Music Masters: (The Hip-Hop Economy Part 3 of a Series) a New Generation of Rap Moguls Is Making the Industry Dance to a Different Beat: Ownership

By Rhea, Shawn E. | Black Enterprise, August 2002 | Go to article overview

Music Masters: (The Hip-Hop Economy Part 3 of a Series) a New Generation of Rap Moguls Is Making the Industry Dance to a Different Beat: Ownership


Rhea, Shawn E., Black Enterprise


SO SO DEF RECORDINGS CEO JERMAINE DUPRI has been cranking out chart-toppers from his Atlanta-based music factory for more than a decade now. The rap and R&B mogul was just 19 when he discovered the preteen rap duo Kris Kross and put his machinery in motion. He groomed the two, landed them a deal with Ruffhouse Records, and wrote and produced their debut album, Totally Krossed Out, which featured the hip-hop hit "Jump." The album sold seven million copies--a major success by any standard. That was back in 1993 when it was rare for a rap album to garner that type of pop music success.

"Jump" enabled Dupri to strike a joint venture label deal with Columbia Records to the tune of $10 million. Under the deal, Dupri, 29, formed the So So Def label, home to artists such as the teen sensation Lil' Bow Wow, R&B group Jagged Edge, and female rapper Da Brat. In fact, Dupri, who is also a rapper, producer, and songwriter, is one of his label's top acts. He has recorded two successful albums: 1998's Life in 1472 and his current release, Instructions, which includes the hard-driving southern anthem "Welcome to Atlanta."

The rap impresario's hit-making abilities have made him one of the music industry's most respected entrepreneurs and positioned him among the vanguard that is pushing the boundaries of hip-hop. In the process, he has helped redefine popular music. Dupri's jack-of-all-trades approach to music is hardly atypical in hip-hop circles. He keeps company with the likes of Percy "Master P" Miller, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, and the eclectic rap duo Outkast (Big Boi and Andre) among others. All wear multiple hats as producers, performers, and independent label executives. And their efforts have made significant contributions to major record labels' profit margins.

Says Elektra Entertainment CEO Sylvia Rhone, whose joint venture with rapper-cum-entrepreneur Missy Elliott has resulted in multiplatinum sales: "An association with the right independent label or production company can provide an important cachet to us. They can help us reach a community that it might take longer to connect with."

In this third installment of BLACK ENTERPRISE's series on the Hip-Hop Economy, you will discover how rap is creating a bevy of entrepreneurial and financial opportunities for the artists who produce and perform the music. While joint ventures have furnished this new generation of music entrepreneurs with huge financial rewards--can you say "bling-bling"--the true prize is ownership of their music. Can they use their influence to secure the type of decision-making power that they seek? That's the next big step for Dupri and his peers.

WRITING A NEW TUNE FOR THE INDUSTRY

The music created by producers such as Dupri has long been the primary voice of hip-hop culture, and that voice has gained substantial economic influence on both domestic and international fronts over the last 10 years. It comes as no surprise then that major record companies need hip-hop artists as a part of their roster of talent. The music has become one of America's most visible and vital exports.

Today, hip-hop music is the second best-selling genre behind country, having racked up close to $2 billion in U.S. sales in 2000. It is one of only two music genres continuing to grow in earnings even as overall industry revenues slip. Hip-hop artists are now outselling many international music icons. This year already, sales of the new release from rapper DMX have eclipsed those of Michael Jackson, while R&B newcomer Ashanti, with her hit "Foolish," beat out, among others, pop veteran Celine Dion. And the music continues to influence other parts of the Hip-Hop Economy. For example, more than 10 years ago, some radio stations refused to play hip-hop on their airwaves--especially the rude and raw gangsta rap tunes. Now, radio stations with hip-hop formats dominate major markets.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Music Masters: (The Hip-Hop Economy Part 3 of a Series) a New Generation of Rap Moguls Is Making the Industry Dance to a Different Beat: Ownership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.