Artist Match Up of the Week: Dylan Owen vs. ill.GATES

This week we have to completely different artists with different styles and positioning in the industry.   On one hand we have newcomer Dylan Owen and on the other the accomplished electronic musician ill.Gates.

First Up…

Name: Dylan Owen

Sounds Like:  Asher Roth, Macklemore

Label: Unsigned


Dylan Owen

Dylan is an independent songwriter/rapper/hip-hop artist based out of New York. His emotional and storytelling style has gained him much attention in the underground music world.  Dylan began his rap journey in New York as a student  in college, he began to participate in rap battles with people around the city.  He was  stereotypically classified a so-called  “white rapper” from NY but with all stereotypes aside after watching and hearing some of his content I was pleasantly surprised.  His style is more emotionally driven rather than focusing on partying, dissing, etc.

Check out his Keep Your Friends Close EP below.  Listen to ; Keep Your Friends Close, Ghost, and In The Corner

   “In June 2012, placed Dylan on the top 15 artist chart as the industry’s predicted “Next Big Sound.” He has traveled from his home base on the east coast to Los Angeles, Colorado, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Washington DC, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, NYC, and many other places to perform. Opening for acts including Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, Chiddy Bang, Mac Lethal, Grieves, Asher Roth, Elliott Yamin and other popular new-age hip-hop stars has earned Dylan a strong following in support of his unforgettable dramatic live set.”

Video for In The Corner:

Check out one of his freestyles  below, it takes while for him to warm up but give him a chance.

Next Up…

Name: ill.GATES

Label: Multi Music

Sounds Like: Bassnectar and  Mimosa



  ill.Gates is a Toronto-based composer, performer and educator. In the last 16 years, he has established a global fanbase and a solid reputation as a dynamic electronic music artists.  He  tours across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Gates has headlined festivals like  Burning Man, Shambala, the World Electronic Music Festival and the New Orleans Jazz Festival.  His upcoming triple album The ill.Methodology and accompanying online course are highly anticipated. Check out some of his music below.

“While on tour, Gates  teaches workshops, in which he shares his highly effective approach to producing quality finished music as well as insights into the mentality and strategies necessary to succeed in the music business.”

Check out one of his interviews where he discusses his influences, sound, gear, and much more.


So who would I sign,  not taking into account the artists stature in the industry I would have to go with Dylan Owen.  ill.Gates definitely has a specific audience that he plays to but if i was listening to them for the first time I am more compelled by Owen’s work.

What do you all think?  Who would you sign?

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #7 Birdman

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #7 Birdman

Name: Bryan Williams

Stage Name(s): Birdman, Baby

Age: 43

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #7 of 9

How Much in 2012??? $20 MILLION

Birdman has been in the music industry for almost two decades now, and it is clear he has no plans on leaving anytime soon. Co-founder of Cash Money Records (with his brother, Ronald “Slim” Williams), Birdman has an impressive lineup of artists under his label. Nicki Minaj, Jay Sean, Lil Wanye, DJ Khaled, Drake, Tyga, and Bow Wow are just a few of the major acts that contribute to the enormous success of Cash Money Records in the music industry.

His eye for talent in the music scene isn’t the only asset he has under his belt; he’s also skilled in finding new business opportunities that bolster his position in the industry. Few of his recent projects include:

1. In 2010, he ventured into one of the most lucrative businesses in the world, oil and gas. He and his brother decided to create their own company called Bronald Oil and Gas and it was “self-reported” that the company turned $100,000,000 the first year. (There are rumors that the company no longer exists, but no one is exactly sure what of the situation of the company.) Source:

2. In 2011, Birdman decided to do a joint-business venture including a production company with DJ Khaled and his own label, “We the Best.” Birdman and DJ Khaled expects to launch a number of new materials this year which include: books, movies (a book is already rewritten for film), Lil Wayne’s new clothing line “TRUKFIT”, and the new GT Vodka. Source:

3. He has his own clothing line YMCMB, which stands for Young Money Cash Money Billionares. Source:

4. He has been working on his new album with his long time friend Rick Ross that will be released in the near future. With a monstrous lineup under his label already, there will be no problem getting features for his album – automatically making every track an instant hit.

Birdman claims that he will be the first hip hop artist to reach a billion dollar net value. As of 2012, he is net valued at $125 Million – trailing his fellow hip hop artist and mogul, P Diddy, who is currently net valued at around $500 Million. Although Birdman has quite a ways to go, I would not be surprised if he does actually become the first to reach the billion mark.

Birdman is the 7th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in the year of 2012 – coming in with $20 Million.

(In a couple days, I will post up #6! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: