By Victoria Jonas
The creative and complex wordplay that originated in The Bronx created a new genre of music known as hip-hop. Although hip-hop has mainstream popularity now, its early beginnings were humble.
With no institutional support and limited resources, early hip-hop artists were forced to become entrepreneurs. They used their creative and innovative mindsets to invent street marketing and obtain business opportunities. In addition, hip-hop artists turned their everyday attire into high-fashion clothing lines.
For example, American apparel company, FUBU owes its success to hip-hop. FUBU’s “For Us By Us” concept pushed its way through the hip-hop industry by being featured in music videos, concerts, TV shows and photo shoots. Hip-hop stars like Busta Rhymes, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and LL Cool J all rocked the FUBU clothing line. FUBU went from a small startup in a Queens, New York family home to a million-dollar company with hip-hop as its major marketing tool.
Hip-hop itself is a business that was built from scratch. No pun intended. Its culture, concepts and music were ideas that weren’t originally supported. Hip-hop was ignored by mainstream. Yet, hip-hop artists were dedicated and determined, even if that meant selling tapes from the trunk of their cars. This commitment assisted in the spread of the hip-hop genre.
Through innovation, hip-hop produced their own hustlers, hustlers in the sense of mindset and spirit. Hip-Hop’s new league of hustlers strived on the principle of coming from nothing but ending up with everything. This principle still rings true today. Hip-hop moguls are still hustling their way to the top. However, they are making big moves in every industry not just hip-hop.
Music icons like Dr. Dre, Diddy and Jay-Z are taking hip-hop entrepreneurship to the next level. Not only were they featured on The Forbes Five: Hip-Hop’s Wealthiest Artists list but, they have business ventures that speak just as loud as their music.
From rapping to producing and founding Beats Electronics, Dr. Dre has all bases covered. With a net worth of $740 million, he proves that he hustles hard. New York native, rapper and businessman Jay-Z is true to his hustle as well. In his recent “4:44” album, Hova drops keys on credit, investing and financial freedom. As the founder of Roc Nation, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records, owner of the New York 40/40 Club and with ownership in the music streaming service TIDAL, Jay-Z definitely has the knowledge, wisdom and charisma of a true entrepreneur. He also supports his fellow hip-hop hustlers. On the song “Family Feud” from the “4:44” album, Jay-Z spits, “I’ll be damned if I drink Belvedere while Puff got Cîroc.”
With his many name changes, one thing about Diddy always remains clear: he is all about business. Forbes listed him as the richest hip-hop artist in 2017. Diddy has a great amount of business ventures including his Bad Boy Entertainment label, Cîroc alcohol, television and clothing. Recently, Diddy has been hinting on taking ownership of the Carolina Panthers. Don’t be surprised if he makes it happen. One thing is for certain, the hip-hop industry has birthed generations of entrepreneurs.
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