All Articles Tagged "run athletics"
By Mary Worrell
It’s not too much of a stretch to say that most people want to be number one in something. They want to lead a successful company or team, own their own business, and be a leader. But behind all great leaders and cultural influencers are behind-the-scenes advisors and friends. No one’s an island.
Rasheed Young is happy to play second fiddle to his bosses and friends Rev Run and Russell Simmons. “Man B” as he likes to call himself. The almost-40-year-old New York native will proudly rattle off comparisons of himself to TV butlers like “Benson” or Geoffrey from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
“I’m president of Run Athletics, but I like to leave that title alone because I’m such a renaissance man. I like to call myself a consigliere,” Young said. “I’m the man behind the bosses.”
It’s this willingness to serve and work where needed without a clear reward in sight that brought Young from the streets of Hollis Queens in New York City, looking for the next big rap act, to an office alongside some of the biggest names in hip-hop history.
While Young hadn’t yet found his passion, he went to Jamaica College to try and find it. He started out majoring in accounting, but was a terrible mathematics student. “My biggest game was talking my way through things,” he said. “All my friends were musicians at that moment and all I could do was wait for the next tour or party.”
His college career came to a halt Dec. 12, 1992. “That was when I woke up. My mother was murdered,” Young said.
Without a father and having just lost his mother, Young was in a daze of grief. “I was looking at the coffin and saying ‘I need to finish college for my mother,’” he said. “I have to grow up.”
For nearly five years Young tried to overcome his grief and finish college with a degree in-hand. “I was no long interested in finding rap’s new act. I just wanted to graduate. Period,” he said.
He switched from the math struggles of his accounting major to marketing and worked a number of office jobs, including a brief stint as a junior accountant for Time Warner. “Here was this black kid not knowing what he’s doing,” he recalled. “I talked my way into so many jobs and places and charmed my way into situations. The bosses loved me. They wanted me around.”
But Young quickly realized the mundane nature of corporate culture wasn’t for him. With one last paycheck on the way, he packed his bags and picked up a ticket to the Dominican Republic where he stayed for a month before heading to Miami for six more months. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going or why, but he just felt the need to leave the city.
A friend eventually convinced Young to drive back to New York with him. Soon after returning to New York, a friend asked Young to join a clothing company venture that would utilize the musicians and rappers in Young’s network to wear and market the business. The company, Cash is King, launched in 1998.
The business did well, but Young knew it needed a big name behind it to be anything more than a small-time venture.
“Artists at the time were figuring out they were good ambassadors for brands and I knew I needed the power of somebody big behind CIK,” he said. “That group, for me, was Run-D.M.C.”
A bit of serendipity would bring Young and Rev Run together and start their long-time, mentor-friend business partnership. Young read a magazine article featuring rappers and their houses and realized the house where Rev Run and his wife lived was right around the corner. Young wrote a long letter to Rev Run begging Run-D.M.C. to back the clothing line.