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by R. Asmerom

Entourages have always been part of the rap game. But these days, the entourage is part of the act. From Death Row to The Diplomats, hip hop has turned to creating artistic alliances as a way to build business and a strong brand value. Capitalizing on a classic business model, famous artists like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne leverage their own fame to push new artists, thereby expanding their own companies, procuring creativity into the music marketplace and proving their own business hustler savvy.

But as we all know, some business ventures succeed. Some don’t. We collaborated with Erin O’Patton, author of  “Under the Influence: Tracing the Hip-Hop Generation’s Impact on Brands, Sports & Pop Culture”, and founder and principal of branding consulting firm TMG to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a few of the hip-hop families that have come, gone and sustained.

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