Jay Z is ‘Big Pimpin’

In my prior blog entry, I wrote about the current state of hip hop as well as hypothesized a return of the the genre’s golden days of the mid 90’s due to a recent merging between P Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment and industry giant, Epic Records.  On October 21st, hip hop undoubtedly won again. After a week-long trial regarding a copyright infringement claim by the nephew of Egyptian composer, Baligh Hamdi, against hip hop giants Jay Z and Timbaland, the latter pair have come out victorious. The plaintiff, Osama Ahmed Fahmy, had claimed that a sample in Jay-Z’s 1999 single, “Big Pimpin'” used a sample of his uncle’s 1950’s ballad, “Khosara Khosara.”

Fahmy’s argument revolved around the notion that despite receiving $100,000 in an out of court settlement in 2001, “Big Pimpin'” violates his moral rights due to pairing vulgar language with his uncle’s music. What Fahmy did not realize going into last week’s court date was that this law, while completely valid within the realm of his native Egypt, can not be applied in the United States. To add insult to Fahmy’s injured claim, judge, Christina Snyder, told the jury that their decisions would not be necessary as she had already ruled Fahmy’s central argument moot, thus declaring Jay Z and Timbaland innocent.


The two will surely be pleased with decision but perhaps hip hop as a whole should be breathing a sigh of relief. In the wake of a 2014 decision to penalize Robin Thicke and Pharrell $5.3 million for their infringement of Marvin Gaye’s Got To Give Up, on their hit single, “Blurred Lines”, the lines between creativity and intellectual property theft have certainly become blurred. Who knows what small snippet could force your favorite rapper into utter bankruptcy? In any case, a resounding win for “Big Pimpin'” certainly sets a promising tone for the future of hip hop and its integral music making ingredient, sampling.

Source: http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/legal-and-management/6737505/jay-z-wins-copyright-trial-over-egyptian-big-pimpin


On the Run:

Jay-Z & Beyoncé Announce Summer Tour


What could possibly be sweeter? Hip Hop’s “First Couple” will be taking the stage in a North American tour. Both artists are showing no signs of relinquishing their respective thrones and proclaim to have very exciting things in store for their fans.

Oddly enough, this will be the first tour that Jay-Z & Beyoncé will embark on together. Kicking of in Miami on June 25, the stars will visit cities including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Toronto, and more before completing in San Francisco on August 5.

In addition, it has been announced that $1 from every ticket purchased will be donated to the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jay-Z’s organization in support of students.

Tickets go on sale to the general public through Live Nation on May 2.

Coachella Highlights: Part II

Here’s the 2nd round up of a few clips of some great performances during the last weekend of Coachella! Enjoy!

Pharrell & Co.

coachella_2014_day2_pharrell_18 coachella_2014_day2_pharrell_19

Pharrell allowed festival attendees to take a trip down memory lane while bringing out a variety of special guests (inc. Usher, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes and T.I.) Check out the vids below!!

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Bubbling in the desert #hov @pharrell

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coachella_2014_day2_nas_29 photo 2

(Nas and Lauryn Hill at Coachella 2014)

Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Illmatic” this weekend.  It was twenty years to the day of its release.  He performed each track from his critically acclaimed debut album.  One of the most epic moments during his set was when he brought Lauryn Hill onstage and the duo performed “If I Ruled The World.” Lauryn also performed “Ready or Not” from The Fugees repertoire.  Damian “Jr. Gong”appeared as a special guest and the two wowed the crowd with a performance of “Jamrock” and “Road to Zion.”

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Sekkle sekkle sekkle

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(**Images and videos are courtesy of the Instagram community**)

“Bey Great!”–Beyoncé Releases Surprise Visual Album

beyonce-booklet-main-picThe internet went into a frenzy on midnight, Friday the 13th when music icon Beyoncé Knowles-Carter released an unexpected self-titled, visual album with absolutely NO PROMO OR MARKETING!! Her eager fans (The BeyHive) shut down iTunes while waiting to purchase her album for $15.99 (14 songs/17 music videos).  The digital version was released today, but physical copies (CD/DVD formats) will not be available in stores until December 21st  (Just in time for the holiday season!–A great stocking stuffer for Bey fans!)

It’s amazing that no one caught wind of her project and that it was kept a secret! Beyoncé managed to film 17 videos around the world from Houston to New York City to Paris, and Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, all before the album’s release. Impressive!


Track listing:
01 Pretty Hurts
02 Haunted
03 Drunk In Love [ft. Jay Z]
04 Blow
05 No Angel
06 Partition
07 Jealous
08 Rocket
09 Mine [ft. Drake]
10 XO
11Flawless [ft. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche]
12 Superpower [ft. Frank Ocean]
13 Heaven
14 Blue [ft. Blue Ivy]

Here’s what Bey had to say about her new visual album:

“I see music, it’s more than just what I hear. When I’m connected to something, I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they’re all connected to music.”


“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it. I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. There’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans. I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”–Beyoncé

Check out an more in-depth exclusive video that Bey released in her own words about her new album, as well as previews of ALL of the videos that she has made available to her fans from her official YouTube channel.

Some of my faves so far: “Drunk In Love” ft. Jay-Z, Flawless,” and “Blow”

To get a sneak peep at the album booklet photos click here!
Purchase the album now on iTunes!

Bey Great!

Music Video of the Week : Justin Timberlake’s ‘Tunnel Vision’

Music :

While this song is not the hit single of JT’s the 20/20 experience album, it definitely stands out as a quality track. It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, and Jerome Harmon. It features audible content from Timbaland who lent his signature beat-making and beat-boxing skills for the creation of this track.

The instrumental strikes as quite sinister right from the start. It builds off an overdriven vocal sample, what sounds like a vacuous trumpet-like melodic line and a high pitched arpeggio. After a few bars they give into into a bass-heavy beat with clear-cut side stick hits and some of Timbaland’s infamous ad-libs and vocal scratch sounds. On the vocal front JT taps into both his lower and higher vocal ranges throughout and shows he is comfortable in either of the two, adding to the dramatic effect of the song.  His arpeggiated backing vocals echo the layered soundscape created by Timbaland. This indubitably allows them to feed off one another as far as creative techniques and arrangement go.

With regards to the lyrical content, JT talks about this ‘Tunnel Vision’ he has for his love interest, describing his infatuation in almost voyeuristic terms. His writing echoes his previous works in some ways; lyrical themes from ‘Cry Me a River’ or ‘My Love’ appear throughout this track.

Video :

The suave grey texture of the video matches the sinister vibe of the track. JT shows off his sweet moves that he is already quite known for and uses the syncopated beats to the advantage of his choreography. The ‘cool’ factor of the video is Timbaland appearance – or more accurately his mouth – beat-boxing along to the song. The more controversial element of the song comes in then. Timberlake decided to venture in the nude-art territory when he decided to have topless women feature in this music video. Not only are these women topless, but he dances fully clothed alongside them via projector montage. The video had to be taken off Youtube a few hours after its release and re-submitted with a content warning page to filter the traffic to the video. Now this may not be unpleasant to the majority of the male population viewing this video, however it feels a bit ‘déja-vu’ to have a playboy-looking type artist dancing alongside topless models.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell used this concept over the summer to release the video for their song ‘Blurred Lines’. It feels like the video to their song acts more as a sales tool than anything else though. The women casted for the part – very attractive albeit – are more there for show it feels. Thicke played off of the summer vibe and used this as a marketing technique; the ladies are walking around, topless, and randomly-timed hashtag words flash up on the screen in the hopes of brainwashing the audience. This is where JT differentiates his approach. The models are not striking random poses like they’re part of the furniture, they’re supplely dancing with a more ‘artsy’ feel to it. Kaleidoscopic patterns are projected overtop of them all the while and lyrics appear on the backdrop in a blended and non-aggressive, non-promotional way. Once again, the male population watching the video might not be complaining. But unfortunately, because of the length of the track the concept loses impact a good minute or two before the video ends.

Tunnel Vision :

Executive Producer: Jeff Nicholas
Produced by Jonathan Craven and Nathan Scherrer
Directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin and Jeff Nicholas for The Uprising Creative
Director Of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Editor: Jacqueline London


Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Just to refresh our minds, here is the quick rundown of our top hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012 according to Forbes “Cash Kings of 2012”:

  1. Dr. Dre – $110 Million
  2. P. Diddy – $45 Million
  3. Jay-Z – $38 Million
  4. Kanye West – $35 Million
  5. Lil Wayne – $27 Million
  6. Drake – $20.5 Million
  7. Birdman – $20 Million
  8. Nicki Minaj – $15.5 Million
  9. Eminem – $15 Million

Source: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

The reason why I chose this topic for my blog: As a future entrepreneur in the music/entertainment industry and also a big fan of hip hop music, I thought this (blogging for our artist management class) was the perfect opportunity to research about hip hop entrepreneurs and their different entrepreneurial business ventures.

My favorite entrepreneur on the list: No disrespect to Dr. Dre and his ridiculously successful business venture with his Beats by Dre headphones, but I thought overall Jay-Z had the most diverse and long-term growth potential portfolio. His partnerships with the Brooklyn Nets, New York Yankees, Live Nation and Duracell (just to name a few) are unparalleled and I can only imagine where his next investments will be. I honestly think Jay-Z will be able to top both Diddy and Dre in the next couple years.

And speaking of Jay-Z, I wanted to share a quick little video of a cute grandma not recognizing who the $475 million man is on the subway next to her: .

Who I see making top 9 next year that is not on the list: Although Forbes has him listed at number 15 this year with $7.5 Million, I honestly think Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent or Fiddy, is never out of the equation. He actually lead the entrepreneur list back in 2008 (http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00017719.html) with $150 Million, so knowing him, he is bound to make some big moves this coming year. Also, one of the main reasons why I chose 50 Cent is because word on the street says he traveled to Dubai this year to sell his new SMS wireless headphone product that is nearly indestructible. Of course, that is not the only reason why I chose Fiddy, but I see (expect) great things ahead for this former G-Unit member. Here is the link to his newest business venture:

Last words: Once again, thank you taking this 10-blog journey with me. I hope you found my blogs somewhat entertaining, interesting and/or resourceful to you.

And if you’re new to my blog, please check out my previous detailed blogs on each of the top 9 hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012.

*Please remember to like, comment and share my blogs with others!

Thank you.

By: Aaron (Duke)

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #3 JAY-Z


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: #3 JAY-Z

Name: Sean Corey Carter

Stage Name(s): Jay-Z

Age: 42

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #3 of 9

How Much??? $38 Million


Ok, moving on.

Jay-Z.  I’m pretty sure we all know what he’s been up to as a musician/CEO of Roc-Nation, but do we (really) know what he’s been up to lately as an entrepreneur? I took some time to research his recent ventures, and let’s just say, this man is ALL business. It’s amazing how he’s constantly involved in large projects that end up being lucrative beyond belief; he should literally be on the cover of Forbe’s magazine on every single issue!

Here are some RECENT business ventures he’s been on the past couple years:

  1. In 2003, Jay-Z first opened his 40-40 restaurant & bar night club chain. He has one in New York City, Atlantic City and now in Barclay’s Center (2012), where the new Brooklyn Net’s basketball team play. Link to the new 40-40 location in Brooklyn: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1694595/jay-z-welcomes-rihanna-j-cole-new-40-40-club-barclays.jhtml
  2. In April 2012, Jay-Z’s clothing company, Rocawear, landed a partnership deal with the New York Yankees. Here in the link: http://www.vibe.com/article/rocawear-announces-partnership-ny-yankees
  3. Jay-Z plans to open another 40-40 restaurant and bar chain in London, partnering up with famous footballer Ashley Cole. Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/05/us-jayz-ashleycole-idUSTRE76434720110705
  4. In June 2012, Jay-Z invested in Duracell Powermat – Proctor and Gamble’s Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies partnered together to create wireless mats that charge smartphones and other electronics by just laying them on these mats. Here is the link to Duracell’s Powermat commerical where “B” aka Beyonce is calling Jay-Z in the commerical: Here is the link to the venture: http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2012/06/jay-z-teams-up-with-duracell-and-powermat-for-wireless-power-nation-venture/
  5. In April 2012, Jay-Z joined forces with Will Smith to invest in Viddy, a new app similar to instagram, let’s iPhone users create short videos for friends. Here is the link to the venture between the two: http://uptownmagazine.com/2012/04/will-smith-jay-z-join-forces-for-latest-business-venture/. Will Smith and Jay-Z also made previous venture together a year ago involving Will’s daughter, Willow Smith, who is signed under Roc-Nation (Jay-Z’s label), to make a movie called “Annie.” Here is the link: http://hiphopwired.com/2011/01/26/jay-z-and-will-smith-start-movie-venture/
  6. Put out his second book, “Empire State of Mind: Jay-Z’s Journey from Street Corner to Corner Office” in 2011. http://www.amazon.com/Empire-State-Mind-Street-Corner/dp/1591845408
  7. Part ownership of the Brooklyn Nets (help relocate and build a new stadium in Brooklyn). Rumor has it that he only owns 1/15th of 1% (about 0.067%) of the New Jersey Nets, but he will be earning millions from it. Inside Barclay’s Center includes Jay-Z’s 40-40 restaurant, a Rocawear store and many other interesting arrangements that cater to Jay-Z’s interests, not to mention, eight sold out concerts in the arena. Here is the link for more information:http://www.businessinsider.com/jay-z-brooklyn-nets-power-2012-8
  8. In 2012, Jay-Z executive produces NBA 2K13, basketball video game from 2K Sports. More specifically, he oversaw the soundtrack of the game. Here is the trailer for the video game:
  9. In 2008, Live Nation made a 360-degree deal contract for $150 million with Jay-Z for the next decade. Here is the link: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1584696/jay-z-sign-150-million-live-nation-deal-report.jhtml (This is more old news, but I couldn’t leave it out because we’ve been talking about it a lot in our classes.)

Here is a link to an awesome video I found that wraps up Jay-Z’s business ventures in six minutes: Jay-Z’s Successes and Failures Video in 6 Minutes!

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have a wife that makes a ridiculous amount annually also. Beyoncé and Jay-Z together is the highest paid star couple of 2012. Here is the link to the exact amounts they both earned the past year: http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/09/beyonce-jay-z-worlds-highest-paid-star-couple/

As you can see, Jay-Z’s not going anywhere. I am really interested to see which industry Jay-Z decides to dominate next.

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” Jay-Z

Jay-Z is the 3rd most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

(We’re so close! Please stay tuned, and let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Extra sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

*Sources are provided within the post.


Do you remember this TV commercial?


And this one?


Budweiser, one of the highest selling beers in the US has also incorporated music as a marketing tool, in order to create its own brand image.

Budweiser beer is produced by Anheuser-Busch InBev., introduced in 1876 by its founder Adolphus Busch, and currently available in 80 markets worldwide. The firm is acknowledged by their humorous and foolish campaigns.

In the early 1990s, Anheuser-Busch brewery commissioned a popular song: “Under the Anheuser Bush”. The song was undoubtedly written to promote Budweiser’s consumption. Listen to it and pay attention to its chorus!.


Come, come, come and make eyes with me

Under the Anheuser bush

Come, come drink some “Budweis” with me

Under the Anheuser bush

Hear the old German band

Just let me hold your hand – ja-a!

Do, do come and have a stein or two

Under the Anheuser bush

The company has mainly promoted and sponsored several Music Festivals across US, Argentinian Atlantic Coast and also some local ones in Spain, but has not developed any digital platform for music streaming nor music contests as the ones launched by Corona.

Therefore, we can state that while Corona has strengthened its brand image based on different music programs, Budweiser has still lot to do.

In spite of that, the North American company has focused its music strategy on Live Performances obtaining numerous recognitions. One example is the Budweiser Made in America Fest that was held in Philadelphia last 1st and 2nd of September 2012, with Jay Z and Pearl Jam as main lure.

The event was a result of Budweiser, Live Nation and Jay-Z collaboration and will probably have future editions.

Budweiser was chosen as a partner from the beginning because, according to Steve Stoute, CEO of ad agency Translation:

“They own the trademark for Made In America, and the narrative of the Festival was everything Made In America stands for

The synergy allowed the event to be much more than just music and partying. Actually, art students around the country were invited to design their own version of the American flag!

If you want to experience Budweiser’s Live Fest while being in Spain you should attend the Benidorm Low Cost Festival, which will take place from 26 to 28 of July, 2013. Who is in?

Additional info:

Have a look at the following links for more information about Budweiser Music Tours, Budweiser on the Road Argentina and Made in America Fest 2012 editions









Monica Manubens


What’s in a Name? – A Story of Greed

“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.”

– Jay-Z

“Shut up Jay-Z, you’re going to poison your daughters mind god damnit.”

– Phillip Richard

Disclaimer: This blog post contains light, but frequent profanities. Don’t read if your offended by the english language. Also don’t read if you are a big fan of Beyonce and/or Jay-Z. Actually you know what, never-mind. Read it, it will be good for you. I honestly like their music too so whatever.

Well folks, it’s starting to get ugly out there. This is a story of people all over the place taking advantage of each other for personal profit. I don’t really know who wins, at the end of the day I guess they all do because the mind of innocent baby girl is left protected but as you’ll see it’s a crazy ass ride. I don’t know how to start or to even get my points across exactly, so I think I’ll begin by writing a script about a conversation that likely* happend (or at least something like it anyways) between the biggest couple business partnership in music around last January…

~  SCENE-1  ~

Jay-Z: “Holy shit Beyonce, this kid could be a bigger cash cow than all of our albums combined!”

Beyonce: “I know I can’t wait to exploit the hell out of her, but where do we start?”

Jay-Z: “Well, I suppose we turn her into a product A.S.A.P. ya dig? I mean we need to trademark her name/identity before anybody else does.”

Beyonce: “Genius! Let’s do that right meow. I’m going to milk this for all it’s worth. I’m talkin’ ‘Baby Blue Ivy’ bullshit all around: Baby Carriages, Baby Cosmetics, Baby Bibs, Chairs, Dolls…”

Jay-Z: “Hell even as insult to injury to all of our fans that will blow their entire paychecks on this crap, even if they don’t have kids, we will throw in some Diaper Bags!!!1 ‘Let your baby take a shit in our babies brand name shit.’ How’s that for a poetic metaphor?  No wonder we are multi-millionaire artists. Nothing can stop us now! hahahahahahlol

…or can it?


Well, if you didn’t follow any of that Beyonce and Jay-Z got the, (clearly in my opinion) tasteless, but smart business idea to trademark the name of their daughter Blue Ivy, to begin a line of beguiling baby products.

Unfortunately for them and fortuneatly for their daughter they weren’t able to trademark the name. I mean the girl is going to grow up in the most superficial environment possible already, with her mom being, to many, the most attractive woman in the world, and with too much wealth to possibly know what to do with. She’s right on track to being a spoiled shitty self-entitled materialistic itch-bay. Quite frankly having her own million dollar franchise before she even knows how to avoid vomiting on herself is a step closer to everything nobody wants Beyonce’s and Jay-Z’s child to be.

Anyways, they go to their lawyer and are all like, “Blah blah blah trademark my kids name.” And the lawyer is like “Sweet, ok. Give me too much money.” But the lawyer soon finds out he can’t do this because somebody else already has. Well, ladies and gentleman as you can imagine at this point shit hit the fan and this overindulged couple didn’t go down without a fight. Nine months of court cases and I’m sure millions of dollars coming off of trees for I.P. lawyers later the case was lost to Veronica Alexandra, a small Boston based business owner. Her company is called Blue Ivy and they plan weddings for people. How nice.

Let’s take some time to reflect. So far we have Jay-Z and Beyonce taking advantage of each others fortunes, then we have them trying to take advantage of their first and only daughter so far, then we have the lawyers dragging an expensive court case over a nine month period and we also have, which I have yet failed to mention, fashion designers already trying to trademark the name before them. Some douche-bag fashion designer by the name of Joseph Mbeh tried to trademark the name “Blue Ivy Carter NYC” four days after the kid was BORN. Someone else tried to trademark the name “Blue Ivy Carter Glory IV” for a damn fragrance. What on earth would that have smelled like? Petroleum jelly and baby powder!? You people sicken me. Finally, and most importantly we have Veronica Alexandra of Blue Ivy Events who is happily soaking in the publicity and increased business like a parched sponge. Seriously though, take a look at the front page of her website. http://www.blueivyevents.com

Seriously click it. Did you see that? I know right? It’s like the main feature on her front page. Look at all the sparkling stars and shit coming off of that once in a lifetime promotional opportunity. Damn. This small wedding planning company is probably going to explode so big that by the time it’s little Ivy’s turn to get married she probably won’t even be able to afford the damn service. Owell at least Veronica has the decency to admit that she is using and abusing the whole circumstance: “I can’t be frustrated with something I think is going to bring me to produce and define my brand even more, which is financially exciting in itself and intellectually exciting as well. It’s like they caused me to create more opportunity for myself.” However, as sad as it is, everyone has their price and Ms. Alexandra is still open to the possibility of a buy out.

Anyways this whole thing is both sad and hilarious to me. While most parents spend their time thinking of a name or a small gift or how wonderful it will be to watch them grow into happy contributing citizens, the Carter family is going through a trial to turn their daughter into a labelled, branded product.

People, especially Berklee students seem to be in a constant desire to live and lead the life of Beyonce and Jay-Z, or any other super star for that matter. We must remember that while it is important to brand yourself and your artistic work, as artists there is a fine line between your business and your personal life. Once those lines get crossed things can get all kinds of fucked up. Sell your products not your souls ladies and gentlemen.

Phillip Richard

*This means it almost certainly didn’t happen, please don’t sue me.

Sources and Further Reading: