All Articles Tagged "hip hop industry"
Every year the public is graced with several repetitive lists of some of the top money making men in hip-hop culture. We’ve learned not to flinch as we learn the huge sums reaped by repeat high-earners such as Jay-Z, Diddy, Kanye West and others. These “cash kings” (as they are called by Forbes) tip the scales as some of the most wealthy figures in today’s pop world. But even in an environment that is so male-dominated, these men are not the only ones who can rake in the big bucks. Female hip-hop icons are also making a lot of noise in and out of the studio, and collecting quite a bit of cash along the way. Let’s check out some of hip-hop’s top earning cash queens that prove ladies are also running things in the world of rap.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott : The Game Changer, $225 million
This unique recording artist and songwriter has been bringing her midas touch to the music industry for almost two decades now. Beginning as a songwriter for ’90s R&B super group Jodeci, Missy Elliott finally got her big break with her memorable verse on Gina Thompson’s 1996 single “The Things That You Do” Bad Boy remix. Since then things have gone nothing but uphill for this talented woman. On top of garnering five Grammy wins, Missy is also the only female rapper to have six albums certified platinum by the RIAA, including one double-platinum record with 2002’s “Under Construction.” She has sold over 7 million albums domestically, and holds songwriting and production credits for a number of top artists from Whitney Houston to Beyonce. And Missy doesn’t stop there. She has also snagged endorsement deals from top companies like Coca-Cola, Gap, M.A.C. Cosmetics, and even her own Adidas clothing line “Respect M.E.” Missy has also been endorsing several big checks at the bank, as she reportedly has an impressive net worth of $225 million. Now that’s hittin’ em with the hee!
Note: This list contains amalgamated estimates of each artist’s overall net worth based on earnings from record sales, touring and performances, brand endorsements, property and business investments, TV/film projects, etc. Sources include: www.celebritynetworth.com, www.hiphopqueens.com, www.globalgrind.com, www.wikipedia.com, and http://whatuwantnow.blogspot.com.
Over the weekend, I was watching the film “Letters To the President,” a documentary that showcases the hip-hop music community’s close-knit ties to the social and political policies of the last 30 years.
Back in the day, hip-hop reveled in revolutionary lyrics and imagery. Every rapper, regardless of their style, managed to incorporate a political message into their songs. Groups like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five delivered the Message and White Lines in between party joints like Scorpio and Freedom. Even the hardest “gangsta” rappers of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, such as Ice-T, Too Short and NWA used their platform to narrate stories about police brutality, the L.A. riots and other issues plaguing ghetto life.
But those days are gone and no longer do we have artists like Public Enemy telling us that we “Can’t Truss It” or Boogie Down Productions reminding us to watch out for the “Black Cop.” Instead, hip hop has traded in picket signs for Aston Martins, Rolexes, Christian Louboutins, and a bunch of other products that most of us can’t pronounce, let alone afford.
With the fragile housing market, a slow to recover economy, two—no, wait three—wars, rising gas and food prices, police brutality, and so forth, it’s not like there isn’t plenty of material for rappers to work with. So why hasn’t Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Waka Flocka, Nicki Minaj, or any other mainstream artist, been willing to use their music to discuss more than just what they got and what you ain’t got?
I thought long and hard about this topic, which has spurred dozens of conversations with fellow hip-hop heads that also feel slighted by the direction of the genre. As pointed out by Sean “Diddy” Combs: “people have figured out the formula when they make records for radio, and DJs ain’t DJs no more. DJs don’t break records no more. DJs don’t play album cuts. DJs play what is going to move the crowd. DJs, they don’t expose you to the newness.”
Although some might rightfully argue that Diddy himself has contributed to the downfall of the genre, he does makes a great point. Over the years, radio stations, which are now part of corporations, stopped being about balance and more about force feeding listeners a continual loop of the same six songs. Case in point: probably one of the dopest political theme songs to come out in the last few months was Pharoahe Monch’s “Clap,” which took aim at all of the questionable police raids and shootings that have been making headlines around the country. Around the same time, Travis Porter’s ”Make it Rain,” a trap-rap booty bouncer about paying woman to take off their clothes, among other things, was released. Guess which of the two received regular radio play and which was banished to YouTube?
But of course, radio stations should not feel that they have to shoulder the blame all on their own because the music industry itself is just as culpable. In their haste to “get money,” the corporate side of the art form has made it difficult – if not impossible – for positive and/or political hip hop music to reach the masses.
With rap music sales dropping by 44 percent since 2000, record company A&R executives are going to appeal to what they feel will guarantee a hit. Unfortunately, a hit that will sell means drugs, violence, misogyny, materialism and the ill informed.
Which brings me to my final point: the fans. Yeah, you guys who will rush to support empty lyrics and content just because it has a good beat. Like the A&R executives, radio stations and rappers, we, the fans, started watching the Billboard charts and basing a rapper’s worth on how much money they generated, how many women they had in their videos, and how many albums they sold as opposed to what they were actually saying in their music.
Hip-hop used to be that mirror that was held up to the rest of world exposing conditions of what it was like to be poor and black in America. But today, that image is a little fuzzy and distorted. I’m not saying it’s all hip-hop’s fault, since it appears that we’re all guilty of being less politically active and concerned as a community like we were nearly two to three decades ago. However, I worry for the younger generation who will never get a chance to experience the art of hip-hop the way people of my generation did.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(HipHopDX) — Billboard reports that Hip Hop was the only genre to see an overall rise in sales. For the most part, 2010 was another down year for the music business seeing overall sales dip another 12.8% compared to 2009’s figures. But not everyone refused to part with some cash for their music. Fans of rap showed their support and helped that genre actually see an increase in sales for the year. The gain was only 3% but in this economy and in this industry any increase is something to celebrate.
(Uptown) — SHE IS: A music industry vet who began her 20-year career with LaFace Records before rising to executive vice president of urban marketing and artist development under Sylvia Rhone at Universal Motown Records. She has promoted many top-selling artists, including OutKast, Erykah Badu,TLC, Prince, John Legend, and Nas. Now she runs her own entertainment marketing company, PressReset.me, whose clients include Devyne Stephens’ Upfront Megatainment, home of music artist Akon. CHANGE OF SCENERY: Her mother’s health issues, coupled with her own, prompted the Syracuse grad to reevaluate her life and move back home to Atlanta. “I was in New York for the past 10 years. It was an amazing experience, but I just wasn’t being fulfilled on a personal level and I pretty much have given my life to building my career,” Das says. “I just was ready for a change…. I’ve never been happier.”
(New York Times) — It was early last Saturday morning, or perhaps very, very late the previous night, when the stream of emotional posts began appearing on Kanye West’s Twitter feed: “The media tried to demonize me,” “I felt the recession from the ownership side,” “I’m ready to get out of my own way,” “I’m sorry Taylor.” Unexpected candor or publicity stunt? Both?
by Sheryl Nance-Nash
Shondrae “Bangladesh” Crawford says he isn’t the kind of person to just let things be. He wasn’t content to stay in his native Des Moines, Iowa and left more than a decade ago to capitalize on the Atlanta music scene.
The former barber saved up money to buy his own beat machine in 1998. Two years later, the producer, now a nominee for VIBE’s Best Producer of All-Time award, had his first big hit with Ludacris’ “What’s Your Fantasy.” He has since worked with the likes of Beyonce, Missy Elliott, Usher, Busta Rhymes, Sean Garrett and Ciara, but the name that’s on his mind right now is Lil’ Wayne.
Earlier this year he filed suit against Cash Money Records over an estimated $500,000 in royalty checks he says he’s owed for producing Lil’ Wayne’s mega-hit “A Milli”, that earned him the Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2009 Grammy’s and helped push Tha Carter III to platinum status in one week.
The situation highlights the complications of the music business and the bad business practices which hinder the work of many behind-the-scenes music makers.
What did you have in place to protect yourself?
I had a standard contract. There was nothing in it that gave them the right not to pay. They just aren’t paying.
Is this situation unusual?
Yes. I get paid royalties from other people without problems. I get royalties from Beyonce and she’s bigger than Lil’ Wayne. Everybody is supposed to get paid. I am not the only one who is owed money by Cash Money. I’m the one speaking up though. Nobody has received money. Others are scared to say something because they don’t want to burn bridges. But I say, what bridge are you burning?
They are not going to use you again if they owe you money. I don’t care how another man feels about his credibility if he isn’t doing the right thing. I’m not worried about stepping on Lil’ Wayne’s toes. I’m not worried about what people think – that’s why I made it where I am. I’m my own person. Cash Money has a history of not paying. Manny Fresh wasn’t getting paid, which is why he is no longer with the company. If they will do their own people like that, they will do worse with outsiders.
Whose responsibility is it to pay you: the artist or the record company?
They are an independent company.. They get all their money up front and control the distribution of the money. It’s up to them to pay me. I’m not just asking for money like I’m broke. I’m owed this money. Tha Carter III sold something like 4 million albums and went platinum in a week. I should have gotten paid in the first royalty period, which is usually 6-9 months. This isn’t really Lil’ Wayne’s fault. He’s caught in the situation. At one time he was trying to leave Cash Money. I think deep down inside he understands what I’m going through.
Why are you taking a stand on this?
When people break contracts you have to make the next step. Everybody is trying to save money. It’s all about politics. If the label gives a $1 million budget, the company is going to try and keep as much as they can at the expense of quality. They try to compensate and spend money on what’s not so great. They depend on the big name to carry the song, and think the beat is less important.
Has this experience changed you, or how you do business?
I’m built for this. It hasn’t changed me. I want to bring attention to this, so that other people will know who they’re dealing with if they want to do business with Cash Money.
What advice do you have for those getting started in the business?
Don’t be gullible. Don’t be so happy to get that first contract. Know what you’re getting into. You don’t want to realize later, I signed a bad contract. Once you sign it, you can’t get mad at nobody.