flexibilityflexibility- a key ingredient for success. A New Beginning – Life After Gangsta Rap
Therefore, acting as an insightful businessman, Dre decided to start fresh at Aftermath. The move to the new label proved a smart one. Dre released 2 albums: a compilation CD that didn’t do very well, and a solo album, “Dr Dre 2001” which did well. However, Dre decided to stick to the strategy for success that had worked for
him for many years. He was still searching for new talent to develop. He found what he was looking for in Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem. Dre helped to make Eminem a star and produced his albums, which he also appeared on. After not making much noise for a few years, Dre had made his comeback in a big way. Dr Dre also used the strategy is diversifying into other areas. He became quite interested in film and tried his hand at it. His producing skills lent very well to the film industry and he enjoyed a lot of success in the genre, amassing an impressive filmography and also delving into the world of music videos. Dre produced videos for movie soundtracks as well as for big names like 50 Cent and Xzibit. Dre has also appeared as himself in film and TV over 30 times. On top of everything, he has an impressive film resume, as an actor, director, producer, composer, and writer. In 2005, Dre produced 50 Cent’s hit movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin”. Big Dreams = Huge Success
Clearly, Dre has big aspirations for himself. He worked his entire life to make something more out of himself. He is constantly pushing himself to the limit in an effort to eclipse his previous achievements. His wealth comes from his strategy of diversification into producing and by expanding his talents into every aspect of the film industry. While doing all that, Dre managed to never spread himself too thin. This is a mark of balance and excellent time management skills. The key to Dr Dre’s success has been in his exploration of various creative avenues, while sticking mainly to what he does best: producing. Success did not come easily to Dr Dre. It took an incredible amount of hard work, determination and guts. In the face of adversity, Dre triumphed. Growing up in South Central LA, LA, Dre Dre became involved in gangs and gang rivalries. Early on in in his career, his brother was killed, and Dre was continually having brushes with the police. On top of that, Dre had to face racism; it was unusual for a black man to achieve the huge success of music artists in other genres. Overcoming Adversity
Creating even more difficulty for Dre was the total lack of support he received from industry executives. No one was willing to
give him a chance. He couldn’t even get any press or radio play. Instead of giving giving up, Dre took matters into his own hands. No label would sign him? He created his own label. Dre chose to make himself a success, instead of waiting around for the people around him in the industry to see his talent. That is the kind of drive it takes to make it big. Dre is responsible for the success of his protégé Eminem. The white rapper, who is another of today’s most successful artists, would have had a really difficult time getting any street credibility without Dr Dre’s backing. Dre has worked with and produced singles and albums for so many artists; including Mary J. Blige, Eve and Gwen Stefani. And he’s not apologetic about his talent and skills either. He even claims that he could make a record with a three-year old. But, he’s got the goods to back it up. Dre’s Success strategies
In essence, Dr Dre’s success strategy is to be a leader in the industry. And he hasn’t just just been a leader in in the music industry; he’s also been one in a subsection of the film industry. But how has he remained a leader and obtained such unprecedented success? Success Strategy #1: Sticking to What You’re Good At
Dre recognized his own strengths and his weaknesses. As an artist, he pioneered a new sound that everyone loved and that pushed him to the top of the charts. However, as a rapper, he is not of the same caliber as other, more talented MCs. He can cut a good album, and keep up with other MCs, but he simply does not excel at rapping. Early on, Dre realized that he that a lot of talent for production. He was able to seek out talent and produce an album or single for the, that sounded amazing. Dre soon realized if he were to get to where he wanted to be - at the top - he’d have to focus more on his strength (producing) and less on his career as a solo artist. His ability to produce fresh new beats differs from the style of some of his competitors in the music making/ making/ producing game. Where others prefer to re-work older songs and materials, Dre is a creative genius with the talent to devise brand new smash s mash hits.
That’s not to say that Dre hasn’t had a successful solo career. The reason he was able to make it as a hip-hop artist is because he teamed up with more talented rappers on his albums. Snoop Dog appears as much as Dre himself in Dre’s first album. Similarly in his other albums, he had a ton of guests help him record. Knowing he probably couldn’t stand alone on his rapping skills, he chose to showcase other artists. This technique worked really well for for Dre. Success Strategy #2: Establishing Credibility
Dre managed to be publicly visible, while at the same time portraying an underground image. He held on to his street credibility, credibility, perhaps because he promoted others in order to promote himself. He kept it real by focusing on his goals and by listening to the vibe from the underground. underground. That is how he was able to to determine when when gangsta rap had come to an end. Success Strategy #3: Recognizing Trends
Dre knew how to take advantage of trends in advertising, media and pop culture. The theme of his first solo album, “The Chronic” struck a chord with the people who were finished with cocaine. Marijuana was the new new drug of choice, and Dre capitalized capitalized on that fact. His new sound, that elastic G-funk, with its fat bass and mellower tones was an instant hit with those who needed something easier on the ears. Dre dropped that album at the right time. Success Strategy #4: Being Innovative
Dre made sure to stay ahead of trends and fads. He was an innovator, not a follower. follower. Although he he is credited with creating gangsta rap and the G-funk sound, he knew when it was time to move on. He was also willing willing to take a chance on Eminem, a white rapper, because he knew that Eminem’s, extreme talent would be able to fit in to the predominantly black market. Success Strategy #5: Use Others to Boost Yourself Up
The most important strategy Dre employed was to discover and help develop the talent of other artists. He found success through others. While many people in the industry choose to cut up other artists and start wars, Dre instead worked on building others up. It just goes to prove that you make yourself better by focusing
your efforts to to help others. By surrounding himself with more talented artists, Dre learned a lot and gained the experience necessary to recognize and develop talent. And that has been Dr Dre’s key to success.
P. Diddy P. Diddy, né Sean John Combs, was born November 4, 1969 in Harlem to parents Melvin and Janice Combs. When P. Diddy was only 2 years old, his father was tragically tragically murdered. His mother, Janice, felt compelled to remove her son and daughter from the dangerous neighborhood. In an effort to move somewhere safer, she took her children to Mount Vernon, New York, where P. Diddy was raised. Janice had to work three jobs in order to provide for her kids. She was determined to give her children all the opportunities she never had, including the the best education she could afford. As a child, P. Diddy attended the Mount Vernon School, where he also played football. He earned his first nickname “Puffy” because on the football football field, he tended to puff out his chest (also because he would ‘huff and puff’ when upset). Later, P. Diddy moved on to Mount St Micheal Academy. There, he discovered he had the spirit of an entrepreneur. At 12 years old, P. Diddy already had a successful career as a paper delivery boy. When he turned 18, P. Diddy went on to attend University at Howard in Washington, DC. Again, he demonstrated his entrepreneurial flair by selling his peers exams, term papers and by promoting parties. Meanwhile, his true true passion was hip-hop and rapping. Diddy’s Introduction to the Music Industry
P. Diddy was introduced to the music industry and the world of hip-hop through Uptown Records. As an intern at the record label, P. Diddy was mentored by André Harrell, who would go on to become a President of Bad Boy Entertainment. Harrell took P. Diddy under his wing and began to teach him about the music industry. Harrell recognized that P. Diddy Diddy had incredible potential, and he wanted to help develop it. P. Diddy showed such enthusiasm and drive, commuting between Washington and New York, that his commitment eventually got him noticed. noticed. At only 19, he was promoted from intern to Director of A&R at Uptown.
During his stint as director, P. Diddy was responsible for molding the careers of artists Mary J Blige and Jodeci, both Uptown artists. P. Diddy, an innovator, changed both artists’ images for the better. Innovation, Trendsetting & the Creation of Bad Boy
While producing their music, P. Diddy combined soul and hiphop in reflection of the emerging style of the urban youth. The new combination, a departure from the norm, sent P. Diddy’s career into the stratosphere. The mainstream loved the sound of hip-hop combined with soul; P. Diddy had made a name for himself. He eventually decided to leave Uptown Records when he felt confident enough to go out on his his own. It was time to put everything he had learned at Uptown Records to the test. After leaving Uptown, P. Diddy set out to build his own empire. He formed his own record label and called it Bad Boy Entertainment. The creation of the company was a pivotal moment in P. Diddy’s career. He and his his company were about to revolutionize hip-hop. In the beginning, P. Diddy had only two artists secured to the Bad Boy label. It was a slow but promising start. Although his roster was small, he had a very strong force on his side: the Notorious B.I.G. P. Diddy’s Diddy’s other artist was Craig Mack, a former EPMD Roadie. It was the Notorious B.I.G. however, who would go on to lead Bad Boy and P. Diddy’s success to skyrocket. ‘Ready to Die”, Notorious B.I.G.’s multi-platinum debut album was produced and launched by Bad Boy. The album was a monster hit, with its epic storytelling and its huge Brooklyn-style beats. Both the Bad Boy label and P. Diddy earned critical acclaim and respect from the music industry for the masterful production of Biggie’s first album and the slew of hit singles which followed its release. Building a Solid Reputation
P. Diddy was becoming known for his ability to pick out real talent and to take it to the next level by developing the artist. He
became known as the man who could develop big hits. He was also earning the respect of the music industry as a power-house CEO who could both produce and arrange great hip-hop. A string of major recording stars started to knock on P. Diddy’s door, wanting him to use his talents to vamp up their recordings. He gave valuable advice and aided in the production of music for super stars like TLC, Usher, Lil’ Kim Kim and Mariah Carey. He even made cameo appearances in some of their videos. Diddy’s Business Instinct
It was the hits he created with these famous artists that gave P. Diddy enough credibility as a producer and creative genius to enter into a joint venture with Arista Records and legend Clive Davis in 1996. The venture was unprecedented; characterized by a fiftyfiftyfifty split. The joint venture was the catalyst to the ensuing success of Bad Boy. With the backing of Arista, P. Diddy was able to attract big names like Faith Evans, Total and the popular male singing group 112. P. Diddy signed these artists to his label, as well as developed their acts and produced platinum albums. After 6 years, in 2002, Bad Boy Entertainment and Arista Records mutually decided to go their separate ways. The joint venture was terminated, but there was no bad blood between the two CEOs. Together, bad Boy and Arista had been the most successful partnership in the industry. P. Diddy continued to have full control over his brainchild, Bad Boy, in addition to retaining the entire artist catalogue and roster as part of the deal. It had been an extremely good move to partner with Arista, and it opened the door to bigger bigger and better things things for P. Diddy. In 2003, P. Diddy signed a worldwide distribution deal with Universal Records. The deal entailed that P. Diddy would again retain ownership of Bad Boy, and that Universal would in turn distribute all new releases, the Bad Boy catalogue, and provide promotional and marketing support for bad Boy’s roster of artists. P. Diddy had reached the big time. Awards & Achievements
In January 1997, P. Diddy produced and released a single featuring his latest discovery Mase called “Can’t Nobody Hold Me
Down.” It was an instant hit and remained on Billboard’s hot R&B Singles chart for almost two months. The next four singles off the album to hit the charts were all record breakers and the album, “No Way Out”, went platinum a full seven times. The album featured artists like Mase, Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes. One of the most popular singles was a tribute to the late Notorious who had been murdered. The album generated nearly two-dozen industry industry award nominations and won two Grammy awards, including Best rap Album of the Year. After having spent so many years collaborating with others, P. Diddy decided it was time to focus on his solo career. He had already learned so much and gained so much experience in the collaborative and producing worlds, he wanted to explore other horizons. P. Diddy’s sophomore album, “Forever”, released in 1999, also went multi platinum, platinum, solidifying his success as a rap artist. It was an innovative and risky album and truly satisfied hip-hop lovers. The single “Satisfy You” went all the way to number one on Billboard’s Rap and R&B charts. The next album P. Diddy released was called “P. Diddy & The Bad Boy Family … The Saga Continues.” It was a compilation album featuring the hottest talent of the moment and was reminiscent of his debut album. It was an evolutionary album: totally original, full of vibrant beats, popular in the dance clubs, and lent itself to displaying a plethora of artists like 112, Black Rob, Faith Evans, and Hoodfellaz. P. Diddy produced most of the tracks and served as the executive producer, but he chose to let a talented team called the Neptunes produce some of the tracks also- a great decision as it led to the popular song “D-I-D-D-Y”. In 2002, P. Diddy scored again with an album of reworked classics and collaborations. The album spawned a slew of hit singles and again confirmed Diddy’s spot at the top of the industry. Diddy’s Unique Perspective on Hip Hop
In addition to his career as a solo artist, Diddy was in high demand for doing remixes. He has the ability to add something special to an artist’s work that gives that little push needed to reach the top of the charts. He remixed Mariah Carey’s “Honey”, KRSOne’s “Step Into A World”, Mary J Blige’s “No More Drama” and hits from other artists like Jodeci and Janet Jackson.
Diddy has always had a knack for remixing, stylizing and glamming up his talent’s works. He is a master at marketing by setting trends, in music as well as in in fashion. He just has to to say the word for a singer, video, or piece of clothing to become the next must-have, must-see item. Who else can take an old old classic, add a fresh beat and market it as the coolest thing going? He found his niche in the hip-hop and mainstream markets by not only creating new music, but by capitalizing on old songs and making them hot and new again. On top of his impressive abilities as an artist and remixer, Diddy is also an innovator. Starting from the early days, he liked liked to meld together different sounds to create something new. On his huge hit “Come With Me”, he worked with legendary rocker Jimmy Page. He blended rap and rock again when he paired up with the Foo Fighters to record the hit single “It’s All About the Benjamins”. Diddy’s blend of rock and hip-hop was a whole new genre and paved the way for various bands today that use his technique of integrating different styles of music. Some artists who owe the rise of their music career to Diddy are Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit Bizkit and Linkin Park. A true pioneer, Diddy has made his mark on hip-hop and forever changed the sound and the dynamic of the world of R&B, hip-hop and rap. Diversity and the Diddy Empire
Already thoroughly successful what with his hot solo career, the high demand for his remixes and his producing skills; Diddy sought to reach even higher heights. He has ventured into many other aspects of business including retail, the restaurant industry, marketing and more. This major diversification, coupled with strict quality control, is the key to Diddy’s success, fame and especially wealth. In essence, Diddy has built an empire: the Sean Combs empire. empire. And it’s pretty darn big. Every business venture that comprises this this empire is is profitable. This strategy ensures that should any aspect of his empire ever fail, the empire will not crumble. It will continue to stand
strong because it has many legs legs to stand on. Diddy will always have something to fall back on. Over the years, Diddy has built Bad Boy Entertainment from a music label all the way to a multi-million dollar business with many facets. This empire includes an award winning clothing line called Sean John. In 2000 and 2001, the Sean John clothing line was nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the extremely prestigious Perry Ellis Menswear Award. In 2003, Diddy was nominated for the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Not only did Diddy create a successful line of clothing, it is actually recognized as high fashion. Diddy Style
Diddy has always had a great sense of personal style and it has become apparent in all aspects of his career. His style style has permeated everything he’s done including the music videos he’s been in, the magazine covers he’s appeared on, and his fashion shows. He has become a style icon, icon, and he is constantly attending fashion runway shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan- the fashion capitals of the world. The Sean John line debuted in 1999, and Diddy has never looked back. His fashions are sold in the world’s most famous department stores like like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. In addition, addition, his line appears in various high class specialty stores like Fred Segal. Along with big names like Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein, the Sean John name is very popular with young America. Diddy’s clothes rank right up there with the big designer names. The clothing line aspect of his business is all about quality style. You won’t find anything shoddily made here. As the line’s popularity increased, Diddy was able to get some big names behind him. He is currently launching a new website featuring featuring Penelope Cruz as the main model for his new women’s line. Big (and Small!) Screen Diddy
Diddy also has his hand in the film industry. He first started acting in an Artisan comedy called “Made”. He made his mark with a starring role opposite Hally Berry in the Lion’s gate Academy Award
winning movie, “Monster’s Ball”. This is an impressive debut in the world of acting. Diddy has also made his mark on the small screen with his MTV reality shows “Making the Band” and “Making the Band 2”. The two 10 episode long installments of the series was about forming a mainstream, radio-friendly hip-hop/R&B group. The show included all aspects of the formation of such a group including auditions, rehearsals, and live performances. The wanna-be stars on the show competed for a record contract while Diddy tried to show them the ropes of the music industry. The viewers of the show were privileged to see what happens when Diddy goes into business mode- no messing around. The show also gave insight into the methods Diddy uses to scout out new talent.
Another business within the Diddy empire is Blue Flame Marketing and Advertising. Diddy, who is the company’s founder, owner and CEO of blue Flame Marketing and Advertising launched the company in order to provide marketing services, advertising services, and brand consulting for clients involved with luxury as well as upscale products and services. Before then-president Jameel Spencer departed the company in 2005, Blue flame did work for important companies like Microsoft, New Era Cap Co., and Calvin Klein. Now, the primary purpose of the company is to do licensing work for other aspects of its its parent company, Bad Boy. Blue Flame also performs work for the Sean John Clothing line. Eating Out… Diddy Style
Diddy has also branched out into the restaurant industry. He owns two upscale restaurants called Justin’s, named after his firstborn son. Diddy intended the restaurants to be places “to see and be seen”. It’s a celebrity magnet, and for most most visitors, food is not the main focus. On a typical night, the restaurants are are a meeting place for A-list celebrities, sports stars, politicians, and generally beautiful people. It has an atmosphere and a clientele with a price range to match. Although the menu may not be the main concern, it is certainly delicious. The restaurant is a blending of Caribbean cuisine and Southern soul food. Fare includes dishes like like BBQ chicken wings and seafood gumbo. Business and Community Ventures
In addition to these business ventures, Diddy also owns Bad Boy Technologies, which consists of P-Diddy.com and BadBoyOnline.com; Justin Combs Music Publishing; Bad Boy Marketing; Bad Boy Productions; Janice Combs Management (home of legendary producers, the Hitmen); Daddy’s House Studios; and Daddy’s House Social Programs. Diddy even owns a magazine called Notorious. Diddy established his Daddy’s House Social Programs, Inc. in 1995 in order to generate initiatives for youths living in the inner-city. He also wanted to increase their chances of success by creating
educational programs. His generosity is more than just just a gesture of charity. Diddy himself, along with a team to assist him, has created, as well as funded a variety of new and innovative youth programs, to give kids the same opportunity he had. These programs include: international travel groups, summer camp programs, Wall Street training teams, college visit tours for teenagers about to graduate from high school, and internships at Bad Boy Entertainment, which Diddy himself oversees and instructs. Diddy has also performed many other charitable acts. He returned to his Alma Matter, Howard University, and donated $1 million to further the university’s goal of educating African-American youth. Having had the opportunity to receive post secondary education, Diddy has a very real interest in promoting education. In order to improve the situation in 500 urban New York City Public schools and improve children’s computer skills, Diddy donated more than 100 computers. In order to support more funding for public schools, Diddy participated in the “Million-Man March”. Diddy also engages in volunteer work to help better communities. In 2002, one of his charitable subsidiaries, Daddy’s House, ran an extremely successful food-drive as well as sponsored the annual Hosea’s Feed the Hungry and Homeless Thanksgiving Day dinner, which fed more than 30,000 underprivileged people in the Atlanta area. Diddy’s most recent cause has been to help educate youths about HIV and AIDS. He does this this by hosting numerous initiatives and programs that he hopes will result in increased awareness of the disease and its causes. He even went all the way to South Africa to bring hope to HIV positive and AIDS patients by performing for MTV’s World AIDS Day special. On Thursday November 6, 2003, Diddy gave the city of New York $1 million million in support for public school funding. He raised this money by running the New York City Marathon, for which he trained for months. The money and awareness that be raised will go to supporting school libraries and new technology within the schools. The other $1 million that he raised was donated to help his other favorite charitable causes, helping children and families affected by AIDS.
Clearly, Diddy has branded his name throughout the world with the the sprawling Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group. The conglomerate is massive, and brings in millions of dollars every year. It also helps thousands of people, and brings hope to those in need. Despite his enormous success, Diddy stills wants to provide the same opportunities and guidance he received early on in his career as an intern at Uptown. All of Diddy’s Bad Boy businesses employ and provide a model of success for hundreds of inner-city youths who might otherwise turn to a life on the street. Diddy has continued to follow through with his commitment to better the world. It is his success that has allowed him to accomplish accomplish many of the things he has. Helping others has been a driving goal for Diddy throughout his career. This passion has allowed him to forge ahead and never look back. He knows that what he does has an effect on society, and wants that effect to be a positive one. That’s why he chooses to be not only a rap star and business CEO, but also a teacher and a mentor for those who need his help. Success Strategy #1: Nurturing Talent in Others
Much of Diddy’s success is largely attributed to his talent for discovering and nurturing talent in others. Throughout his career he has helped many artists achieve their dreams of recording and performing music. This in turn has made Diddy’s name even more prominent in the business, raising his status to higher heights. Success Strategy #2: Be Creative
Diddy is also creative and sets trends. Instead of following the crowd, he dictates what the crowd should follow. follow. He will be remembered forever as the the pioneer of rock and rap melding. By not recognizing or acknowledging barriers in his life, Diddy has been able to surmount them with grace. Success Strategy #3: Give Something Back
Giving back to the community has been a factor in Diddy’s success. Had he not had the passion to help others, he probably
would not have succeeded. Having a goal is is one of the most important ways to achieve your dreams. Success Strategy #4: Networking
By creating a network of useful people around him, Diddy has been able to branch out into other areas. The more people you know, the more chances you have of getting what you want. Diddy knew this to be true, and when he was just starting out in the business, he set out to prove himself to the people around him with power. They recognized his commitment commitment and drive and rewarded him by introducing him to more people who could help him on his path toward success. This support network has been one of Diddy’s main strategies fro success. Success Strategy #5: Diversify and Build
Finally, the most important success strategy for Diddy was expanding and diversifying his music label Bad boy into a multifaceted, multi-million multi-million dollar business. No matter matter what happens to any one of his separate business ventures, he will still be prosperous under huge umbrella conglomerate of Bad Boy.
Jay-Z Jay-Z was born and raised in the rough Marcy Projects of Brooklyn, NY. He had a difficult time as a young teenager, as he tried to come to terms with the fact that his father left his mother. Growing up without a male presence in his life, Jay-Z had to take on the role of provider. He had to support himself, so he turned to the mean streets and to hustling. Soon, however, he began to make a name for himself as a rapper, despite his inexperience. In the neighborhood, he was called Jazzy, but he decided to shorten his nickname to JayZ. Starting Out
In the early days of his career, Jay-Z did everything that he could to catch a break and get into the rap music industry. industry. As he attempted to gain credibility as a rapper, Jay-Z made a living as a street hustler. He did what he had to do make money. This period of his life would later become an inspiration for many of his lyrics. Jay-Z was introduced to a small-time rapper called Big Jaz, or Jaz-O for short. Jaz-O taught Jay-Z the tricks of the rap trade, showing him how to get noticed and how to steer himself through the music industry. Jaz-O had a record deal, but was not gaining much success as a rap artist. His sales were very low. After a while, Jay-Z realized he had learned as much as he could from Jaz-O. For awhile, he was a part of a group called Original Flavor, but soon JayZ became disillusioned with the idea of signing with a label. Roc-a-Fella Records
Instead of waiting around to get signed, Jay-Z, like Dre and Diddy, decided to start his own music label. Along with his friends Kereem Burke and Damon Dash, Jay-Z founded Roc-a-Fella Records. The three friends thought creating a record label was a good move because it would cut out the middleman, allowing them to make greater profits. Even though he badly needed the money, JayJayZ was wise enough to understand that over time, building a label would make him more in the long run. This decision, like like those he
would make in the future, was a strategic move that would contribute greatly to his success. Eventually, Jay-Z found a distributor to assist him in getting his first album out on the market. His deal with with Priority Records, which which would later change to a deal with Def Jam, allowed him to distribute his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, which was released in 1996. Finally, things were looking up for Jay-Z. By taking matters into his own hands, Jay-Z was able to achieve his first taste of success. This was an important strategy to get his career off the ground. He knew that no one was willing willing to help him, so he helped himself. With hardly any money, and virtually no connections to the music industry, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his bootstraps and released his first of several albums. Jay-Z’s Talent Shines Through
Reasonable Doubt was not an instant hit, but it would become a classic among Jay-Z fans. The album peaked at number 23 on Billboard's album chart, but Jay-Z’s popularity as an artist really began to soar. His lyrics were tight, and he he had a huge talent for rapping and performing. The album’s success was led by the hit single "Ain't No Nigga," which was a duet featuring featuring Foxy Brown. Other big names on the record like DJ Premier and the Notorious B.I.G. helped to draw in the fans who had never heard of Jay-Z before. The album featured the gangsta rap style of hip-hop that was incredibly popular at the time, thanks to to Dr. Dre. Before the album fell off the the charts, it had produced three more huge singles: "Can't Knock the Hustle," featuring Mary J. Blige, "Dead Presidents", and "Feelin' It". The Power of Collaboration
This marked the start of a technique that Jay-Z would continue to use throughout his career. Collaborating with with other artists on tracks is one of Jay-Z’s major strategies for achieving success. Even though he was virtually unknown when he dropped his first album, he was able generate a lot of buzz by promoting the more famous artists featured on his album. He used the talent talent and sound of other, more established artists to boost both his own rap career and his visibility in the industry.
Throughout his career, Jay-Z has collaborated with dozens of huge industry names. These include Beanie Segal, Memphis Bleek, Amil, Kanye West, the Neptunes, Beyoncé Knowles, Eminem, and 2Pac. In 2001, Jay-Z collaborated with The Roots for the album “Unplugged”, and in 2002, he worked with R. Kelly on the “Best of Both Worlds”. In addition to having artists guest star on his albums, Jay-Z has appeared on other stars’ albums and singles. Staying In The Limelight
After the release of Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z was quick to follow up. Basically, he released an album every year (sometimes two albums per year) year) from 1996 until his retirement in 2004. In all of his following albums, Jay-Z collaborates with even more big names, including producers. He generated almost fifty monster hit singles as well as huge album success. These albums, in order of release date are: In My Lifetime, Vol 1, Vol 2: Hard Knock Life, Vol 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, the Blueprint, Unplugged, The Best of Both Worlds, The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, The Black Album, Unfinished Business (With R. Kelly), and Collision Course (with Linkin Park). Each of these albums was extremely successful, and led to four underground releases and remixes, including the bootleg album, “The Grey Album”, a mash-up of the songs from the “Black Album” with the songs from the Beetles’ “White Album”, which became an underground hit. The Importance of Flexibility and Reading Your Market
Another useful success strategy Jay-Z used was to move away from the genre of gangsta rap in favor of more commercially popular hip-hop and pop-rap. This was a decision that garnered him him a lot of criticism. Many people proclaimed him to be a “sell-out”. However, in the long run it was a smart choice because it would help him to expand his fan base and attract more listeners. This technique allowed Jay-Z to sell more albums than almost any other rapper.
Jay-Z commenced the move towards more radio-friendly music with his second album. The audience fro Jay-Z’s music increased by at least double after the album was released. Many of the lyrics were less dark, and the hooks were incredibly catchy. There were still songs containing Jay-Z’s traditional hard-core lyrics and style, but these were overshadowed by the selection of pop-rap. The Hard Knock Life album served to deepen the chasm between the style style of Jay-Z’s first album and his current work. His shift to pop-rap was essentially complete. Jay-Z had moved away from rapping lyrics about his previous dark life as a street hustler, and focused on creating singles that were radio-friendly. This strategy earned him an incredible amount of airplay, thus widening his audience again. Songs like “Can I Get A…” and “Hard Knock Life” were incredibly popular, yet at the same time they they retained originality. It seemed Jay-Z was proving that creating original, distinct and unforgettable songs was not at odds with catchy hooks and radio-ready tunes. Staying the Course
Jay-Z was grappling with trying to find a good balance between commercialism and using sincere lyrics and content. Rap music critics were coming down hard on Jay-Z for becoming too egotistical. They accused him of selling out to commercialism. JayZ, however, did not allow any negative comments to affect him. He stuck with his strategy and continued to pump out trendy beats and developed his blended rap even further. Despite continued criticism, each album that Jay-Z put out continued his reign of success. He continued to use his strategy of combining collaborations with a pop-oriented sound. His most devout fans recognized what Jay-Z was doing, and they respected him for his talented lyricism. Jay-Z was a force to be reckoned with. He was viewed by fans, media and the music industry as a figure-head and role-model for success. He had reached a height of success that had previously been unheard of. The intense criticism that had been plaguing him finally began to subside. You just can’t argue with that level of success. To this day, jay-Z continues to be the subject of much
criticism, praise, popularity, condemnation, and discussion. that’s what makes him famous.
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“Retirement”… at age 35
In 2003, Jay-Z announced that he would be retiring after the release of his final solo record, “The Black Album”. Album”. As always, the album and its singles were a huge success, and soared to the number one spot on the charts. In 2004, Jay-Z further publicized his impending retirement from rap by going on a farewell tour. No one was really sure what the star would do next. At only 35 years of age, the rapper still had much potential for more and greater success. However, Jay-Z chose a new strategy. He decided to quit while he was ahead. In a quote, Jay-Z claimed that he did not want to be the boxer who went one too many rounds. Despite his proclamation, fans still do not truly believe his departure from making music is permanent. In many ways, Jay-Z was making a shrewd move. By leaving while still at the top of his game, he ensures that he leaves behind a bright legacy. In addition, his reputation remains untarnished and he has the absolute respect of the industry and of his fans. Def-Jam Records
In a surprise move, Jay-Z accepted an offer from Def Jam Records to serve as president. Going through a transitional phase, Def Jam decided that Jay-Z would be the best person to resurrect the struggling record label. The inauguration of Jay-Z at the helm of the company was sensational and made history. Jay-Z had become one of only a small handful of African-American major label executives in the business. The most amazing part was that he had made the incredible transition from rapper to company president - a feat that was almost unheard of. Because of the unusualness of the choice for president, there was a degree of uncertainty as to whether Jay-Z would be up for the challenge. Jay-Z had always been serious and totally dedicated to
his rap career. To him, no attitude adjustment was necessary. He put forth the same effort into his new job as president as he had into his music career. During his initial year in the position, Jay-Z discovered a plethora of new talent for the company including Bobby Valentino, Rihanna, Teairra Teairra Mari and Young Jeezy. All these artists artists have enjoyed commercial success under the watchful watchful eye of Jay-Z. In fact, Jay-Z also launched the careers of runaway star Kanye West in addition to Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Young Gunz, and Freeway. Jay-Z’s Success strategies
It appears that Jay-Z has seamlessly crossed over into the next phase of his career. As president of Def Jam, Jay-Z is learning valuable new skills that he will be able to apply in the future in order to increase his own success, fame and wealth. Throughout his career, Jay-Z has stayed hungry; always wanting to take his career that one step further than anyone expected he could go. Other superstars that have used this this strategy include Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger; never afraid to push the limits, they have propelled themselves higher and higher. Success Strategy #1: Believe in Yourself
As the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive”, Jay-Z is brimming with confidence which has been a major major key to his success. He has made himself a brand, and successfully marketed himself as the #1 brand – the ‘must-have’ in his industry, much like AOL as “America’s #1 Internet Internet Provider”. He is is known and respected for his free-styling abilities, metaphorical lyrics, and interesting interesting word play. His talent for lyricism is unsurpassed in the rap industry, which allowed him to write great tracks that other artists would want to be on, thus allowing him to collaborate with some big names like the Neptunes, Notorious B.I.G., DMX, and Timbaland. Success Strategy #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Try
He has never thought twice about taking on a new challenge, which led him to where he is today. Jay-Z’s story is truly a rags-toriches dream. His incredible dedication has taken him from a life life on
streets willed with despair and poverty to a life of unimaginable success and power. Success Strategy #3: Be Flexible
Jay-Z was able to figure out the rap game early on in his career, which allowed him to map out a plan for success. He realized that in order to sell more records, he’d have to appeal to a wider audience. He also knew that that the way to get a wider audience was to get airtime on the radio- something that was very difficult for hard-core gangsta rappers with ‘R’ rated lyrics. So, despite intense criticism, he changed his style to make it more accessible and easier to listen to. This strategy drew fans in quickly. This ability to draw in more listeners led to a very large and very devoted fan base. Jay-Z owes his riches to the commercializing commercializing of his music that attracted more buyers for his albums. In addition to snagging the money-spending suburban white youth market, Jay-Z managed to maintain his credibility and popularity in the urban market as well. Success Strategy #4: Be Competitive
He accomplished this no only through his music, but also by stepping up to the challenges of other rap artists. Jay-Z promised himself and his fans that he would not allow any hip-hop rival to knock him out of the top spot. He looks at these situations as as a competitive sport, where you’ve got to be tough and secure in your abilities. He says it’s important not to be envious of others. Success Strategy #5: Align Yourself With Great People
Another important strategy for Jay-Z was working with the hottest and most in-demand artists and producers of the time. By surrounding himself with people who were better and who had more experience, Jay-Z was able to boost his own career, and eventually eclipse all of them. By dropping one number 1 album after another, in some cases less than a year apart, Jay-Z firmly established himself in the industry and made his names very well-known. Even after ‘retiring’, he has stayed in the public eye as fans hope for a new album. In the meantime, he uses his ear for fresh
Eminem Eminem was born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October 17 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother was still a child, at age fifteen, when he was born. His father, also also a teenager, left left his family six months later and never came back. th
Marshall’s childhood was difficult. He spent much of his time time back and forth between Kansas City City and Detroit. His mother could not hold down a job or keep a house longer than six months. Every time she got evicted, she’d gather up her son and move somewhere else. The two of them lived on welfare, making a bad situation even worse. Marshall finally settled on the Eastside of Detroit when he was 12 years old, however, the damage had been done. Having to change schools every two to three months caused lots of problems for the young adolescent. Frequently the victim victim of brutal bullying, it was especially hard for him to make any friends or to concentrate on his studies. Marshall had difficulty staying out of trouble and was unable to graduate from high school. Natural Talent
Since the early age of four, Marshall had displayed an affinity for rhyming and rapping. He had a passion for making rap music. It provided him with an escape from the drudgery of everyday life. Rhyming different words to create lyrics and battling schoolmates at lunchtime gave Marshall a sense of happiness amidst the misery of his life. As early as thirteen years old, Marshall was performing whenever he could, and he actually gained some popularity as a member of the group Soul Intent. When he turned fourteen years old, Marshall started to get serious about developing his talent for rapping. Three years later, his hard work was starting to pay off in small ways. As an artist he had grown and improved. He decided to call himself M&M, which he would eventually change to Eminem, his name today. Despite his personal achievement, Eminem was not accepted by other rappers, a fact that really angered him. As a white white man, he had difficulty overcoming the racial barriers that existed in the world of rap.
During this time, he failed out of the ninth grade for the third consecutive time. Around the same time his long-time girlfriend Kim Scott had his baby. baby. They named her Hailie Hailie Jade. In the the interest of raising his daughterand supporting his family, he decided to drop out of school. In his later years he admits that leaving school is not the best idea, and that other should not follow his example.
Growing up in a turbulent environment provided Eminem with lots of material for his music. His relationships with his mother, girlfriend and family; dropping out of school; and working minimum wage jobs in order to support his daughter would all greatly influence his music. He was set up to fail from the start, yet he made himself a success in spite of the odds. Despite a lack of success or any kind of encouragement, Eminem continued to try and prove himself in the rap world. He forced his way onto radio shows and entered as many freestyle battles as he could. Usually, his endeavors left him with very little in terms of results. Starting Small
He released his first album in 1996. It was an independent record titled “Infinite”. The album sold poorly- about 500 copies in in total, all from the back of Eminem’s car. “Infinite” received zero airplay on the radio. The main response to his his album was people telling him he was ripping off the styles of Nas and AZ. Disappointed but not defeated, Eminem continued in his quest to live his dream of becoming respected in the rap industry. Things finally started looking up for Eminem when his rapping style took a darker turn. His anger-filled lyrics began to catch the ear of hip-hop’s underground music scene. His rap style was distinctive and almost cartoonish. His race also made him a subject of much curiosity. People were beginning to sit up and take notice of Eminem. Desperation Brings Out the Best In Em
Eminem had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He had absolutely no money and was basically living on the street. Anger towards the events of his life and the system in general led him to rant and rave in his his lyrics. He used this new material to put together a demo called “The Slim Shady EP”. The album contained tracks filled with violence, including stealing and committing other crimes in order to feed his child. Totally desperate to be heard and to make money, Eminem spent his last dollar to enter the 1997 Rap Olympics in Los Angeles. He hoped to win the $1,500 cash prize. He needed it to support his daughter and himself. After an entire entire hour of battling on stage, and throwing back every racial insult to which he was subjected, Eminem ended up in second. He had slipped up, costing him the first place prize. Pure Luck – Dre Discovers Eminem
Too busy fuming over his defeat, Eminem never realized that a few producers from Interscope who were in the crowd had seen him rap and were interested in him. Someone gave them a copy of the "Infinite" tape tape as a demo. Nothing really came of the Interscope scouting. However, in a stroke of luck, luck, famous rap artist and producer Dr. Dre found Eminem's demo on the garage floor of the Interscope record label CEO. Dre was totally impressed with what he heard. He sent out some of his people to track down the ‘angry white rapper’. When Dre and Eminem finally finally met, it was a match made in rap heaven. They worked together extremely well, and started recording tracks during their very first meeting. Dr Dre readily agreed to sign him, and the result was a reworked version of his second demo called “The Slim Shady LP”. Dre co-produced the full length album, which was to be Eminem’s debut in the mainstream. Eminem had become Dre’s protégé. Slim Shady Springs to Life
The album was a gritty combination of Dr Dre's patented beats and Em’s provocative, twisted lyrics. In his lyrics Eminem professed to be playing the character of his sinister alter ego, Slim Shady. Slim Shady was a violently disturbed character with an “eye-for-an-eye”
moral outlook. Many of the songs, which Eminem claimed were parodies, evoked scenes of gruesome murder, including the infamous song “97 Bonnie & Clyde". The album enjoyed commercial success; especially the singles "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience". “The Slim Shady LP” made it all the way to the number 2 spot on the US album chart in March 1999. Dre was so impressed with Eminem that he even asked him if he would help to lay down tracks for Dre’s next solo album. Eminem also received accolades from the famous Snoop Dogg, who called him rap’s “great white American hope” in the song “Bitch Please II”. With his new Aftermath contract and the Dre-produced “The Slim Shady LP”, Eminem was well on his way. The album went triple platinum by the end of 1999. It was certainly one of the most popular albums of the entire year. Up until this point in his career, Eminem had relied solely on himself. With no resources, the young rapper had done everything he could to get himself heard. His strategy was to do as many events as possible including freestyle competitions, battles and demo tapes. He figured that the more he did in the public sphere, the greater his chances of being heard by someone important or of being discovered. This strategy turned out to be pretty successful for Eminem. He finally caught a break when Dre heard his demo tape. Eminem knew it was only a matter of time until someone would hear him and appreciate what he had to offer. In the interim, however, it’s a tough tough strategy to use.
Unlike most other rappers who came from poor families, Eminem also had the added disadvantage of being white. Rap was a genre of music dominated by African-Americans, may of them rapping about racial oppression. Trying to gain credibility and respect from his peers was no easy feat. It meant never letting his guard down. Eminem was knocked down countless times before finally being discovered. It takes an incredible amount of determination and motivation to keep doing something that you continually fail at. The key for Eminem to get through this stage of his career was to have a thick skin and to get his motivation from within. He could not allow others to make him feel badly about himself and to doubt his talent. If he had, he most would have lost his opportunity to be heard by Dr Dre. He also had to have a burning desire to persevere despite the the many obstacles in front of him. A love for rap was was essential for Eminem’s Eminem’s success. You simply cannot get beat down so many times over something you don’t care about. Controversy & Em’s Niche in the Hip Hop Market
Eminem’s success was soaring, thanks to the sales of his multi-platinum album. In the midst of everything however, controversy was brewing over the violent and graphic nature of his lyrics. Part of the reason Eminem because of the very lyrics that were being misogynistic and homophobic. should no be taken seriously, but appease his critics.
had become so poplular was being condemned by critics as Eminem claimed that the lyrics his comments did nothing to
Eminem deliberately chose to stay away from the hip-pop and pop-rap that was flooding the market. He knew there was a niche out there for music that was more serious, edgy and dark, and that stayed away from over-used subjects like “bling”, money, fast cars, “cristal”, and cheap women. women. He chose to use a different strategy to achieve fame.
The songs that Eminem wrote tended to focus on his experiences and on his views of life in general. His music was a way fro him to explore his darker side- his anger at the treatment he received throughout his life, his sometimes scary thoughts, and probing questions he had about life. life. These topics really drew in an audience. Eminem was a refreshing take on the bubble-gum rap that was dominating the music scene. Some of the most common topics that appear in his lyrics are: his mother and his childhood; disgust with groupies and dating; his disdain for the American government; drugs and abuse; being white in a black rap culture; his wife; raising his daughter as well as his niece; and making fun of celebrities and pop culture. The Power of Publicity Eminem critics were outraged when “The Slim Shady LP” was nominated for a Grammy award. A boycott of of the award show was organized by a gay rights group to protest Eminem’s gay-bashing lyrics. In response to the boycott, Eminem performed one of his songs on stage with Elton John, a legend in the music industry as well as a homosexual. Eminem even gave Elton John a hug when the performance finished. Everyone was shocked, but the move move didn’t stop the negative publicity. All of the negative press and controversy surrounding Eminem was having the opposite effect the critics had intended. The more attention they drew to the rapper and his ‘R’ rated lyrics, the more people went out and bought Eminem’s albums. He had become an anti-hero of sorts- in total juxtaposition to the commercial rappers of the day with their radio-friendly lyrics. Eminem realized that all of the negative attention was actually a good thing for his career. So he set out to push the envelope further, in hopes of using negative publicity as his strategy. He wanted to use all the negative attention to promote his “bad boy” image and keep him in the spotlight. Many of the things he wrote in his songs were for pure shock value, not because he actually believed believed them. Eminem has been quoted in interviews as saying that he has nothing against gay people and that he doesn’t care what people do in their personal lives.
Around this time, Eminem Eminem also faced legal issues. In 2000, after watching a bouncer kiss his wife Kim, Eminem assaulted the man. He faced assault charges for his attack on the bouncer. Eminem drew even more negative press for the incident, but it only served to add fuel to his career’s fire. In 2002, Eminem released his third album called “The Eminem Show”. This album addressed some new topics, topics, most of which were associated with the impact fame was having on his life. life. The album still contained a lot of anger, but it was considerable less inflammatory than his previous two albums. albums. Instead, the album focused on ridiculing boy bands and making derogatory comments about celebrities and political figures. Just as it seemed the controversial rapper had started to tone down, a cassette tape emerged in which Eminem made disparaging remarks about black women in a freestyle rap. He called them “dumb chicks”, and the tape also contained racial slurs. The revelation caused an uproar. Eminem alleged that he had had made the tape in the 80s after breaking up with his black girlfriend and that he did it out of hurt and anger. Despite his explanation, explanation, the criticism criticism flared up again, this time angry about Eminem’s apparent racism. Eminem’s lyrical attacks on other artists were also beginning to take their toll. He made enemies out of several people including Ja Rule, Benzino, Insane Clown Posse, and Fred Durst. Eminem really stirred things up when he made fun of Micheal Jackson in his music video “Just Lose It”. In the video, Eminem refers to Jackson’s legal troubles and parodies Jackson’s career. Jackson’s supporters, who who stood by him despite the allegations of child molestation, were outraged, and made public comments about their disgust at Eminem’s ‘kicking a man when he’s down”. BET actually stopped airing the video in the midst of the controversy. The CEO of the Source magazine was was so angry, he demanded everyone pull the video from being aired, the song be taken off the album, and that Eminem publicly apologize to Micheal Jackson. However, yet again Eminem had emerged as the victor because MTV refused to pull the video; it was their number one
requested video. His strategy for generating sales through negative publicity was clearly still working well. Creating music that mirrored his personal life life seemed to be a winning winning strategy. He was certainly staying in the spotlight. Eminem’s Success strategies Success Strategy #1: Use Adversity to Your Advantage
It didn’t seem to matter how horrible some people thought he was. Eminem used it as ammunition for writing tracks. When bad things happened in his personal life, or when vicious rumors circulated about him, it only made him more powerful. It seemed he was able to take all of the negatives in his life and use it to fuel himself to reach a higher pinnacle of success. This strategy of making lemonade out of lemons has really served him well. Success Strategy #2: Create Buzz
He is a master at creating hype before an album release and generating sales. Before the release of his fourth album “Encore”, an unreleased song called “We As Americans” was “accidentally” leaked onto the Internet. This time, the controversial lyrics caught the eye of the United States Secret Service, who in 2003, admitted it was investigating allegations that Eminem had threatened the President of the United States. It seemed totally unbelievable, but apparently the Secret Service interpreted Eminem’s lyrics as a reference to an impending assassination attempt. The whole ordeal, instead of being detrimental to Eminem’s career, served as a mechanism to help launch the new album. It didn’t matter what kind of buzz he generated; even really negative publicity was good for sales. As long as the strategy continued to be successful, Eminem will keep using it. Success Strategy #3: Be Loyal
Eminem made the most of his time spent learning from Dr Dre. He is loyal to his mentor, and follows Dre’s success strategies closely. Dre and Eminem were both smart in in seeing the potential potential of a hot white rapper in the current hip hop market. They brought rap and hip hop to the previously untouched ‘suburban white kid’ market. Eminem became the most listened to artist in hip hop by relating to such a wide fan base. People identify with with Em.
Eminem continues to use his own personal life, as well as society as fodder for his satirical rap songs and videos. His sharp and witty lyricism has earned him lots of praise from his fans and from his fellow rappers. This strategy is perhaps the most powerful of all: he is authentic. By using experience from his own life and baring his soul to his fans through his music, Eminem has developed an environment where each fan feels as though they know him personally. Being real and authentic has propelled him to superstardom. Events that for some would be devastating, are motivational for Eminem and lead him to keep writing new hit singles. For instance, when his aunt and uncle, Jack and Betty Schmitt, sued Eminem for breaking a promise to build and upkeep a $350,000 house for them, Eminem didn’t let it get to him. As his own family turned on him, he internalized the pain, and filed it away for future album material. It Success Strategy #5: Don’t Let Haters Get You Down
One of the keys to Eminem’s success as a rap artist, and as a survivor of a rough childhood, is his ability to remain unaffected by critics and haters. He knows that the things that seem to destroy him are also nourishing his artistic side, giving him more and more to write about. If Eminem hadn’t had such a horrifying upbringing, he would probably never have developed his signature biting style of rap. Instead of lashing out at a life that seemed totally unfair, Eminem channeled his his anger and energy into rapping. When he was just getting started, he never allowed himself the luxury of feeling sorry for himself, nor did ever buy into comments that other people made about his his music. Eminem does not need awards or praise in order to know that he is a success. He already knows it himself. himself. That kind of attitude is what makes Eminem a star.
50 Cent Curtis Jackson, AKA 50 Cent, brings credibility and edge to his music that that was hard earned. Everything in 50’s life indicates that he wouldn’t have become the success that he is today; it’s a wonder that he’s even alive. But he is… and he’s taken the hip hop industry by storm. Born in Queens in the late 1970’s, 50’s childhood years were riddled with drug deals, tragic loss and instability. 50 was orphaned at an early age when his mother, a force to be reckoned with in the Queen’s drug trade, perished in a fire under mysterious circumstances. His father had abandoned the family years earlier. 50’s grandparents took him in, providing him with all of life’s necessities. Unfortunately, the street life was deeply ingrained and his want for flashy possessions sent him back to the block. While he appreciated everything his grandmother tried to provide, he had grown accustomed to his mother’s financial status and free-spending ways. He developed a lengthy rap sheet and a long long list of enemies while building his personal wealth and reputation on the street. When 50’s son was born, he decided to actively pursue rap as a career. Learning the Ropes & Making Enemies Along the Way
Once again, the odds were stacked against him. him. 50 had signed with JMJ and began learning the ropes. Unfortunately, JMJ was the brainchild of Run DMC DJ Jam Master Jay; an industry outsider. Beyond teaching 50 how to write songs and read music, there wasn’t much JMJ could do for him. In 1999, 50 was discovered by the duo Trackmasters, who signed him to Columbia House. After only 2 ! weeks in the studio, 50 had recorded 36 songs and created “Power of a Dollar”, which has been hailed as an unreleased classic by some. One song in particular rubbed some more established rappers the wrong way; “How to Rob” was a satirical dream about robbing famous rappers. Apparently they didn’t get the joke. Jay-Z, Sticky Fingaz and others were not impressed. It was, however, a brilliant
marketing strategy. Getting more popular, established artists to talk about him effectively increased the buzz surrounding his name. With a hot new album in the works and a signed deal with Columbia House, things were looking up for for 50. It appeared that he was finally about to break into the mainstream music scene and live out his dream. Tragedy Strikes
Just before the release of “Power of A Dollar”, in April 2000, 50 was shot nine times times in front of his grandmother’s house. His hustling days had caught up with with him. 50 had always worked hard to protect his family, and especially his grandmother, fro m learning the truth about his Success activities. The hardened drug dealer was a loving, devoted grandson; he has often said that he lived a double life. There was no denying the source of his troubles to his grandmother after he was shot. The shooting took place just three days before he was set to shoot the video for his first single, with Destiny’s Child. After taking a .9mm bullet to the face, another to the head, and seven more to his body and legs, 50 would spend months in recovery. For most young men, this would be the end of the story. Luckily, for 50 and for his hip hop loving fans, this was only the beginning. More Adversity
It was a callous decision for Columbia House to drop 50 from the label shortly after he was shot. But they did; they had written him off completely. His album had been heavily bootlegged. Riddled with bullet wounds, they assumed that he would be too handicapped or disfigured to make it as a recording artist. When he left the hospital, 50 began recording songs for mix tapes with his protégé Sha Money XL. With no financial backing or music industry support, they recorded over 30 songs that created a buzz in the underground hip hop world. In 2001, he released his new material in the form of an independent LP, “Guess Who’s Back?”. With his crew, G-Unit, 50 kept on recording. This time, he re-touched classic beats by other artists such as Jay-Z and Rapheal Saadiq. “50
Cent Is The Future” was born; his latest bootleg album was making its way through the streets. After being dumped by Trackmasters and Columbia House, 50 harbored no hard feelings and agreed to rhyme over a Trackmastersproduced J. Lo song. However, he was cut from the recording before its release by rivals at Murder, Inc. Again, he had a shot… and once again, he was cut down before he could really get started. A Fateful Discovery
By a stroke of sheer luck, 50’s album reached the ears of none other than Eminem, a self made hip hop mogul himself. A bidding war broke out after Eminem proclaimed on a radio show, “50 Cent is my favorite rapper right now”. Eminem and Dre had just joined forces in the union of Em’s Shady Records and Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. At Em’s urging, Dre threw his support behind the artist artist and they signed 50 to Shady/Aftermath. Realizing that Eminem’s endorsement had been his big break, 50 didn’t hesitate to sign. Just before he began recording under Shady/Aftermath, 50 quickly released another mix tape, with a song called “Wanksta”. The song appeared to take aim at Ja Rule, which served to add more fuel to the fire surrounding 50. Though it was never intended to become a hit single, “Wanksta” became a hit on New York radio and was added to the soundtrack of Eminem’s “8 Mile”. When he hit the studio, Dre and 50 had their creative differences, over one song in particular. Dre felt that “21 Questions” was too soft and sappy for a gangsta rap album. But 50 stuck to his guns, again stating that this is who he is; one part street thug, one part caring family man. Success At Last – 50’s Destiny Fulfilled
The release of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” said that 50 had arrived. It went gold in its first week and platinum the week after that. It was certified six times platinum on April 12, 2004. With the success of “Get Rich…”, Interscope granted 50 his wish… in 2003, his own label, G-Unit Records, came into being. This allowed 50 to capitalize not only on his own talents, but also the
talents of other up and comers. Some would call it “giving back”; that’s a pretty lofty idea. What it means to to have your own label in the hip hop world is this: mo money. In March 2005, 50 released another album. “The Massacre” had two hit singles right off the bat. Throughout his personal trials and professional discovery, 50 remained true to his goals. He is a determined, driven man who who can recognize an opportunity a mile off. Everything in his life life said that he should have failed; possibly even died at a very young age. How did he overcome such odds? Where others would have given up, 50 pushed harder. He turned his hard living life on the streets into a multi-million dollar success story. While it was a lucky break that Eminem heard his mix tape and set the wheels in motion, it can’t be denied that a lot of hard work is the real reason his career took off like it did. Being endorsed by a hip hop celebrity with power and reputation certainly helped, but 50 had to back it up and prove himself worthy of such praise. Many people are given opportunities in life, but sadly some throw those opportunities away. Not 50; he was determined to make the the most of his shot. After signing with Dre, 50 quickly released another bootleg album. He knows about creating a buzz; give the people want they want, and they will keep coming back for more. Keepin’ It Real
Part of 50’s appeal is that he is so real. It’s one thing to write some lyrics about hard living and street life. It’s quite another to have actually lived that life and prospered because of it. Some hip hop songs are great because they have a good beat, others because they have a story to tell. tell. 50 is a master of both. He tells it like it is, setting his thoughts and stories to addictive beats and wicked hooks. Part of making it on the streets is loyalty; to your friends, to your family, and to your ‘business associates’. 50 didn’t forget his friends on the way up. After the unbelievable success of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, which sold over 11 million albums, 50 formed G-Unit Records and released an album with longtime friends Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, and Tony Yayo. Sha Money XL, his manager, was named the President.
This was really a crucial point in 50’s career. Many people make it so far and then stop, either content with the level of success they have achieved, or overwhelmed and frozen. He knew that he had to take advantage of everything that he had going on for him and use his resources and contacts to build his business. If he sat back and let it slip by, he would become another one-hit wonder. Building His Business
Starting a record label was the first step he took towards building his business. This is a very important factor; he did indeed consider this a business. And to be successful in business, you have to think like a businessman. 50 knew the toll that alcohol could take on a person, lessening their ability to reason and make good decisions. He needed to have all of his wits about him him and stay sharp, so he made a conscious decision not to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Understanding the need to diversify in order to stay on top, he also bought a stake in a vitamin-water company called Glaceau. He turned down several liquor endorsement deals, choosing instead to be involved in a business that he actually actually believed in. You could say this is a rare quality, in a world where a celebrity will throw their face on just about anything for the right price. Becoming a Brand
Let’s slow down for a minute and really focus on this section: endorsements. Companies pay millions each year to have various celebrities endorse their products. In years past, actors were the likely choice for endorsements. Why? Because they portrayed a positive, successful image. We wanted whatever it was that they had, because it had obviously made them so fantastic! Then athletes came into the picture, and endorsements went crazy… think Tiger, Air Jordan, Wayne Gretzky. These guys were commanding some pretty big price tags to have their face stuck on a cereal box, or to pose with with a pair of shoes. We could see that they were very successful in what they did and trusted their ‘advice’. So when did hip hop artists break into this million dollar opportunity? Twenty years years ago, they were just too controversial.
What suburban parent would buy their child a pair of sneakers promoted by ‘hoodlums’? But as the popularity of hip hop grew and it became more mainstream, teens and adults began to look to these superstars as inspirations in their own lives. It was a rewarding transition… although some may call it ‘selling out’, they would be wrong to put such a demeaning label on such a fantastic opportunity. The quality of 50’s music is is certainly not diminished by bringing it to a wider audience. Using endorsements as an extra avenue for generating income is a smart move for a hip hop star. Anything that creates buzz, promotes their image, or puts them in the spotlight is a great thing. Being a Role Model
This brings us to another, related point. It cannot be denied that the hip hop/rap world still sparks fear in the hearts of many. Tales of the fateful night that 50 was shot make parents think twice about allowing this person to be a role model for their child. But he is a role model. This is a key to his success. By telling telling the truth, owning up to his ghosts, and sharing his story through his lyrics, 50 has become real to so many people. They look up to him and wonder how he stayed so strong. Where teens used to idolize athletes and actors, they now feel that hip hop stars and other celebrities ‘get’ them. People want to feel understood… 50 gives people that impression. He understands what it’s like… he sympathizes. He’s not sweeping what happened to him under the rug, nor does he deny the reasons and circumstances that brought him to that night. 50 uses the the hip hop style, culture and life to promote certain products… and gets paid for it! While other celebrities have certainly learned to take advantage of endorsements, it was simply not an option for many hip hop and rap stars… at least not on the the same scale. With his Reebok endorsement deal, 50 used his reputation and power to make him millions. He could not have taken landed such a sweet deal, had he not had such a wide wide appeal to so many people. By writing the music that
he does and turning his name into a brand, he made himself a very lucrative and attractive option for endorsements. Seizing the Moment
With the astonishing success of his album and endorsements, his own record label, and a stake in a successful company, 50 was not content to stop there. His next move would serve a few different purposes. In November 2005, 50’s ‘semi-autobiographical’ movie, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’”, was released. This movie produced a storm of controversy and publicity before it was even released. People were outraged at what they said was a glorification of gun violence, sex and drug use. We could sit here and argue back and forth on the merits of the movie from a number of different perspectives… instead, we’ll concentrate on the the fallout. Like so many superstars, 50 understands that publicity is a good thing, be it good or bad. People were angry, outraged, disgusted, etc… and they were talking about it! What more could an aspiring actor/filmmaker ask for, on the release of his first film? Yes, it was violent. Yes, people were swearing. Yes, they even used drugs. This is the world he grew up in. While it offended the sensitivities of some, others could relate to the movie. Some saw it as an inspiration; to hear and see the story of their idol in another media. Others simply watched the film for for pure entertainment. But people were watching, and those who didn’t care to go see it had at least heard the the controversy surrounding it. it. 50 Cent became a household name. He didn’t make out too badly either… “Get Rich or Die Tryin” grossed almost $31 million at the box office. His movie is a great example of how getting, and staying, in the public public eye can make you very wealthy indeed. But some publicity generating moves are unintentional. They may even cause pain and occasionally hurt feelings. Understanding Fame and Publicity
50’s short-lived relationship with actress Vivica A. Fox is a prime example. They arrived together at the 2003 MTV music awards, to the delight of the paparazzi. 50 quickly learned a lesson in celebrity. He suspected that Fox was merely merely using him to garner media attention. While some celebrities thrive on this sort of attention, discarding lovers on an almost weekly basis in search of the next headline-grabbing partner, this wasn’t 50’s style. He and Fox parted ways, allowing him to once again focus on building his business. Being able to differentiate between publicity and overkill shows a maturity in 50. He didn’t want to fall into into the trap of overexposure that claims so many celebrities, turning them into ridiculous parodies of real people. He wanted to stay real. Marketing and Self-Promotion
In another smooth move in self promotion, “Bulletproof” was born. This realistic, violent video game portrays 50 and his buddies cruising the streets of New York. Featuring a soundtrack made up of his own recordings, Bulletproof is pure 50, through and through. Finally, 50 cornered another market. With Marc Ecko, he created his own signature clothing line. line. G-Unit Clothing Co garments feature a 50 cent price point… for example, a pair of jeans would sell for $38.50, in honor of the artist. Hip hop fashion is a trendy and lucrative market… a clothing line carrying the name of one of the hottest hip hop stars was bound to be a success. 50 Cent’s Success strategies Success Strategy #1: Maintain Visibility
The key to 50’s success in the mainstream market is two-fold: his appeal to a wide range of fans, and his visibility. Whether it’s his shoes, his video game, his music, his clothes… 50’s name is out there and is now a household name. Success Strategy #2: Be True
He is a man who has always stayed true to his word and his goals. He is different things to different people and that is appealing to so many. He is a boy who loves his Grandma; a feared street hustler; a talented hip hop artist; and a cunning businessman. And he does it all with with style. You could also write about that he mixed the old gangsta rap image with the glamour/ pose approach and became that big with that strategy of mixing too styles together into a unique style that the market had a need for. Success Strategy #3: Know Your Target Market
50 has a good sense of business and his target market. He understands what people are looking for and then simply gives it to them. From music, to movies, to video games, 50 keeps his fans fans satisfied. Success Strategy #4: Keep On Keepin’ On
It cannot be denied that 50 has a power and drive that puts him head and shoulders above his competition. The sheer determination of a man who would recover from such a harrowing incident as he has faced amazes us all. The fact that he went on to become a superstar is that much more incredible.
Secrets Revealed – The 8 Success Strategies You Can Steal From the Hip Hop Masters Dr Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent are all huge stars in the rap music industry. They each succeeded in their careers by using a combination of different strategies in order to launch their careers, hit the top of the charts, and stay at the top of the rap game. Some of the success strategies these artists use are the same; some are very different. In many cases, the rappers had similar obstacles, but dealt with them in unique ways. Over time, their strategies changed as they transitioned to the next stage of their careers. What worked well at the start of their career may not be quite as effective when a certain level of fame has been achieved. The way these hip-hop artists transcended the various barriers in their lives, and managed to emerge victorious in a tough and hard to please music industry has made them role models for how to become successful. By choosing their strategies, whether consciously or unconsciously, these artists have achieved unprecedented levels of fame and fortune in the rap music industry. These strategies can be used by anyone to propel their career and personal lives into the stratosphere. Listed below are “The 8
Success Strategies You Can Steal From the Hip Hop Masters” to build your own successes. Success Strategy #1: Overcoming Adversity
Being able to overcome difficult obstacles to look ahead to the future is absolutely necessary for success. The ability to look beyond the present situation, no matter how bleak it is, and to have a vision of the future is a key elements as well as one of the first steps toward becoming rich, famous, and fabulously successful. All of the rappers previously discussed came from less than ideal circumstances. They all had to deal with issues like poverty, rough childhoods, a lack of role models, crime, and racism.
Poverty and lack of funding don’t necessarily have to be deterrents to success. All of the featured artists were poor, but it didn’t stop them from following their dreams. As African-Americans, Dr Dre, Diddy, Jay-Z and 50 Cent were already at a disadvantage in terms of becoming successful and wealthy. Even though the rap genre itself itself is predominantly black, it’s difficult to reach the heights of white stars in the music industry. However, these rappers are helping to dramatically change this dynamic. Jay-Z, in addition addition to his success as a rapper, is now the president of a major music label. label. Similarly, P Diddy has a multi-million dollar business. Another obstacle that played a factor in the lives of the rappers was racism. Even in in today’s world, minorities have to to struggle in order to reach the levels of success of the white American majority. The playing level is still not level for for women, immigrants, immigrants, and even non-white Americans. Eminem also had to combat racism because he was a white man trying to make it in a black rap industry. There are very few white rappers, and none as famous famous as Eminem. If he has listened listened to everyone who told him that a white rapper would never make it, he’d never be where he is today. The basic ingredients for success are perseverance, personal drive and confidence. Without a thick skin, crumbling under the pressure to perform and to be more is inevitable. Every single one of the rappers was able to shake off the negative and persevere towards a goal. They also believed that that they had the talent and drive necessary to achieve their dreams. Dr Dre was always, self-assured, and this is what allowed him to become a producing mogul. Jay-Z still proclaims that he is the best rapper alive. That is the kind of mentality that garners real success. Success Strategy #2: Having Vision
Born into rough neighborhoods, and usually lacking a father figure, these rappers were able to maintain a vision of what they wanted to achieve in life. For some, like Jay-Z and 50 Cent, their vision of becoming the best rapper alive meant turning to crime in the short term to raise funds to start his own music label. But committing crimes is risky, and not really necessary, although some would argue
that Jay-Z gets lots of material for his music from his days as a hustler. Other rappers, like Eminem, worked minimum wage jobs in order to fund the start-up of their careers. Both ways have their downsides. For Eminem it meant working long hours for very little little pay-off. When these stars made decisions; when they took action and made choices, they had a vision for the future in mind. Their moves were calculated and served a purpose. They had goals and devised strategies to meet them. Success Strategy #3: Willingness to Learn
The next important success strategy is to admit that you aren’t the best at what you do, and surround yourself by those who are the best. It’s impossible to learn and grow as an artist surrounded by people who are weaker and less talented. That type of ego-feeding activity is a sure way to fail- perhaps not right away, but eventually. All of the rappers in this e-book made an effort to associate with artists they already admired and they believed had something to offer in terms of advice and experience. This is a humbling strategy, but its benefits are long-term because its helps people to reach their potential, and then surpass it. Finding someone who is willing to mentor you and teach you about the industry is part of this strategy for success. P Diddy started out being mentored by a very successful and talented André Harrell. Diddy knew that Harrell would would be able to help him him develop as a rap artist, a producer, and as a businessman. Allowing someone who’s been through everything to help you navigate through a foreign industry gives you a head start on others, who make every mistake there there is to make along the way. A mentor can help to avoid some of the more common pitfalls. It was also important for almost all the rappers aforementioned to try their hand at other jobs within the music industry. Dre’s producing experience gave him new insight into the world of rapping, and he was consequently able to identify a new trend and capitalize on it.
These rappers know how important it is to treat failures as valuable lessons. When Eminem’s first record was scorned because it sounded too much like Nas, Eminem learned that he had to stay true to his own sound. His next albums, which came from his personal experience, were applauded as original and gutsy. For Dre, one of the most valuable lessons he learned was to be as flexible flexible as possible. You can’t be rigid in an industry that is constantly evolving; you have to evolve too. Dre knew that he’d have to evolve with the changing face of rap music in order to surviving and prosper. It is essential to be in tune with the marketplace and anticipate changes. It’s a huge mistake to expect things to stay the same because the very nature of the music industry is dynamic. Another part of the strategy of being willing to learn, is gaining credibility. This is only accomplished by showing your peers that you have a superior work ethic and that you want to constantly improve on your abilities. Some of the best ways to gain credibility credibility within the industry is to have mentors, surround yourself by those with more talent and success, and learn from your, and their, mistakes. Success Strategy #4: Networking
Another way to gain credibility is is to network. Jay-Z’s goal was for people to think of his name as synonymous with rap music. The strategy is used to achieve this goal was to work and surround himself with the hottest and best artists and producers out there. These networks, with his subsequent musical collaborations, served to make his name known among the people who mattered. Networking is a valuable skill that will get your name out there and establish contacts that will be helpful both now and in the future. It is also a great way to increase the number of people you know. Perhaps there’s someone who you know could really help you out, but you don’t know him and don’t know how to contact him. The benefit of a network is that you might already know someone who knows the person you’re after and can put you in contact- maybe even put in a good word for you. Dre discovered Snoop Dogg through his cousin Warren G. A big part of success is in who who you know. In order to create a network of contacts, the rappers really had to promote themselves and push their music. Eminem was
constantly adding to his network by performing on the underground circuit, entering competitions, releasing free mix tapes, and forcing himself onto radio shows for interviews. Building a network is hard at first. Constantly meeting new people and trying to convince them you’re worth considering is not easy. However, it gets easier with time and as the network grows. After a while, networking becomes second nature. Success Strategy #5: Publicity
Using publicity as tool for self-promotion is an easy strategy with little cost and good benefits. Publicity is basically free advertising, and like they say, any attention is good attention. Eminem learned this lesson very well after he hit the mainstream with his second album. He was heavily criticized for his violent lyrics and consequently, a large amount of negative publicity was generated. However, Eminem was able to harness the negative attention and use it to his benefit to promote his albums and his concerts. Being able to create hype and buzz about an impending album release or simply an artist is really valuable. Jay-Z created huge hype for the “Black Album” by announcing his retirement from the rap industry. This caused such a stir stir that his album got more publicity publicity than paid advertisements. Rappers like Eminem and Dre know the importance of tapping into the power of the underground. Acceptance from the underground rap scene can really boost album sales and concert attendance- all thanks to word of mouth advertising. Diddy and 50 Cent often get publicity for their other business ventures thanks to their popularity as rap artists. They have effectively branded themselves, making their names synonymous with trendy and cool. Diddy’s clothing line receives more publicity because of his name, and the same thing goes for 50 Cent and his movie and shoes. Diddy also creates publicity fro himself by giving back to the community. Although he is donating to charities and generally doing good in the world because he wants to, he is also creating positive publicity for himself as an artist. Every time a newspaper does a story on one of Diddy’s charitable campaigns, they never fail to
mention that he is a famous rapper with a new album coming out. This type of publicity is a win-win situation. Success Strategy #6: Diversification
Diversification is a more risky strategy, but its payoffs can be huge. It’s not really a smart strategy to use at the onset of a career, although a little bit of diversification with the music industry can be really beneficial. For the most part, however, this strategy is for wealth building, not for getting discovered. Diversification can occur either within the rap music industry or outside it. Dre, know best as a producer has really mastered mastered the art of switching seamlessly between the roles of artist, producer and talent scout. He knows the the rap industry inside out, and his forays into scouting and producing have been extremely lucrative. P. Diddy is at the other end of the diversification diversification spectrum. He used his career as a rap artist as a platform from which to launch his multi-million dollar Bad Boy empire. He has branched out into numerous areas including advertising, technology, restaurants and fashion. The benefit of being so diversified is that if one venture should fail, Diddy has many others to fall back on. Also, the financial reward for investing in other businesses is enormous. A few of the rappers have chosen to try acting in feature films. This move into into film can have benefits and drawbacks. If all goes well, it can open up a whole new world of possibilities and profits. If, however, acting proved to be a mistake, it can tarnish your image as a rapper. Diversification of wealth is in general a very smart move. Having all of your eggs in one basket is a risky choice indeed. Success Strategy #7: Filling a Need
One of the most impressive strategies these stars used was their ability to read their target market market and fill a need. They started by understanding and accepting that they could appeal to a wider market by changing a few things about their style. They set trends and refused to conform, using every situation to their advantage.
Dre saw that the need for gangsta rap was dwindling; Diddy saw a need for high fashion and glamour in hip hip hop; Jay-Z saw a need for his talent and skills in business as a way to make and keep more money for himself; Eminem saw a need for Mr. Angry White Rapper to reach previously untouched markets; 50 Cent saw the need for a true, authentic street thug to bring gangsta rap back to life. Each of these artists read the market and found their own niche. Success Strategy #8: Innovation and Creativity
Being an innovative thinker is a valuable characteristic. Dre created his signature gangsta rap style by not following trends. He instead decided to start one of his own. This was a very lucrative move for Dre, and the creation of the gangsta style of rap changed the face of the industry, making Dre a living legend. Eminem, Dre and Jay-Z all gained success by doing something new and innovative. Eminem is an angry white rapper with some of the best lyrics and delivery in the business, Dre pioneered new kinds of rap, and Jay-Z chose to develop commercial hip-pop to obtain a wider audience. Each of these strategies is different, but they are all innovative and hadn’t been done before. Part of being innovative is following trends in the market in order to know when it’s time to move on, and when it’s time to capitalize on something. Dre decided that gangsta rap was dead and moved on to other projects just before the collapse of the Death Row record label. Jay-Z realized that he could capture a much wider audience and therefore more profits by capitalizing on the lack of really good pop-rap. Understanding and knowing what’s happening within the rap industry, as well as in the music industry as a whole, is a key strategy for success. These strategies are tools for success, and can really make the difference between a mediocre and a stellar career. However, nothing can be accomplished without hard work dedication, passion, and drive. These qualities are what separate Dr Dre, P. Diddy, JayZ, Eminem, and 50 Cent from the other rappers in the industry.
Resources The following websites provided the valuable information necessary to compile this this guide. Please visit them them for more information about your favorite artists. Dr Dre www.dr -dr e.com e.com www.drdr e.com e.com dr e/artist.jhtml www.mtv.com/music/artist/dr _ dr e/artist.jhtml www.artistdirect.com/nad/ music/artist/card/0,,424045,00.html en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Dre P. Diddy www.imdb.com/name/nm0004835/ www.mtv.com/music/artist/puff_daddy/artist.jhtml badboyonline.com/ www.askmen.com/men/entertainment_60/86_ p _ diddy diddy.html en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Diddy Jay-Z jayzonline.com/ www. jayz www.vh1.com/artists/az/jay_z/artist.jhtml en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-Z www.imdb.com/name/nm0419650/ jay-z www.topix.net/who/ jay-z
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