Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #4 Kanye West

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: #4 Kanye West

Name: Kanye Omari West

Stage Name(s): Kanye West

Age: 35

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #4 of 9

How Much??? $35 Million

As promised, we finally have an artist not affiliated with Cash Money Records (no offense).

Born in Atlanta but raised in Chicago, Kanye is an art college drop-out who teamed up with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records and eventually sold over 30 million digital songs in his career.  He is one of the most decorated artists (award-wise) of all time, and wherever he goes, people listen. But when he’s not stealing the microphone (get it?), he’s constantly looking for new business ventures to start.

Here are some of his past/present/future business ventures:

1. He created G.O.O.D. (Getting Out Our Dreams) Music record label in 2004. Couple artists under the label are: John Legend, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Mos Def, Pusha T and Q-Tip.

2. Kanye plans to set up 10 Fat Burgers restaurant chains in the Chicago area under his holding company, KW Foods LLC, in 2008. So far, only two have been opened. (Here in the link: http://allhiphop.com/2010/11/22/kanye-west-goes-into-fast-food-with-10-fatburger-restaurants/)

3. In 2011, West partnered up with Parlux Fragrances to create his own cologne which will be in stores this year. (Here is the link: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.12878/title.kanye-west-to-release-a-cologne-fragrance-in-2011)

4. Started a design company called DONDA (named after his deceased mother) that “will galvanize amazing thinkers and put them in a creative space to bounce there dreams and ideas… I am assembling a team of architects, graphic designers, directors musicians, producers, AnRs, writers, publicist, social media experts… app guys, managers, car designers, clothing designers, DJs, video game designers, publishers, tech guys, lawyers, bankers, nutritionist.” (Kanye on his Twitter account, Jan. 5, 2012). To learn more, here is the link of an article that explains his company more in detail: http://www.mtv.co.uk/news/kanye-west/341610-kanye-west-donda-twitter-mtv-vmas-yeezy)

5. The Fashion Industry: In 2009, Kanye introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week. In 2011, he premiered his first women’s clothing line called DW at Paris Fashion Week with his Spring/Summer 2012 Collection. Then, about seven months later, he presented his Fall Collection 2012 at the same event. But after months of studying/interning in Japan and Italy (worked at Fendi, had a contract with Louis Vuittion, and turned down Versace offer), and even after creating a small design studio is Paris, Kanye was still heavily criticized and gained little respect for his works. He decided not to attend the most recent Fashion Paris Week. For now, his fashion endeavors are on hold. (Here is the link to Kanye’s late night twitter ramblings about the whole experience: http://fashionista.com/2012/01/kanye-west-interned-at-fendi-turned-down-a-gig-at-versace-is-working-on-his-fashion-line-in-london-and-other-things-we-learned-from-his-epic-late-night-twitter-ramble/ Here is the link to some of the criticisms he received for his work: http://www.businessinsider.com/kanye-west-fashion-collection-reviews-2012-9?op=1)

(What do you guys think?)

Although some ventures were considered expenses rather than investments, Kanye was still able to rack up $35 million (mostly thanks to his music) this year – making him the 4th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

(In a couple days, I will post up #3! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

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

*Sources are provided within the post.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #5 Lil’ Wayne

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: #5 Lil’ Wayne

Name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.

Stage Name(s): Lil’ Wayne

Age: 30

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #5 of 9

How Much??? $27 MILLION

Turn on MTV, in fact, turn on any entertainment channel for that matter, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Lil’ Wayne. I swear – he’s everywhere. Many of us know who he is and what’s he’s done in the music industry already, so I’ll cut right to the chase.

Here are some of many business ventures and endorsements that I’ve found that Lil’ Wayne has been on in the past decade:

1. The business venture that triggered all the other ventures in his career – the creation of Young Money Entertainment record label back in 2003. Young Money (which is now called YMCMB, a joint record label with Birdman’s label) is now arguably the hottest record label out today. Just look at their impressive artist lineup: Christina Milian, Cory Gunz, Drake, Flow, Gudda Gudda, Jae Millz, Lil’ Chuckee, Lil’ Twist, Mack Maine, Nicki Minaj, PJ Morton, Shanell, Short Dawg, T-Streets, Torion, and Tyga.

2. Exclusively partnered with Bogey Cigars in 2008 to market different flavored cigars. (If you enter the site, you’ll see Lil’ Wayne face everywhere. Here is the link: http://www.bogeycigars.com)

3. Partnered with SUPRA shoe line to introduce the new “Chimera” in June 2012 (He premiered the new kicks in Las Vegas on August 20, 2012. Here is the link: http://rapfix.mtv.com/2012/08/21/lil-wayne-debuts-supra-sneakers-vegas/)

4. Moutain Dew is working with Lil’ Wayne to campaign “DEWeezy” that includes advertisement appearances and building a skate park in Lil Wayne’s hometown. Here is a clip of one of his commercials:

5. Lil’ Wayne will be releasing a book called “Gone Till November” May 14, 2013. His book is about his incarceration from March to November back in 2010. (If you’re a Lil’ Wayne fan, his book is originally listed as $25.99, but it’s $17.15 if you buy it on Amazon! Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Till-November-Lil-Wayne/dp/1455515264)

6. Lil’ Wayne released his new clothing line “TRUKFIT” in early 2012. (For more info, here is the link: http://trukfit.com/)

7. Partnered with Beats by Dre to create his own bright-red “Tunechi Beats” headphones. (Here is the link: http://keepittrill.com/online/2012/09/lil-wayne-celebrates-tunechi-beats-dre-headphone-release-pictures/)

I’ve always heard that a successful businessman has at least three sources of income; Lil’ Wayne has AT LEAST seven. In one of his recent radio interviews, he stated that he wishes to retire at the age of 35 to focus more on his children – I’d say he’s on the right track, wouldn’t you say?

Lil’ Wayne is the 5th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in 2012 – coming in with $27 Million.

And I promise, this is the last time we’ll be talking about another Cash Money member.

(In a couple days, I will post up #4! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Sources: http://www.lilwaynehq.com/business-ventures/

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

*Other sources are provided within the post.

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: http://realtalkny.uproxx.com/2010/01/topic/topic/news/birdman-gets-into-the-oil-business/

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: http://theversed.com/2012/03/28/cash-money-ceo-birdman-talks-upcoming-business-deals-including-a-potential-film/

3. He has his own clothing line YMCMB, which stands for Young Money Cash Money Billionares. Source: http://www.ymcmbofficial.com/

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

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #8 NICKI MINAJ

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: #8 NICKI MINAJ

Name: Onika Tanya Maraj

Stage Name: Nicki Minaj

Age: 28

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #8 of 9

How Much??? $15.5 MILLION

Surprised?

So am I.

Don’t get me wrong, musically she is arguably the best female Hip Hop artist of all time. She has definitely earned her stripes in the game by being the first female solo artist (under Cash Money Records) to have seven singles on Billboard Hot 100 at the same time plus six BET Awards, two American Music Awards, two MTV Music Awards, and Billboard’s 2011 Rising Star Awards … all in just two years – kudos to her.

But come on, Nicki Minaj as the 8th most successful Hip Hop Entrepreneur of 2012?

I had to check for myself, and here’s what I found:

1. Fashion Industry: She signed a multi-million dollar endorsement with ADIDAS for their Fall/Winter 2012 marketing campaign, in collaboration with Jeremy Scott.

Source: http://hiphopwired.com/2012/04/12/cake-nicki-minaj-inks-adidas-endorsement-deal-photos/

2. Cosmetic Industry: Nicki is also endorsed by MAC Cosmetics, with her own MAC Lip Stick line (which made over $250,000,000!!!)

Source: http://mog.com/blog_post/content/4125/2534654

3. Beverage Industry: She signed a SEVEN-FIGURE endorsement with Pepsi to market and launch their new Pepsi product, POP.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nicki-minaj-signs-seven-figure-301715

4. Cosmetic Industry: OPI Nail Polish endorsed Nicki’s launch of her first nail polish collection.

Source: http://rollingout.com/entertainment/nicki-minaj-launching-her-first-opi-nail-polish-collection

5. Toy Industry: She has her own Barbie Doll made by MATTEL (though only for charity, still a big accomplishment for her brand)

Source: http://www.billboard.com/news/nicki-minaj-barbie-doll-a-very-major-moment-1005603722.story#/news/nicki-minaj-barbie-doll-a-very-major-moment-1005603722.story

On top of all that, Nicki Minaj also has her new clothing line coming out soon and will also serve as a judge on the 12th season of American Idol starting this January.

Wow, who woulda thunk?…

So after doing a little bit of research, I was sold – coming in with $15.5 Million, our “Hip Hop Barbie” Nicki Minaj has automatically earned her spot as the 8th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

(In a couple days, I will post up #7! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

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

(awards source: wiki)

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #9 EMINEM

Image(Picture source: wir.skyrock.net)

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: #9 EMINEM

Name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III

Stage Name: EMINEM

Age: 39

Forbes Celebrity List: #71 out of 100

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

How Much??? $15 MILLION

What more could you ask for from a guy who sold over 32 million copies in his music career and has 13 Grammy’s under his belt? Nothing.

But Eminem decided to add to his already impressive resume by starting his own record company in 1999 called Shady Records and signing big-time acts such as D12, 50 Cent, Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden, Slaughterhouse, and Joell Ortiz (just to name a few). In 2002, he took the film industry by storm, playing a leading role in a feature film called 8 Mile. The film grossed over $242,875,078 and won an Academy Award for “Best Original Song.” In 2003, Eminem made a huge splash in the fashion industry with his brand and clothing line, Shady Ltd., making an instant impact on urbanwear. (Shady Ltd. was eventually acquired by Rocawear, Jay-Z’s clothing line.) He also created his own radio channel, Shade 45, which first aired on Sirius XM Radio in 2004, featuring different hip hop artists and DJs while giving a platform for Eminem to connect with his fans all around the world. The popularity of his channel has been growing ever since.

Today, although he is not as active as before in front of the camera, he has been working fervently behind the scenes on many different projects as a music producer. He also announced in July 2012 that he was currently working on his 8th studio album that will be released sometime in 2013. He has made special cameo appearances in different films and television series such as Funny People and The Entourage.

From music, to movies, to TV and fashion, Eminem has made his an everlasting mark in the entertainment industry – easily placing him as the 9th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur in the year of 2012 with $15 Million.

(In a couple days, I will post up #8! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Sources:

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

http://www.forbes.com/profile/eminem/

http://www.entreceleb.com/2011/10/eminem-business-cypher.html