This is the age of the hip hop Mogul.
Hip hop has taken an interesting turn in the past decade, with a focus on the mogul rapper persona. Basically, because hip hop has proven to be very profitable there seems to be more brands created in and around the culture. Most of these products or services are created by rappers themselves.
When speaking of moguls in hip hop, a few names standout such as Diddy, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Russel Simmons, Birdman and 50 Cent. And so this level of sophistication within hip hop has made it more business central instead of simply ‘turning up’ all the time — I guess it comes with age. Not only do these moguls clean up nice but they are changing the stereotype of what a rapper was or is supposed to be.
Personally, I love seeing black people support each other. We have a history of not always supporting our own especially because hip hop is a competitive industry to be in. So for us to realize that there’s enough of the pie to share in the culture allows us all to participate and contribute.
What is a hip hop mogul?
A mogul is simply someone who is wealthy and powerful because of their trade. And these guys realized that hip hop is also a lucrative culture to create business in and so they did. Not to mention that the core market for moguls are true fans of hip hop which inherently makes it profitable because hip hop is a culture not just a trend.
Who are notable moguls?
When speaking of hip hop moguls, three names always come up first: Diddy, Jay-Z and Dr Dre.
“Jay-Z, Diddy and Dre are not only the wealthiest hip-hop acts on the planet, but the richest American musicians of any genre” — Forbes
Sean “Diddy” Combs is one of the pioneers of business in hip hop. Not only did he start off by creating Bad Boy records which gave us artists like Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G, Lil Kim and Faith Evans, he started a sportswear clothing line called Sean John. Since then Diddy has went on to be a brand ambassador for Ciroc vodka helping increase their sales immensely. The deal is an equal share venture whereby profits are split between Diddy and the manufacturing company. Then in 2013 he founded Revolt TV, a digital cable television network that focuses on hip hop music and content.
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business man”
JAY-Z is the epitome of a business man for the hip hop community because he has so many entrepreneurial endeavours behind his name. JAY-Z started Roca-a-Fella records in 1995 alongside former business partners and friends, Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs. He then went on to create Roc Nation and signed global superstars like Rihanna, Rita Ora and J.Cole. However his endeavours go beyond music as he was once the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, a basketball team, which led to him going into sports management — cue Roc Nation Sports. Roc Nation Sports represents some of the biggest names in sports like NBA star, Kevin Durant and Manchester United striker, Romelu Lukaku.
JAY-Z also owns a chain of sports bars/lounges called the 40/40 club in a number of cities. In 2014 he also bought Armand de Brignac champagne or what you may know as Ace of Spades — it’s hard to forget that gold bottle. But Jigga’s biggest venture to date is streaming service TIDAL which like most streaming services offers exclusive music and content. TIDAL is valued at $600 million.
Dr. Dre has always been at the forefront of the type of deals he gets involved in and as he shares in HBO’s The Defiant Ones, he says no to a lot of them. In 1996 Dre founded Aftermath Entertainment under Interscope records where he was responsible for the success of many hip hop heavyweights such as Eminem, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar. However we started seeing the mogul in him when he sold Beats by Dre to Apple for 3 Billion dollars. This was a monster move, not just for the money but because Beats became a product of the culture. Everybody from A-list celebrities to singers, rappers, DJ’s, athletes were all using Beats headphones — they were practically contagious. And what made it so powerful is the fact that they seemed to appear in every music video, Jimmy Iovine made sure that all artists under Interscope had them in their video, so it was only a matter of time until people started asking “what are those?”
From being shot 9 times to being recognized as one of hip hop’s top hustlers, 50 cent is the epitome of a mogul. Outside of having the best selling album of 2003 and countless hits; 50 cent made money from Vitamin Water, G-Unit clothing, a Reebok sneaker deal, a stake in Effen Vodka and he’s an executive producer for hit show Power, which is on its 5th Season.
Rap Snacks were created by James Lindsay, with the intention of creating a connection between hip hop and food. Working out of Atlanta, the product is available in 40 cities in the U.S. Other popular rappers that had their own flavours are Migos, Fabolous, Lil Yachty and Trina.
The sophisticated look
More rappers are getting involved on the business side of things so it only makes sense that they dress like businessmen that command power and respect. In honour of the hip hop mogul, here are a few videos representing that, check them out.
Kendrick Lamar — Humble
DJ Khaled ft Jay-Z — I got the keys
Future ft Drake — Where ya at
Meek Mill ft Drake — Going bad
21 Savage ft J.Cole — A lot