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Table of Contents
Preface ..............................................................................................................1


Dr Dre................................................................................................................6
Dre’s Success Strategies ................................................................................12

P. Diddy...........................................................................................................15
Diddy’s Success Strategies .............................................................................24

Jay-Z ...............................................................................................................26
Jay-Z’s Success Strategies .............................................................................31

Eminem ...........................................................................................................34
Eminem’s Success Strategies .........................................................................41

50 Cent............................................................................................................43
50 Cent’s Success Strategies..........................................................................50

Secrets Revealed – The 8 Success Strategies You Can
Steal From the Hip Hop Masters .....................................................................52

Resources .......................................................................................................59

Info ..................................................................................................................61
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This book is not really about what you see in the introduction –
it’s not about Dr. Dre, Eminem or any other of the HipHop
Millionaires. This book is a how-to book. How to set goals, how to
overcome obstacles, how to achieve your dreams, how to make a
difference in the world. There are lots of bright young people out
there with great potential – but they don’t use it. There are many
reasons why, and lots of people have lots of opinions about the root
causes. We don’t care about “why” it’s that way. We care about how
to change it. Inspiration is the spark that can start a fire, and this
book is full of inspiration.
Maybe you’re one of these young bright people who’s reading
this right now. Maybe you know one of these young bright people.
Ever wonder why these kids don’t listen to “common sense”? Well,
for some people “common” means: poverty, drugs, violence and
The secrets revealed in this book are not new. They’ve been
around as long as human societies existed. But in every society only
a small percentage of people knew of these secrets and made use of
them: Successful people. Powerful people. Rich people. People that
made a difference in the world (good or bad, but they did!). Usually
these lessons are handed down from parents to the kids, that’s why
you find so many families that have great power and wealth since
many generations already. And then there are always some people
who make it on their own – they just start with a burning desire, make
lots of mistakes, learn from experience and figure these lessons out
by themselves. This book is about these people and about the
lessons that brought them from the streets to the top of the mountain.
What you have in your hands here is powerful knowledge. But it’s not
enough to put it in your head. It does you no good if you just know it.
In order to achieve your goals and realize your dreams you’ll have to

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In a music industry once dominated by rock and roll, rap and
hip-hop stars have risen to unprecedented power, fame and wealth.
In the United States, both rap and hip hop are growing at an
unbelievable rate. The genres are growing more than any other type
of music. In 1998, of the $12.3 billion music sales, hip hop and rap
represented more than 10% of the total sales

The explosion of the genre can be attributed to the
commercial success of several rappers like Jay-Z, A Tribe Called
Quest and Outkast. The musical art form has permeated almost
every aspect of Western culture from language to style, especially
with the youth. There is a whole hip hop culture, and it evolved from
rap music.

Hip-hop History and Culture

The hip-hop genre began in the 1970s in the streets,
basements, and house parties of New York. The sound was
characterized by funky beats and rhythm. It evolved out of African
oral tradition, and other genres of music like rock’n’roll and the blues.

In the mid 1970s rap began to explode out of the Bronx. An
entire hip-hop culture of urban black youth was evolving and it
included DJs scratching, breakdancing, and graffiti. It was a new
form of artistic and poetic expression, straight from the streets.
Commercial hip-hop and rap’s evolution really started with the
release of Sugar Hill’s “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979. It was a huge hit
for the group, and they enjoyed enormous success based on the

Soon, people really began to take notice of rap music. Its
message was clear: rage from the urban black youth population
toward the system and the police. Rap was full of stories about what
was going on in the streets and neighborhoods: lots of crime,
violence and drugs. It was rebellion against the attitude that America
held for the urban youth population.

Rap music represented a way for the youth to express their
discontent with the way they viewed the system that seemed to

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control them. It was a platform for expression and it’s popularity kept
on growing.

The success of “Rapper’s Delight” helped push rap into the
mainstream. The music industry finally began taking notice of the
rap phenomenon. Even other industries like the press and film
industry were interested.

The face of popular culture was changing; hip-hop was not to
be a flash in the pan. Other artists such as Fats Boys, Whoodini, and
most famously, Run DMC started gaining mainstream success. It
was clear that rap and hip-hop were here to stay; the potential for
development of the rap and hip-hop style of music seemed endless.
Today, an entire culture has developed out of hip-hop. This is
evident is the influence the music genre has had on language, style,
fashion, tends, and behavior. In less than 40 years, rap and hip-hop
music have permeated the culture of North America, and its influence
continues to grow throughout the world.

Our Focus

There several artists on the scene today who have become
hip hop success stories. The purpose of this eBook is to introduce
these artists and to explore how they became so successful, so that
you can learn powerful strategies for success in your life! These
artists did not simply climb to the top of their game by sheer luck.
They worked hard and they started out slowly. It wasn’t easy for a
single one of them.

However, they don’t all share the same story. There are
similar aspects to each of their success strategies, but the artists all
approached their art form from a different direction. With those
strategies, extreme determination and a little bit of luck, these artists
have become the best-known names in the hip hop industry.

The strategies employed by these artists are varied. First, a
strategy common to every successful hip hop artist is hard work and
persistence. In terms of gaining credibility, rappers use
techniques like networking, performing on the underground circuit,
releasing free mix compilations on the street, and entering rapping

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Most hip hop artist and rappers engage in a lot of self
promotion. If you’re an unknown on the scene, most people are
unwilling to take a chance on you until they’ve heard you and
decided they like your sound. Self-promotion is unrelenting. It
involves using every single opportunity to get your name out there.
Once other people begin to take notice of an up-and-coming artist,
other strategies begin to come into effect.

A great strategy to use at this point, if possible is celebrity
endorsement. This is sort of like mentoring. Those who are already
successful in the industry are always looking for fresh new talent.
Finding a mentor who will promote you goes a really long way to
cementing your credibility as an artist. These types of affiliations also
lead to networking. The more people you know, and the more
people know you and start to recognize you, the better your chances
of success become.

After enjoying a certain amount of success, strategies for
success tend to evolve into strategies for gaining and increasing
wealth. Making investments outside of the music industry has
become a very popular strategy for successful hip hop artist.
Creating clothing lines and opening restaurants and nightclubs are
good examples of this type of diversification.

In addition to putting their assets into other ventures, some
rappers also take on different roles. Acting is a popular role for
rappers to cross into, either playing themselves, taking on main roles,
or making cameo appearances in films, television and even video
games. Taking on different roles is a success strategy for a number
of reasons; it shows versatility and talent in the hip hop star; they
gain credibility in their field; and most importantly, it gives them
access to a wider fan base.

However, these different success strategies are not enough on their
own. Becoming successful and achieving goals requires a strong
work ethic and real drive. There’s got to be passion involved, and
emerging artists must be prepared to take rejection over and over
again. It’s just the nature of the business. You definitely can’t quit
after one failure; it takes persistence to make it big.

The artists portrayed in the following pages are prime
examples of how to become successful. They worked hard,
employed various strategies and are currently reaping the rewards of

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their success. These stars are: Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Eminem,
and 50 Cent.

The strategies that will be discussed in this book are very
valuable tools for achieving success. Coupled with talent, hard work,
dedication and drive, these strategies will take a career that is just
starting out to the next level.

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Dr Dre
André Young, born February 18, 1965, in South Central, LA, is
one of today’s most recognized names in the rap industry, as well as
in the entire music industry. He is a pioneer in his genre, basically
introducing gangsta rap and his own personal version of the sound
called G-Funk. He is also attributed with changing the image of hip
hop. He is perhaps most famous for his producing skills and has
lead several other rappers to success.

An extremely successful man, Dr Dre has had numerous
accomplishments in both the music and film industries. Between
1987 and 1999, Dre released 12 albums, receiving much critical
acclaim and mainstream acceptance for the album “The Chronic” in
1992. In 1999, he released “Dr. Dre 2001”, which garnered a lot of
airplay and boosted his fame even further. He has also appeared on
or produced over 20 compilations and soundtracks. Most famously,
he discovered Eminem, making him famous by promoting him and
producing his albums.

Awards and Credits

Dr Dre also has awards to his credit. In 1995 he won an MTV
Music Video Award for the hit single “Keep their heads Ringin”. In
2001, he became the very first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for
Producer of the Year. In addition, Rolling Stone Magazine voted him
the 54th Greatest Rock‘n’Roll Artist of all time.

Dre also has an impressive filmography, including credits for
acting, writing, producing, composing, directing, miscellaneous crew,
and for appearing as himself. There are dozens and dozens of films
listed in his filmography.

With so many credentials, accomplishments, and awards, it’s
no wonder Dr Dre is so successful. He has so much experience in
the music and film industry that his credibility is rock solid. You don’t
get much more impressive than Dr Dre.

Dre’s early albums were violent and dark, but contained a
cautionary tone about criminal activity and gang violence. Later, in
his records with NWA, Dr Dre would change his style, creating
gangsta rap and gangsta-funk. In these albums he celebrated the

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dark side of gangster life, reveling in the violence, cruelty and death
that are the constant companions of a gangster.

Dre got his start in the early eighties as a DJ at a Los Angeles
nightclub called Eve After Dark. All of this was happening during the
birth of the west coast hip-hop movement.

He found himself performing on stage at clubs as well as
house parties around South Central Los Angeles, usually
accompanied by the World Class Wreckin’ Cru. Born André, he
started calling himself Dr Dre (a nickname-short fro André) and wore
a surgical mask while performing.

He met Ice Cube in 1986, and the two became immediate
friends, writing and performing together. They started writing songs
and lyrics for a label called Ruthless Records, which had been
started by a former drug dealer named Eazy-E.

Despite their collaborative efforts, Dr Dre and Ice Cube could
not seem to find any measurable success. The public was just not
buying what they had to offer. It seemed like a desperate situation-
the two MCs could not make any money, and therefore had a difficult
time making a living.

The Birth of NWA

The situation came to a head when one of the groups signed
to Ruthless Records, HBO, refused to use a song that Dre and Ice
Cube had written. The 2 angry MCs, along with Eazy-E, decided to
form their own group called NWA (Niggaz With Attitude) and signed
with Priority.

Along with group newcomers M.C. Ren and DJ Turner, NWA
released its first album in 1987. Two years later, the group dropped
its second album called “Straight Outta Compton”. The album was
distributed by the Priority Records label, and the album was a huge
hit on the underground music scene. It was a hit despite any support
from the press, radio or MTV, which at the time, didn’t even air rap
videos. It was a triumph for the group, and it showed that hip-hop
was on the rise despite the lack of help from mainstream radio and
record producers.

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The hit album was incredibly violent, containing vicious and
misogynistic lyrics. It was pure gangsta rap. NWA soon became
infamous for their lyrics, and were heavily criticized for a song called
“Fuck Tha Police”. The song hit a nerve with the FBI, who actually
sent a warning message to both Ruthless and Priority. This was to
be the first of several encounters Dre would have with the police.

When the group was at its peak, Ice Cube suddenly left NWA.
The departure was related to disagreements over finances with Dre.
Without any warning, Dre found himself in charge of the music. In
1992, despite the huge success of the group, Dre decided to leave
NWA and go out on his own. He felt he was being underpaid and
undervalued, which was probably true since he had produced 7 of
the 8 albums that NWA had put out.

Thrown Into Producing and the Creation of Death Row

He decided to co-found his own label, Death Row Records,
with Suge Knight. However, the NWA had a huge problem with Dre
breaking his contract. It’s reported that in order to get Dre out of the
contract, Knight threatened NWA’s manager at gunpoint to release
Dre from his contract. Dre didn’t find out for some time how he had
gotten out of his contract. But it didn’t matter to him. All that
mattered was making music and rapping.

Soon after, Dre discovered, through his step-brother Warren-
G, Snoop Dogg. Snoop and Dre would go on to become close
friends, and Snoop was a big contributor on Dre’s first solo album,
“The Chronic”.

Released in 1992, with a title referring to marijuana, it was the
debut of Dre’s elastic G-funk sound. It was a smash hit. Not only did
it receive critical acclaim, but it also became a massive commercial
success. Hit singles like “Dre Day” and “Nuthin but a ‘G’ Thang”
ensured that the album stayed on the Billboard charts for 8 months.

After the success of “The Chronic”, Dre turned his attention to
producing. Death Row Records was doing phenomenally well
thanks to artists like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Dre produced
Snoop Doggy Dogg’s four times platinum Doggystyle, which debuted
at number 1 on the charts, as well as producing and appearing in
2pac’s “California Love”.

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The success of the 2Pac and Snoop Dogg catapulted Dr Dre
to the top of the industry. His successful collaboration with 2Pac on
“California Love” proved that he was a major force to be reckoned

Dre was on top of the world. His producing career was really
taking off, and he was working with big names. He really didn’t need
to be making any more solo albums because he was rising fast as a
producer. He was dictating the direction of Death Row Records and
discovering new talent.

An Eye For Talent

Dre had quite an eye for talent. He could recognize in others
what he himself had. There are lots of big stars today, including
Snoop Dogg and Eminem, who owe their success to Dr Dre.

Throughout his career, Dr Dre seems to have rooted through
the thousands of wanna-be rap stars and found the really talented
ones. Or maybe it’s just that he has the Midas Touch. However he
does it, Dre’s eye for talent is probably the biggest reason for his
success, both as an artist and as a producer. He has spent his
career building himself up, by building up others around him. By
choosing who he works with and who he will promote, Dre has
shaped the rap music industry. He did this from the very start, during
his time at Death Row, and also subsequently.

During his time at Death Row, Dre orchestrated several
soundtracks including ‘Murder Was The Case’ and ‘Above the Rim’.
In addition to producing “Doggystyle”, he was also at the fore front of
hit records like Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”, “Natural Born Killaz”- a
reunion with Ice Cube, and Warren G’s “Regulate”. Although Dre
released no new solo records during this time, he was already busy
enough churning out big stars. You couldn’t listen to mainstream
hip-hop without hearing something related to Dr Dre. Many of his
peers in the industry were mimicking his sound; he had become the
prime influence of his day.
Breaking Out on His Own

Although everything seemed to be going really well at Death
Row Records, Dre was becoming frustrated with Knight’s
overbearing ways. In addition, it seemed no one had any time for
Dre. The label was putting all of its energy into promoting Tupar

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Shakur’s debut album called “All Eyez on Me”. Snoop was out of the
game for awhile, trying to recover from the ordeal of his murder trial.

Finally, Dre was so fed up with what was going on, he left
Death Row Records, declaring that gangsta rap was dead. In the
summer of 1996 he formed the label Aftermath Entertainment.

In retrospect, Dre was very shrewd in leaving Death Row.
Soon after he left, tragedy struck: both 2Pac and the Notorious B.I.G.
were murdered. The deaths put an end to the East Side versus West
Side hip-hop war that had been raging. To top it off, Suge Knight
was later arrested on racketeering charges and sent to jail to serve
his sentence. It represented the demise of Death Row.

Sharp Business Instincts

Dre’s business instincts are sharp. His gut instinct told him
that he should leave Death Row before it collapsed. Dre realized
that gangsta rap was on the decline. Why put more resources into
something that won’t have any returns in a few years? He
recognized that it was time to move on and change with the times.

Being flexible, like Dr Dre, is absolutely necessary to surviving
and prospering in the music industry. It is essential to be in tune with
the marketplace and anticipate changes. You cannot sit back and
expect things to go along as they always have. The nature of the
music industry is dynamic. If you want to be successful, getting left
behind isn’t an option.

Dre realized that the era of gangsta rap was coming to an end.
It takes a humble person to realize that something he has created
and pioneered is no longer a viable form of music to make money
with. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, Dre pulled himself up by the
bootstraps and chose to carry on. That is true flexibility- a key
ingredient for success.

A New Beginning – Life After Gangsta Rap

Therefore, acting as an insightful businessman, Dre decided
to start fresh at Aftermath. The move to the new label proved a
smart one. Dre released 2 albums: a compilation CD that didn’t do
very well, and a solo album, “Dr Dre 2001” which did well. However,
Dre decided to stick to the strategy for success that had worked for

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him for many years. He was still searching for new talent to develop.
He found what he was looking for in Marshall Mathers, better known
as Eminem. Dre helped to make Eminem a star and produced his
albums, which he also appeared on. After not making much noise
for a few years, Dre had made his comeback in a big way.

Dr Dre also used the strategy is diversifying into other areas.
He became quite interested in film and tried his hand at it. His
producing skills lent very well to the film industry and he enjoyed a lot
of success in the genre, amassing an impressive filmography and
also delving into the world of music videos. Dre produced videos for
movie soundtracks as well as for big names like 50 Cent and Xzibit.
Dre has also appeared as himself in film and TV over 30 times. On
top of everything, he has an impressive film resume, as an actor,
director, producer, composer, and writer. In 2005, Dre produced 50
Cent’s hit movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin”.

Big Dreams = Huge Success

Clearly, Dre has big aspirations for himself. He worked his
entire life to make something more out of himself. He is constantly
pushing himself to the limit in an effort to eclipse his previous
achievements. His wealth comes from his strategy of diversification
into producing and by expanding his talents into every aspect of the
film industry. While doing all that, Dre managed to never spread
himself too thin. This is a mark of balance and excellent time
management skills. The key to Dr Dre’s success has been in his
exploration of various creative avenues, while sticking mainly to what
he does best: producing.

Success did not come easily to Dr Dre. It took an incredible
amount of hard work, determination and guts. In the face of
adversity, Dre triumphed. Growing up in South Central LA, Dre
became involved in gangs and gang rivalries. Early on in his career,
his brother was killed, and Dre was continually having brushes with
the police. On top of that, Dre had to face racism; it was unusual for
a black man to achieve the huge success of music artists in other

Overcoming Adversity

Creating even more difficulty for Dre was the total lack of
support he received from industry executives. No one was willing to

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give him a chance. He couldn’t even get any press or radio play.
Instead of giving up, Dre took matters into his own hands. No label
would sign him? He created his own label. Dre chose to make
himself a success, instead of waiting around for the people around
him in the industry to see his talent. That is the kind of drive it takes
to make it big.

Dre is responsible for the success of his protégé Eminem.
The white rapper, who is another of today’s most successful artists,
would have had a really difficult time getting any street credibility
without Dr Dre’s backing. Dre has worked with and produced singles
and albums for so many artists; including Mary J. Blige, Eve and
Gwen Stefani. And he’s not apologetic about his talent and skills
either. He even claims that he could make a record with a three-year
old. But, he’s got the goods to back it up.

Dre’s Success strategies

In essence, Dr Dre’s success strategy is to be a leader in the
industry. And he hasn’t just been a leader in the music industry; he’s
also been one in a subsection of the film industry. But how has he
remained a leader and obtained such unprecedented success?

Success Strategy #1: Sticking to What You’re Good At

Dre recognized his own strengths and his weaknesses. As
an artist, he pioneered a new sound that everyone loved and that
pushed him to the top of the charts. However, as a rapper, he is not
of the same caliber as other, more talented MCs. He can cut a good
album, and keep up with other MCs, but he simply does not excel at

Early on, Dre realized that he that a lot of talent for production.
He was able to seek out talent and produce an album or single for
the, that sounded amazing. Dre soon realized if he were to get to
where he wanted to be - at the top - he’d have to focus more on his
strength (producing) and less on his career as a solo artist. His
ability to produce fresh new beats differs from the style of some of his
competitors in the music making/ producing game. Where others
prefer to re-work older songs and materials, Dre is a creative genius
with the talent to devise brand new smash hits.

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That’s not to say that Dre hasn’t had a successful solo career.
The reason he was able to make it as a hip-hop artist is because he
teamed up with more talented rappers on his albums. Snoop Dog
appears as much as Dre himself in Dre’s first album. Similarly in his
other albums, he had a ton of guests help him record. Knowing he
probably couldn’t stand alone on his rapping skills, he chose to
showcase other artists. This technique worked really well for Dre.

Success Strategy #2: Establishing Credibility

Dre managed to be publicly visible, while at the same time
portraying an underground image. He held on to his street credibility,
perhaps because he promoted others in order to promote himself.
He kept it real by focusing on his goals and by listening to the vibe
from the underground. That is how he was able to determine when
gangsta rap had come to an end.

Success Strategy #3: Recognizing Trends

Dre knew how to take advantage of trends in advertising,
media and pop culture. The theme of his first solo album, “The
Chronic” struck a chord with the people who were finished with
cocaine. Marijuana was the new drug of choice, and Dre capitalized
on that fact. His new sound, that elastic G-funk, with its fat bass and
mellower tones was an instant hit with those who needed something
easier on the ears. Dre dropped that album at the right time.

Success Strategy #4: Being Innovative

Dre made sure to stay ahead of trends and fads. He was an
innovator, not a follower. Although he is credited with creating
gangsta rap and the G-funk sound, he knew when it was time to
move on. He was also willing to take a chance on Eminem, a white
rapper, because he knew that Eminem’s, extreme talent would be
able to fit in to the predominantly black market.

Success Strategy #5: Use Others to Boost Yourself Up

The most important strategy Dre employed was to discover
and help develop the talent of other artists. He found success
through others. While many people in the industry choose to cut up
other artists and start wars, Dre instead worked on building others
up. It just goes to prove that you make yourself better by focusing

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your efforts to help others. By surrounding himself with more
talented artists, Dre learned a lot and gained the experience
necessary to recognize and develop talent. And that has been Dr
Dre’s key to success.

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P. Diddy
P. Diddy, né Sean John Combs, was born November 4, 1969
in Harlem to parents Melvin and Janice Combs. When P. Diddy was
only 2 years old, his father was tragically murdered. His mother,
Janice, felt compelled to remove her son and daughter from the
dangerous neighborhood. In an effort to move somewhere safer,
she took her children to Mount Vernon, New York, where P. Diddy
was raised.

Janice had to work three jobs in order to provide for her kids.
She was determined to give her children all the opportunities she
never had, including the best education she could afford. As a child,
P. Diddy attended the Mount Vernon School, where he also played
football. He earned his first nickname “Puffy” because on the football
field, he tended to puff out his chest (also because he would ‘huff
and puff’ when upset). Later, P. Diddy moved on to Mount St
Micheal Academy. There, he discovered he had the spirit of an
entrepreneur. At 12 years old, P. Diddy already had a successful
career as a paper delivery boy.

When he turned 18, P. Diddy went on to attend University at
Howard in Washington, DC. Again, he demonstrated his
entrepreneurial flair by selling his peers exams, term papers and by
promoting parties. Meanwhile, his true passion was hip-hop and

Diddy’s Introduction to the Music Industry

P. Diddy was introduced to the music industry and the world of
hip-hop through Uptown Records. As an intern at the record label, P.
Diddy was mentored by André Harrell, who would go on to become a
President of Bad Boy Entertainment.

Harrell took P. Diddy under his wing and began to teach him
about the music industry. Harrell recognized that P. Diddy had
incredible potential, and he wanted to help develop it.

P. Diddy showed such enthusiasm and drive, commuting
between Washington and New York, that his commitment eventually
got him noticed. At only 19, he was promoted from intern to Director
of A&R at Uptown.

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During his stint as director, P. Diddy was responsible for
molding the careers of artists Mary J Blige and Jodeci, both Uptown
artists. P. Diddy, an innovator, changed both artists’ images for the

Innovation, Trendsetting & the Creation of Bad Boy

While producing their music, P. Diddy combined soul and hip-
hop in reflection of the emerging style of the urban youth. The new
combination, a departure from the norm, sent P. Diddy’s career into
the stratosphere. The mainstream loved the sound of hip-hop
combined with soul; P. Diddy had made a name for himself.

He eventually decided to leave Uptown Records when he felt
confident enough to go out on his own. It was time to put everything
he had learned at Uptown Records to the test.

After leaving Uptown, P. Diddy set out to build his own empire.
He formed his own record label and called it Bad Boy Entertainment.
The creation of the company was a pivotal moment in P. Diddy’s
career. He and his company were about to revolutionize hip-hop.

In the beginning, P. Diddy had only two artists secured to the
Bad Boy label. It was a slow but promising start. Although his roster
was small, he had a very strong force on his side: the Notorious
B.I.G. P. Diddy’s other artist was Craig Mack, a former EPMD
Roadie. It was the Notorious B.I.G. however, who would go on to
lead Bad Boy and P. Diddy’s success to skyrocket.

‘Ready to Die”, Notorious B.I.G.’s multi-platinum debut album
was produced and launched by Bad Boy. The album was a monster
hit, with its epic storytelling and its huge Brooklyn-style beats.

Both the Bad Boy label and P. Diddy earned critical acclaim
and respect from the music industry for the masterful production of
Biggie’s first album and the slew of hit singles which followed its

Building a Solid Reputation

P. Diddy was becoming known for his ability to pick out real
talent and to take it to the next level by developing the artist. He

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became known as the man who could develop big hits. He was also
earning the respect of the music industry as a power-house CEO
who could both produce and arrange great hip-hop.

A string of major recording stars started to knock on P. Diddy’s
door, wanting him to use his talents to vamp up their recordings. He
gave valuable advice and aided in the production of music for super
stars like TLC, Usher, Lil’ Kim and Mariah Carey. He even made
cameo appearances in some of their videos.

Diddy’s Business Instinct

It was the hits he created with these famous artists that gave
P. Diddy enough credibility as a producer and creative genius to
enter into a joint venture with Arista Records and legend Clive Davis
in 1996. The venture was unprecedented; characterized by a fifty-
fifty split. The joint venture was the catalyst to the ensuing success
of Bad Boy. With the backing of Arista, P. Diddy was able to attract
big names like Faith Evans, Total and the popular male singing
group 112. P. Diddy signed these artists to his label, as well as
developed their acts and produced platinum albums.

After 6 years, in 2002, Bad Boy Entertainment and Arista
Records mutually decided to go their separate ways. The joint
venture was terminated, but there was no bad blood between the two
CEOs. Together, bad Boy and Arista had been the most successful
partnership in the industry. P. Diddy continued to have full control
over his brainchild, Bad Boy, in addition to retaining the entire artist
catalogue and roster as part of the deal.

It had been an extremely good move to partner with Arista,
and it opened the door to bigger and better things for P. Diddy. In
2003, P. Diddy signed a worldwide distribution deal with Universal
Records. The deal entailed that P. Diddy would again retain
ownership of Bad Boy, and that Universal would in turn distribute all
new releases, the Bad Boy catalogue, and provide promotional and
marketing support for bad Boy’s roster of artists. P. Diddy had
reached the big time.

Awards & Achievements

In January 1997, P. Diddy produced and released a single
featuring his latest discovery Mase called “Can’t Nobody Hold Me

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Down.” It was an instant hit and remained on Billboard’s hot R&B
Singles chart for almost two months. The next four singles off the
album to hit the charts were all record breakers and the album, “No
Way Out”, went platinum a full seven times. The album featured
artists like Mase, Notorious B.I.G. and Busta Rhymes. One of the
most popular singles was a tribute to the late Notorious who had
been murdered. The album generated nearly two-dozen industry
award nominations and won two Grammy awards, including Best rap
Album of the Year.

After having spent so many years collaborating with others, P.
Diddy decided it was time to focus on his solo career. He had
already learned so much and gained so much experience in the
collaborative and producing worlds, he wanted to explore other
horizons. P. Diddy’s sophomore album, “Forever”, released in 1999,
also went multi platinum, solidifying his success as a rap artist. It
was an innovative and risky album and truly satisfied hip-hop lovers.
The single “Satisfy You” went all the way to number one on
Billboard’s Rap and R&B charts.

The next album P. Diddy released was called “P. Diddy & The
Bad Boy Family … The Saga Continues.” It was a compilation album
featuring the hottest talent of the moment and was reminiscent of his
debut album. It was an evolutionary album: totally original, full of
vibrant beats, popular in the dance clubs, and lent itself to displaying
a plethora of artists like 112, Black Rob, Faith Evans, and Hoodfellaz.
P. Diddy produced most of the tracks and served as the executive
producer, but he chose to let a talented team called the Neptunes
produce some of the tracks also- a great decision as it led to the
popular song “D-I-D-D-Y”.

In 2002, P. Diddy scored again with an album of reworked
classics and collaborations. The album spawned a slew of hit
singles and again confirmed Diddy’s spot at the top of the industry.

Diddy’s Unique Perspective on Hip Hop

In addition to his career as a solo artist, Diddy was in high
demand for doing remixes. He has the ability to add something
special to an artist’s work that gives that little push needed to reach
the top of the charts. He remixed Mariah Carey’s “Honey”, KRS-
One’s “Step Into A World”, Mary J Blige’s “No More Drama” and hits
from other artists like Jodeci and Janet Jackson.

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Diddy has always had a knack for remixing, stylizing and
glamming up his talent’s works. He is a master at marketing by
setting trends, in music as well as in fashion. He just has to say the
word for a singer, video, or piece of clothing to become the next
must-have, must-see item. Who else can take an old classic, add a
fresh beat and market it as the coolest thing going? He found his
niche in the hip-hop and mainstream markets by not only creating
new music, but by capitalizing on old songs and making them hot
and new again.

On top of his impressive abilities as an artist and remixer,
Diddy is also an innovator. Starting from the early days, he liked to
meld together different sounds to create something new. On his
huge hit “Come With Me”, he worked with legendary rocker Jimmy

He blended rap and rock again when he paired up with the
Foo Fighters to record the hit single “It’s All About the Benjamins”.
Diddy’s blend of rock and hip-hop was a whole new genre and paved
the way for various bands today that use his technique of integrating
different styles of music.

Some artists who owe the rise of their music career to Diddy
are Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. A true pioneer, Diddy has
made his mark on hip-hop and forever changed the sound and the
dynamic of the world of R&B, hip-hop and rap.

Diversity and the Diddy Empire

Already thoroughly successful what with his hot solo career,
the high demand for his remixes and his producing skills; Diddy
sought to reach even higher heights. He has ventured into many
other aspects of business including retail, the restaurant industry,
marketing and more.

This major diversification, coupled with strict quality control, is
the key to Diddy’s success, fame and especially wealth. In essence,
Diddy has built an empire: the Sean Combs empire. And it’s pretty
darn big. Every business venture that comprises this empire is
profitable. This strategy ensures that should any aspect of his
empire ever fail, the empire will not crumble. It will continue to stand

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strong because it has many legs to stand on. Diddy will always have
something to fall back on.

Over the years, Diddy has built Bad Boy Entertainment from a
music label all the way to a multi-million dollar business with many
facets. This empire includes an award winning clothing line called
Sean John. In 2000 and 2001, the Sean John clothing line was
nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for the
extremely prestigious Perry Ellis Menswear Award. In 2003, Diddy
was nominated for the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Not
only did Diddy create a successful line of clothing, it is actually
recognized as high fashion.

Diddy Style

Diddy has always had a great sense of personal style and it
has become apparent in all aspects of his career. His style has
permeated everything he’s done including the music videos he’s
been in, the magazine covers he’s appeared on, and his fashion
shows. He has become a style icon, and he is constantly attending
fashion runway shows in New York, Paris, London, and Milan- the
fashion capitals of the world.

The Sean John line debuted in 1999, and Diddy has never
looked back. His fashions are sold in the world’s most famous
department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. In addition, his
line appears in various high class specialty stores like Fred Segal.
Along with big names like Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein, the
Sean John name is very popular with young America.

Diddy’s clothes rank right up there with the big designer
names. The clothing line aspect of his business is all about quality
style. You won’t find anything shoddily made here. As the line’s
popularity increased, Diddy was able to get some big names behind
him. He is currently launching a new website featuring Penelope
Cruz as the main model for his new women’s line.

Big (and Small!) Screen Diddy

Diddy also has his hand in the film industry. He first started
acting in an Artisan comedy called “Made”. He made his mark with a
starring role opposite Hally Berry in the Lion’s gate Academy Award

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winning movie, “Monster’s Ball”. This is an impressive debut in the
world of acting.

Diddy has also made his mark on the small screen with his
MTV reality shows “Making the Band” and “Making the Band 2”. The
two 10 episode long installments of the series was about forming a
mainstream, radio-friendly hip-hop/R&B group. The show included
all aspects of the formation of such a group including auditions,
rehearsals, and live performances. The wanna-be stars on the show
competed for a record contract while Diddy tried to show them the
ropes of the music industry. The viewers of the show were privileged
to see what happens when Diddy goes into business mode- no
messing around. The show also gave insight into the methods Diddy
uses to scout out new talent.

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Marketing and Advertising Genius

Another business within the Diddy empire is Blue Flame
Marketing and Advertising. Diddy, who is the company’s founder,
owner and CEO of blue Flame Marketing and Advertising launched
the company in order to provide marketing services, advertising
services, and brand consulting for clients involved with luxury as well
as upscale products and services. Before then-president Jameel
Spencer departed the company in 2005, Blue flame did work for
important companies like Microsoft, New Era Cap Co., and Calvin
Klein. Now, the primary purpose of the company is to do licensing
work for other aspects of its parent company, Bad Boy. Blue Flame
also performs work for the Sean John Clothing line.

Eating Out… Diddy Style

Diddy has also branched out into the restaurant industry. He
owns two upscale restaurants called Justin’s, named after his first-
born son. Diddy intended the restaurants to be places “to see and
be seen”. It’s a celebrity magnet, and for most visitors, food is not
the main focus. On a typical night, the restaurants are a meeting
place for A-list celebrities, sports stars, politicians, and generally
beautiful people. It has an atmosphere and a clientele with a price
range to match.

Although the menu may not be the main concern, it is certainly
delicious. The restaurant is a blending of Caribbean cuisine and
Southern soul food. Fare includes dishes like BBQ chicken wings
and seafood gumbo.

Business and Community Ventures

In addition to these business ventures, Diddy also owns Bad
Boy Technologies, which consists of and; Justin Combs Music Publishing; Bad Boy
Marketing; Bad Boy Productions; Janice Combs Management (home
of legendary producers, the Hitmen); Daddy’s House Studios; and
Daddy’s House Social Programs. Diddy even owns a magazine
called Notorious.

Diddy established his Daddy’s House Social Programs, Inc. in
1995 in order to generate initiatives for youths living in the inner-city.
He also wanted to increase their chances of success by creating

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educational programs. His generosity is more than just a gesture of

Diddy himself, along with a team to assist him, has created, as
well as funded a variety of new and innovative youth programs, to
give kids the same opportunity he had. These programs include:
international travel groups, summer camp programs, Wall Street
training teams, college visit tours for teenagers about to graduate
from high school, and internships at Bad Boy Entertainment, which
Diddy himself oversees and instructs.

Diddy has also performed many other charitable acts. He
returned to his Alma Matter, Howard University, and donated $1
million to further the university’s goal of educating African-American
youth. Having had the opportunity to receive post secondary
education, Diddy has a very real interest in promoting education. In
order to improve the situation in 500 urban New York City Public
schools and improve children’s computer skills, Diddy donated more
than 100 computers. In order to support more funding for public
schools, Diddy participated in the “Million-Man March”.

Diddy also engages in volunteer work to help better
communities. In 2002, one of his charitable subsidiaries, Daddy’s
House, ran an extremely successful food-drive as well as sponsored
the annual Hosea’s Feed the Hungry and Homeless Thanksgiving
Day dinner, which fed more than 30,000 underprivileged people in
the Atlanta area.

Diddy’s most recent cause has been to help educate youths
about HIV and AIDS. He does this by hosting numerous initiatives
and programs that he hopes will result in increased awareness of the
disease and its causes. He even went all the way to South Africa to
bring hope to HIV positive and AIDS patients by performing for
MTV’s World AIDS Day special.

On Thursday November 6, 2003, Diddy gave the city of New
York $1 million in support for public school funding. He raised this
money by running the New York City Marathon, for which he trained
for months. The money and awareness that be raised will go to
supporting school libraries and new technology within the schools.
The other $1 million that he raised was donated to help his other
favorite charitable causes, helping children and families affected by

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Diddy’s Success strategies

Clearly, Diddy has branded his name throughout the world
with the sprawling Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group. The
conglomerate is massive, and brings in millions of dollars every year.
It also helps thousands of people, and brings hope to those in need.

Despite his enormous success, Diddy stills wants to provide
the same opportunities and guidance he received early on in his
career as an intern at Uptown. All of Diddy’s Bad Boy businesses
employ and provide a model of success for hundreds of inner-city
youths who might otherwise turn to a life on the street.

Diddy has continued to follow through with his commitment to
better the world. It is his success that has allowed him to accomplish
many of the things he has. Helping others has been a driving goal
for Diddy throughout his career. This passion has allowed him to
forge ahead and never look back. He knows that what he does has
an effect on society, and wants that effect to be a positive one.
That’s why he chooses to be not only a rap star and business CEO,
but also a teacher and a mentor for those who need his help.

Success Strategy #1: Nurturing Talent in Others

Much of Diddy’s success is largely attributed to his talent for
discovering and nurturing talent in others. Throughout his career he
has helped many artists achieve their dreams of recording and
performing music. This in turn has made Diddy’s name even more
prominent in the business, raising his status to higher heights.

Success Strategy #2: Be Creative

Diddy is also creative and sets trends. Instead of following
the crowd, he dictates what the crowd should follow. He will be
remembered forever as the pioneer of rock and rap melding. By not
recognizing or acknowledging barriers in his life, Diddy has been
able to surmount them with grace.

Success Strategy #3: Give Something Back

Giving back to the community has been a factor in Diddy’s
success. Had he not had the passion to help others, he probably

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would not have succeeded. Having a goal is one of the most
important ways to achieve your dreams.

Success Strategy #4: Networking

By creating a network of useful people around him, Diddy has
been able to branch out into other areas. The more people you
know, the more chances you have of getting what you want. Diddy
knew this to be true, and when he was just starting out in the
business, he set out to prove himself to the people around him with
power. They recognized his commitment and drive and rewarded
him by introducing him to more people who could help him on his
path toward success. This support network has been one of Diddy’s
main strategies fro success.

Success Strategy #5: Diversify and Build

Finally, the most important success strategy for Diddy was
expanding and diversifying his music label Bad boy into a multi-
faceted, multi-million dollar business. No matter what happens to
any one of his separate business ventures, he will still be prosperous
under huge umbrella conglomerate of Bad Boy.

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Jay-Z was born and raised in the rough Marcy Projects of
Brooklyn, NY. He had a difficult time as a young teenager, as he
tried to come to terms with the fact that his father left his mother.
Growing up without a male presence in his life, Jay-Z had to take on
the role of provider.

He had to support himself, so he turned to the mean streets
and to hustling. Soon, however, he began to make a name for
himself as a rapper, despite his inexperience. In the neighborhood,
he was called Jazzy, but he decided to shorten his nickname to Jay-

Starting Out

In the early days of his career, Jay-Z did everything that he
could to catch a break and get into the rap music industry. As he
attempted to gain credibility as a rapper, Jay-Z made a living as a
street hustler. He did what he had to do make money. This period of
his life would later become an inspiration for many of his lyrics.

Jay-Z was introduced to a small-time rapper called Big Jaz, or
Jaz-O for short. Jaz-O taught Jay-Z the tricks of the rap trade,
showing him how to get noticed and how to steer himself through the
music industry. Jaz-O had a record deal, but was not gaining much
success as a rap artist. His sales were very low. After a while, Jay-Z
realized he had learned as much as he could from Jaz-O. For
awhile, he was a part of a group called Original Flavor, but soon Jay-
Z became disillusioned with the idea of signing with a label.

Roc-a-Fella Records

Instead of waiting around to get signed, Jay-Z, like Dre and
Diddy, decided to start his own music label. Along with his friends
Kereem Burke and Damon Dash, Jay-Z founded Roc-a-Fella
Records. The three friends thought creating a record label was a
good move because it would cut out the middleman, allowing them to
make greater profits. Even though he badly needed the money, Jay-
Z was wise enough to understand that over time, building a label
would make him more in the long run. This decision, like those he

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would make in the future, was a strategic move that would contribute
greatly to his success.

Eventually, Jay-Z found a distributor to assist him in getting his
first album out on the market. His deal with Priority Records, which
would later change to a deal with Def Jam, allowed him to distribute
his debut album, Reasonable Doubt, which was released in 1996.
Finally, things were looking up for Jay-Z.

By taking matters into his own hands, Jay-Z was able to
achieve his first taste of success. This was an important strategy to
get his career off the ground. He knew that no one was willing to
help him, so he helped himself. With hardly any money, and virtually
no connections to the music industry, Jay-Z pulled himself up by his
bootstraps and released his first of several albums.

Jay-Z’s Talent Shines Through

Reasonable Doubt was not an instant hit, but it would become
a classic among Jay-Z fans. The album peaked at number 23 on
Billboard's album chart, but Jay-Z’s popularity as an artist really
began to soar. His lyrics were tight, and he had a huge talent for
rapping and performing.

The album’s success was led by the hit single "Ain't No
Nigga," which was a duet featuring Foxy Brown. Other big names on
the record like DJ Premier and the Notorious B.I.G. helped to draw in
the fans who had never heard of Jay-Z before. The album featured
the gangsta rap style of hip-hop that was incredibly popular at the
time, thanks to Dr. Dre. Before the album fell off the charts, it had
produced three more huge singles: "Can't Knock the Hustle,"
featuring Mary J. Blige, "Dead Presidents", and "Feelin' It".

The Power of Collaboration

This marked the start of a technique that Jay-Z would continue
to use throughout his career. Collaborating with other artists on
tracks is one of Jay-Z’s major strategies for achieving success. Even
though he was virtually unknown when he dropped his first album, he
was able generate a lot of buzz by promoting the more famous artists
featured on his album. He used the talent and sound of other, more
established artists to boost both his own rap career and his visibility
in the industry.

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Throughout his career, Jay-Z has collaborated with dozens of
huge industry names. These include Beanie Segal, Memphis Bleek,
Amil, Kanye West, the Neptunes, Beyoncé Knowles, Eminem, and
2Pac. In 2001, Jay-Z collaborated with The Roots for the album
“Unplugged”, and in 2002, he worked with R. Kelly on the “Best of
Both Worlds”. In addition to having artists guest star on his albums,
Jay-Z has appeared on other stars’ albums and singles.

Staying In The Limelight

After the release of Reasonable Doubt, Jay-Z was quick to
follow up. Basically, he released an album every year (sometimes
two albums per year) from 1996 until his retirement in 2004. In all of
his following albums, Jay-Z collaborates with even more big names,
including producers. He generated almost fifty monster hit singles as
well as huge album success.

These albums, in order of release date are: In My Lifetime, Vol
1, Vol 2: Hard Knock Life, Vol 3: Life and Times of S. Carter, The
Dynasty: Roc La Familia, the Blueprint, Unplugged, The Best of Both
Worlds, The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse, The Black Album,
Unfinished Business (With R. Kelly), and Collision Course (with
Linkin Park).

Each of these albums was extremely successful, and led to
four underground releases and remixes, including the bootleg album,
“The Grey Album”, a mash-up of the songs from the “Black Album”
with the songs from the Beetles’ “White Album”, which became an
underground hit.

The Importance of Flexibility and Reading Your Market

Another useful success strategy Jay-Z used was to move
away from the genre of gangsta rap in favor of more commercially
popular hip-hop and pop-rap. This was a decision that garnered him
a lot of criticism. Many people proclaimed him to be a “sell-out”.
However, in the long run it was a smart choice because it would help
him to expand his fan base and attract more listeners. This
technique allowed Jay-Z to sell more albums than almost any other

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Jay-Z commenced the move towards more radio-friendly
music with his second album. The audience fro Jay-Z’s music
increased by at least double after the album was released. Many of
the lyrics were less dark, and the hooks were incredibly catchy.
There were still songs containing Jay-Z’s traditional hard-core lyrics
and style, but these were overshadowed by the selection of pop-rap.

The Hard Knock Life album served to deepen the chasm
between the style of Jay-Z’s first album and his current work. His
shift to pop-rap was essentially complete.

Jay-Z had moved away from rapping lyrics about his previous
dark life as a street hustler, and focused on creating singles that
were radio-friendly. This strategy earned him an incredible amount
of airplay, thus widening his audience again. Songs like “Can I Get
A…” and “Hard Knock Life” were incredibly popular, yet at the same
time they retained originality. It seemed Jay-Z was proving that
creating original, distinct and unforgettable songs was not at odds
with catchy hooks and radio-ready tunes.

Staying the Course

Jay-Z was grappling with trying to find a good balance
between commercialism and using sincere lyrics and content. Rap
music critics were coming down hard on Jay-Z for becoming too
egotistical. They accused him of selling out to commercialism. Jay-
Z, however, did not allow any negative comments to affect him. He
stuck with his strategy and continued to pump out trendy beats and
developed his blended rap even further.

Despite continued criticism, each album that Jay-Z put out
continued his reign of success. He continued to use his strategy of
combining collaborations with a pop-oriented sound. His most
devout fans recognized what Jay-Z was doing, and they respected
him for his talented lyricism.

Jay-Z was a force to be reckoned with. He was viewed by
fans, media and the music industry as a figure-head and role-model
for success. He had reached a height of success that had previously
been unheard of. The intense criticism that had been plaguing him
finally began to subside. You just can’t argue with that level of
success. To this day, jay-Z continues to be the subject of much

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criticism, praise, popularity, condemnation, and discussion. But
that’s what makes him famous.

“Retirement”… at age 35

In 2003, Jay-Z announced that he would be retiring after the
release of his final solo record, “The Black Album”. As always, the
album and its singles were a huge success, and soared to the
number one spot on the charts.

In 2004, Jay-Z further publicized his impending retirement
from rap by going on a farewell tour. No one was really sure what
the star would do next. At only 35 years of age, the rapper still had
much potential for more and greater success.

However, Jay-Z chose a new strategy. He decided to quit
while he was ahead. In a quote, Jay-Z claimed that he did not want
to be the boxer who went one too many rounds. Despite his
proclamation, fans still do not truly believe his departure from making
music is permanent.

In many ways, Jay-Z was making a shrewd move. By leaving
while still at the top of his game, he ensures that he leaves behind a
bright legacy. In addition, his reputation remains untarnished and he
has the absolute respect of the industry and of his fans.

Def-Jam Records

In a surprise move, Jay-Z accepted an offer from Def Jam
Records to serve as president. Going through a transitional phase,
Def Jam decided that Jay-Z would be the best person to resurrect the
struggling record label.

The inauguration of Jay-Z at the helm of the company was
sensational and made history. Jay-Z had become one of only a
small handful of African-American major label executives in the
business. The most amazing part was that he had made the
incredible transition from rapper to company president - a feat that
was almost unheard of.

Because of the unusualness of the choice for president, there
was a degree of uncertainty as to whether Jay-Z would be up for the
challenge. Jay-Z had always been serious and totally dedicated to

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his rap career. To him, no attitude adjustment was necessary. He
put forth the same effort into his new job as president as he had into
his music career.

During his initial year in the position, Jay-Z discovered a
plethora of new talent for the company including Bobby Valentino,
Rihanna, Teairra Mari and Young Jeezy. All these artists have
enjoyed commercial success under the watchful eye of Jay-Z. In
fact, Jay-Z also launched the careers of runaway star Kanye West in
addition to Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek, Young Gunz, and Freeway.

Jay-Z’s Success strategies

It appears that Jay-Z has seamlessly crossed over into the
next phase of his career. As president of Def Jam, Jay-Z is learning
valuable new skills that he will be able to apply in the future in order
to increase his own success, fame and wealth.

Throughout his career, Jay-Z has stayed hungry; always
wanting to take his career that one step further than anyone
expected he could go. Other superstars that have used this strategy
include Madonna and Arnold Schwarzenegger; never afraid to push
the limits, they have propelled themselves higher and higher.

Success Strategy #1: Believe in Yourself

As the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive”, Jay-Z is brimming
with confidence which has been a major key to his success. He has
made himself a brand, and successfully marketed himself as the #1
brand – the ‘must-have’ in his industry, much like AOL as “America’s
#1 Internet Provider”. He is known and respected for his free-styling
abilities, metaphorical lyrics, and interesting word play. His talent for
lyricism is unsurpassed in the rap industry, which allowed him to
write great tracks that other artists would want to be on, thus allowing
him to collaborate with some big names like the Neptunes, Notorious
B.I.G., DMX, and Timbaland.

Success Strategy #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Try

He has never thought twice about taking on a new challenge,
which led him to where he is today. Jay-Z’s story is truly a rags-to-
riches dream. His incredible dedication has taken him from a life on

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streets willed with despair and poverty to a life of unimaginable
success and power.

Success Strategy #3: Be Flexible

Jay-Z was able to figure out the rap game early on in his
career, which allowed him to map out a plan for success. He
realized that in order to sell more records, he’d have to appeal to a
wider audience. He also knew that the way to get a wider audience
was to get airtime on the radio- something that was very difficult for
hard-core gangsta rappers with ‘R’ rated lyrics. So, despite intense
criticism, he changed his style to make it more accessible and easier
to listen to. This strategy drew fans in quickly.

This ability to draw in more listeners led to a very large and
very devoted fan base. Jay-Z owes his riches to the commercializing
of his music that attracted more buyers for his albums. In addition to
snagging the money-spending suburban white youth market, Jay-Z
managed to maintain his credibility and popularity in the urban
market as well.

Success Strategy #4: Be Competitive

He accomplished this no only through his music, but also by
stepping up to the challenges of other rap artists. Jay-Z promised
himself and his fans that he would not allow any hip-hop rival to
knock him out of the top spot. He looks at these situations as a
competitive sport, where you’ve got to be tough and secure in your
abilities. He says it’s important not to be envious of others.

Success Strategy #5: Align Yourself With Great People

Another important strategy for Jay-Z was working with the
hottest and most in-demand artists and producers of the time. By
surrounding himself with people who were better and who had more
experience, Jay-Z was able to boost his own career, and eventually
eclipse all of them. By dropping one number 1 album after another,
in some cases less than a year apart, Jay-Z firmly established
himself in the industry and made his names very well-known.

Even after ‘retiring’, he has stayed in the public eye as fans
hope for a new album. In the meantime, he uses his ear for fresh

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talent to sniff out rising young stars. As a president, Jay-Z has yet to
prove himself completely. But this time, no one has any doubts.

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Eminem was born as Marshall Bruce Mathers III on October
17th 1972 in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother was still a child, at
age fifteen, when he was born. His father, also a teenager, left his
family six months later and never came back.

Marshall’s childhood was difficult. He spent much of his time
back and forth between Kansas City and Detroit. His mother could
not hold down a job or keep a house longer than six months. Every
time she got evicted, she’d gather up her son and move somewhere
else. The two of them lived on welfare, making a bad situation even

Marshall finally settled on the Eastside of Detroit when he was
12 years old, however, the damage had been done. Having to
change schools every two to three months caused lots of problems
for the young adolescent. Frequently the victim of brutal bullying, it
was especially hard for him to make any friends or to concentrate on
his studies. Marshall had difficulty staying out of trouble and was
unable to graduate from high school.

Natural Talent

Since the early age of four, Marshall had displayed an affinity
for rhyming and rapping. He had a passion for making rap music. It
provided him with an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
Rhyming different words to create lyrics and battling schoolmates at
lunchtime gave Marshall a sense of happiness amidst the misery of
his life. As early as thirteen years old, Marshall was performing
whenever he could, and he actually gained some popularity as a
member of the group Soul Intent.

When he turned fourteen years old, Marshall started to get
serious about developing his talent for rapping. Three years later,
his hard work was starting to pay off in small ways. As an artist he
had grown and improved. He decided to call himself M&M, which he
would eventually change to Eminem, his name today. Despite his
personal achievement, Eminem was not accepted by other rappers,
a fact that really angered him. As a white man, he had difficulty
overcoming the racial barriers that existed in the world of rap.

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During this time, he failed out of the ninth grade for the third
consecutive time. Around the same time his long-time girlfriend Kim
Scott had his baby. They named her Hailie Jade. In the interest of
raising his daughterand supporting his family, he decided to drop out
of school. In his later years he admits that leaving school is not the
best idea, and that other should not follow his example.


Growing up in a turbulent environment provided Eminem with
lots of material for his music. His relationships with his mother,
girlfriend and family; dropping out of school; and working minimum
wage jobs in order to support his daughter would all greatly influence
his music. He was set up to fail from the start, yet he made himself a
success in spite of the odds.

Despite a lack of success or any kind of encouragement,
Eminem continued to try and prove himself in the rap world. He
forced his way onto radio shows and entered as many freestyle
battles as he could. Usually, his endeavors left him with very little in
terms of results.

Starting Small

He released his first album in 1996. It was an independent
record titled “Infinite”. The album sold poorly- about 500 copies in
total, all from the back of Eminem’s car. “Infinite” received zero
airplay on the radio. The main response to his album was people
telling him he was ripping off the styles of Nas and AZ. Disappointed
but not defeated, Eminem continued in his quest to live his dream of
becoming respected in the rap industry.

Things finally started looking up for Eminem when his rapping
style took a darker turn. His anger-filled lyrics began to catch the ear
of hip-hop’s underground music scene. His rap style was distinctive
and almost cartoonish. His race also made him a subject of much
curiosity. People were beginning to sit up and take notice of

Desperation Brings Out the Best In Em

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Eminem had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He had
absolutely no money and was basically living on the street. Anger
towards the events of his life and the system in general led him to
rant and rave in his lyrics. He used this new material to put together
a demo called “The Slim Shady EP”. The album contained tracks
filled with violence, including stealing and committing other crimes in
order to feed his child.

Totally desperate to be heard and to make money, Eminem
spent his last dollar to enter the 1997 Rap Olympics in Los Angeles.
He hoped to win the $1,500 cash prize. He needed it to support his
daughter and himself. After an entire hour of battling on stage, and
throwing back every racial insult to which he was subjected, Eminem
ended up in second. He had slipped up, costing him the first place

Pure Luck – Dre Discovers Eminem

Too busy fuming over his defeat, Eminem never realized that
a few producers from Interscope who were in the crowd had seen
him rap and were interested in him. Someone gave them a copy of
the "Infinite" tape as a demo. Nothing really came of the Interscope
scouting. However, in a stroke of luck, famous rap artist and
producer Dr. Dre found Eminem's demo on the garage floor of the
Interscope record label CEO.

Dre was totally impressed with what he heard. He sent out
some of his people to track down the ‘angry white rapper’. When Dre
and Eminem finally met, it was a match made in rap heaven. They
worked together extremely well, and started recording tracks during
their very first meeting.

Dr Dre readily agreed to sign him, and the result was a
reworked version of his second demo called “The Slim Shady LP”.
Dre co-produced the full length album, which was to be Eminem’s
debut in the mainstream. Eminem had become Dre’s protégé.

Slim Shady Springs to Life

The album was a gritty combination of Dr Dre's patented beats
and Em’s provocative, twisted lyrics. In his lyrics Eminem professed
to be playing the character of his sinister alter ego, Slim Shady. Slim
Shady was a violently disturbed character with an “eye-for-an-eye”

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moral outlook. Many of the songs, which Eminem claimed were
parodies, evoked scenes of gruesome murder, including the
infamous song “97 Bonnie & Clyde".

The album enjoyed commercial success; especially the
singles "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience". “The Slim Shady LP”
made it all the way to the number 2 spot on the US album chart in
March 1999.

Dre was so impressed with Eminem that he even asked him if
he would help to lay down tracks for Dre’s next solo album. Eminem
also received accolades from the famous Snoop Dogg, who called
him rap’s “great white American hope” in the song “Bitch Please II”.

With his new Aftermath contract and the Dre-produced “The
Slim Shady LP”, Eminem was well on his way. The album went triple
platinum by the end of 1999. It was certainly one of the most popular
albums of the entire year.

Up until this point in his career, Eminem had relied solely on
himself. With no resources, the young rapper had done everything
he could to get himself heard. His strategy was to do as many
events as possible including freestyle competitions, battles and demo
tapes. He figured that the more he did in the public sphere, the
greater his chances of being heard by someone important or of being

This strategy turned out to be pretty successful for Eminem.
He finally caught a break when Dre heard his demo tape. Eminem
knew it was only a matter of time until someone would hear him and
appreciate what he had to offer. In the interim, however, it’s a tough
strategy to use.

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Overcoming Every Kind of Adversity

Unlike most other rappers who came from poor families,
Eminem also had the added disadvantage of being white. Rap was
a genre of music dominated by African-Americans, may of them
rapping about racial oppression. Trying to gain credibility and
respect from his peers was no easy feat. It meant never letting his
guard down.

Eminem was knocked down countless times before finally
being discovered. It takes an incredible amount of determination and
motivation to keep doing something that you continually fail at. The
key for Eminem to get through this stage of his career was to have a
thick skin and to get his motivation from within.

He could not allow others to make him feel badly about
himself and to doubt his talent. If he had, he most would have lost
his opportunity to be heard by Dr Dre. He also had to have a burning
desire to persevere despite the many obstacles in front of him. A
love for rap was essential for Eminem’s success. You simply cannot
get beat down so many times over something you don’t care about.

Controversy & Em’s Niche in the Hip Hop Market

Eminem’s success was soaring, thanks to the sales of his
multi-platinum album. In the midst of everything however,
controversy was brewing over the violent and graphic nature of his

Part of the reason Eminem had become so poplular was
because of the very lyrics that were being condemned by critics as
being misogynistic and homophobic. Eminem claimed that the lyrics
should no be taken seriously, but his comments did nothing to
appease his critics.

Eminem deliberately chose to stay away from the hip-pop and
pop-rap that was flooding the market. He knew there was a niche
out there for music that was more serious, edgy and dark, and that
stayed away from over-used subjects like “bling”, money, fast cars,
“cristal”, and cheap women. He chose to use a different strategy to
achieve fame.

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The songs that Eminem wrote tended to focus on his
experiences and on his views of life in general. His music was a way
fro him to explore his darker side- his anger at the treatment he
received throughout his life, his sometimes scary thoughts, and
probing questions he had about life. These topics really drew in an
audience. Eminem was a refreshing take on the bubble-gum rap that
was dominating the music scene.

Some of the most common topics that appear in his lyrics are:
his mother and his childhood; disgust with groupies and dating; his
disdain for the American government; drugs and abuse; being white
in a black rap culture; his wife; raising his daughter as well as his
niece; and making fun of celebrities and pop culture.
The Power of Publicity

Eminem critics were outraged when “The Slim Shady LP” was
nominated for a Grammy award. A boycott of the award show was
organized by a gay rights group to protest Eminem’s gay-bashing
lyrics. In response to the boycott, Eminem performed one of his
songs on stage with Elton John, a legend in the music industry as
well as a homosexual. Eminem even gave Elton John a hug when
the performance finished. Everyone was shocked, but the move
didn’t stop the negative publicity.

All of the negative press and controversy surrounding Eminem
was having the opposite effect the critics had intended. The more
attention they drew to the rapper and his ‘R’ rated lyrics, the more
people went out and bought Eminem’s albums. He had become an
anti-hero of sorts- in total juxtaposition to the commercial rappers of
the day with their radio-friendly lyrics.

Eminem realized that all of the negative attention was actually
a good thing for his career. So he set out to push the envelope
further, in hopes of using negative publicity as his strategy. He
wanted to use all the negative attention to promote his “bad boy”
image and keep him in the spotlight.

Many of the things he wrote in his songs were for pure shock
value, not because he actually believed them. Eminem has been
quoted in interviews as saying that he has nothing against gay
people and that he doesn’t care what people do in their personal

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Real-Life Drama

Around this time, Eminem also faced legal issues. In 2000,
after watching a bouncer kiss his wife Kim, Eminem assaulted the
man. He faced assault charges for his attack on the bouncer.
Eminem drew even more negative press for the incident, but it only
served to add fuel to his career’s fire.

In 2002, Eminem released his third album called “The Eminem
Show”. This album addressed some new topics, most of which were
associated with the impact fame was having on his life. The album
still contained a lot of anger, but it was considerable less
inflammatory than his previous two albums. Instead, the album
focused on ridiculing boy bands and making derogatory comments
about celebrities and political figures.

Just as it seemed the controversial rapper had started to tone
down, a cassette tape emerged in which Eminem made disparaging
remarks about black women in a freestyle rap. He called them
“dumb chicks”, and the tape also contained racial slurs. The
revelation caused an uproar. Eminem alleged that he had made the
tape in the 80s after breaking up with his black girlfriend and that he
did it out of hurt and anger. Despite his explanation, the criticism
flared up again, this time angry about Eminem’s apparent racism.

Eminem’s lyrical attacks on other artists were also beginning
to take their toll. He made enemies out of several people including
Ja Rule, Benzino, Insane Clown Posse, and Fred Durst. Eminem
really stirred things up when he made fun of Micheal Jackson in his
music video “Just Lose It”.

In the video, Eminem refers to Jackson’s legal troubles and
parodies Jackson’s career. Jackson’s supporters, who stood by him
despite the allegations of child molestation, were outraged, and
made public comments about their disgust at Eminem’s ‘kicking a
man when he’s down”. BET actually stopped airing the video in the
midst of the controversy. The CEO of the Source magazine was so
angry, he demanded everyone pull the video from being aired, the
song be taken off the album, and that Eminem publicly apologize to
Micheal Jackson.

However, yet again Eminem had emerged as the victor
because MTV refused to pull the video; it was their number one

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requested video. His strategy for generating sales through negative
publicity was clearly still working well. Creating music that mirrored
his personal life seemed to be a winning strategy. He was certainly
staying in the spotlight.

Eminem’s Success strategies

Success Strategy #1: Use Adversity to Your Advantage

It didn’t seem to matter how horrible some people thought he
was. Eminem used it as ammunition for writing tracks. When bad
things happened in his personal life, or when vicious rumors
circulated about him, it only made him more powerful. It seemed he
was able to take all of the negatives in his life and use it to fuel
himself to reach a higher pinnacle of success. This strategy of
making lemonade out of lemons has really served him well.

Success Strategy #2: Create Buzz

He is a master at creating hype before an album release and
generating sales. Before the release of his fourth album “Encore”, an
unreleased song called “We As Americans” was “accidentally” leaked
onto the Internet. This time, the controversial lyrics caught the eye of
the United States Secret Service, who in 2003, admitted it was
investigating allegations that Eminem had threatened the President
of the United States. It seemed totally unbelievable, but apparently
the Secret Service interpreted Eminem’s lyrics as a reference to an
impending assassination attempt. The whole ordeal, instead of
being detrimental to Eminem’s career, served as a mechanism to
help launch the new album. It didn’t matter what kind of buzz he
generated; even really negative publicity was good for sales. As long
as the strategy continued to be successful, Eminem will keep using it.

Success Strategy #3: Be Loyal

Eminem made the most of his time spent learning from Dr
Dre. He is loyal to his mentor, and follows Dre’s success strategies
closely. Dre and Eminem were both smart in seeing the potential of
a hot white rapper in the current hip hop market. They brought rap
and hip hop to the previously untouched ‘suburban white kid’ market.
Eminem became the most listened to artist in hip hop by relating to
such a wide fan base. People identify with Em.

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Success Strategy #4: Be Real

Eminem continues to use his own personal life, as well as
society as fodder for his satirical rap songs and videos. His sharp
and witty lyricism has earned him lots of praise from his fans and
from his fellow rappers. This strategy is perhaps the most powerful
of all: he is authentic. By using experience from his own life and
baring his soul to his fans through his music, Eminem has developed
an environment where each fan feels as though they know him
personally. Being real and authentic has propelled him to
superstardom. Events that for some would be devastating, are
motivational for Eminem and lead him to keep writing new hit singles.
For instance, when his aunt and uncle, Jack and Betty Schmitt, sued
Eminem for breaking a promise to build and upkeep a $350,000
house for them, Eminem didn’t let it get to him. As his own family
turned on him, he internalized the pain, and filed it away for future
album material. It

Success Strategy #5: Don’t Let Haters Get You Down

One of the keys to Eminem’s success as a rap artist, and as a
survivor of a rough childhood, is his ability to remain unaffected by
critics and haters. He knows that the things that seem to destroy him
are also nourishing his artistic side, giving him more and more to
write about. If Eminem hadn’t had such a horrifying upbringing, he
would probably never have developed his signature biting style of

Instead of lashing out at a life that seemed totally unfair,
Eminem channeled his anger and energy into rapping. When he was
just getting started, he never allowed himself the luxury of feeling
sorry for himself, nor did ever buy into comments that other people
made about his music. Eminem does not need awards or praise in
order to know that he is a success. He already knows it himself.
That kind of attitude is what makes Eminem a star.

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50 Cent
Curtis Jackson, AKA 50 Cent, brings credibility and edge to
his music that was hard earned. Everything in 50’s life indicates that
he wouldn’t have become the success that he is today; it’s a wonder
that he’s even alive. But he is… and he’s taken the hip hop industry
by storm.

Born in Queens in the late 1970’s, 50’s childhood years were
riddled with drug deals, tragic loss and instability. 50 was orphaned
at an early age when his mother, a force to be reckoned with in the
Queen’s drug trade, perished in a fire under mysterious
circumstances. His father had abandoned the family years earlier.

50’s grandparents took him in, providing him with all of life’s
necessities. Unfortunately, the street life was deeply ingrained and
his want for flashy possessions sent him back to the block. While he
appreciated everything his grandmother tried to provide, he had
grown accustomed to his mother’s financial status and free-spending
ways. He developed a lengthy rap sheet and a long list of enemies
while building his personal wealth and reputation on the street.
When 50’s son was born, he decided to actively pursue rap as a

Learning the Ropes & Making Enemies Along the Way

Once again, the odds were stacked against him. 50 had
signed with JMJ and began learning the ropes. Unfortunately, JMJ
was the brainchild of Run DMC DJ Jam Master Jay; an industry
outsider. Beyond teaching 50 how to write songs and read music,
there wasn’t much JMJ could do for him.

In 1999, 50 was discovered by the duo Trackmasters, who
signed him to Columbia House. After only 2 ! weeks in the studio,
50 had recorded 36 songs and created “Power of a Dollar”, which
has been hailed as an unreleased classic by some.

One song in particular rubbed some more established rappers
the wrong way; “How to Rob” was a satirical dream about robbing
famous rappers. Apparently they didn’t get the joke. Jay-Z, Sticky
Fingaz and others were not impressed. It was, however, a brilliant

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marketing strategy. Getting more popular, established artists to talk
about him effectively increased the buzz surrounding his name.

With a hot new album in the works and a signed deal with
Columbia House, things were looking up for 50. It appeared that he
was finally about to break into the mainstream music scene and live
out his dream.

Tragedy Strikes

Just before the release of “Power of A Dollar”, in April 2000,
50 was shot nine times in front of his grandmother’s house. His
hustling days had caught up with him. 50 had always worked hard to
protect his family, and especially his grandmother, from learning the
truth about his Success activities. The hardened drug dealer was a
loving, devoted grandson; he has often said that he lived a double
life. There was no denying the source of his troubles to his
grandmother after he was shot.

The shooting took place just three days before he was set to
shoot the video for his first single, with Destiny’s Child.

After taking a .9mm bullet to the face, another to the head,
and seven more to his body and legs, 50 would spend months in
recovery. For most young men, this would be the end of the story.
Luckily, for 50 and for his hip hop loving fans, this was only the

More Adversity

It was a callous decision for Columbia House to drop 50 from
the label shortly after he was shot. But they did; they had written him
off completely. His album had been heavily bootlegged. Riddled
with bullet wounds, they assumed that he would be too handicapped
or disfigured to make it as a recording artist.

When he left the hospital, 50 began recording songs for mix
tapes with his protégé Sha Money XL. With no financial backing or
music industry support, they recorded over 30 songs that created a
buzz in the underground hip hop world. In 2001, he released his new
material in the form of an independent LP, “Guess Who’s Back?”.
With his crew, G-Unit, 50 kept on recording. This time, he re-touched
classic beats by other artists such as Jay-Z and Rapheal Saadiq. “50

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Cent Is The Future” was born; his latest bootleg album was making
its way through the streets.

After being dumped by Trackmasters and Columbia House, 50
harbored no hard feelings and agreed to rhyme over a Trackmasters-
produced J. Lo song. However, he was cut from the recording before
its release by rivals at Murder, Inc. Again, he had a shot… and once
again, he was cut down before he could really get started.

A Fateful Discovery

By a stroke of sheer luck, 50’s album reached the ears of
none other than Eminem, a self made hip hop mogul himself. A
bidding war broke out after Eminem proclaimed on a radio show, “50
Cent is my favorite rapper right now”. Eminem and Dre had just
joined forces in the union of Em’s Shady Records and Dre’s
Aftermath Entertainment. At Em’s urging, Dre threw his support
behind the artist and they signed 50 to Shady/Aftermath. Realizing
that Eminem’s endorsement had been his big break, 50 didn’t
hesitate to sign.

Just before he began recording under Shady/Aftermath, 50
quickly released another mix tape, with a song called “Wanksta”.
The song appeared to take aim at Ja Rule, which served to add more
fuel to the fire surrounding 50. Though it was never intended to
become a hit single, “Wanksta” became a hit on New York radio and
was added to the soundtrack of Eminem’s “8 Mile”.

When he hit the studio, Dre and 50 had their creative
differences, over one song in particular. Dre felt that “21 Questions”
was too soft and sappy for a gangsta rap album. But 50 stuck to his
guns, again stating that this is who he is; one part street thug, one
part caring family man.

Success At Last – 50’s Destiny Fulfilled

The release of “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” said that 50 had
arrived. It went gold in its first week and platinum the week after that.
It was certified six times platinum on April 12, 2004.

With the success of “Get Rich…”, Interscope granted 50 his
wish… in 2003, his own label, G-Unit Records, came into being. This
allowed 50 to capitalize not only on his own talents, but also the

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talents of other up and comers. Some would call it “giving back”;
that’s a pretty lofty idea. What it means to have your own label in the
hip hop world is this: mo money.

In March 2005, 50 released another album. “The Massacre”
had two hit singles right off the bat.

Throughout his personal trials and professional discovery, 50
remained true to his goals. He is a determined, driven man who can
recognize an opportunity a mile off. Everything in his life said that he
should have failed; possibly even died at a very young age. How did
he overcome such odds?

Where others would have given up, 50 pushed harder. He
turned his hard living life on the streets into a multi-million dollar
success story. While it was a lucky break that Eminem heard his mix
tape and set the wheels in motion, it can’t be denied that a lot of hard
work is the real reason his career took off like it did. Being endorsed
by a hip hop celebrity with power and reputation certainly helped, but
50 had to back it up and prove himself worthy of such praise. Many
people are given opportunities in life, but sadly some throw those
opportunities away. Not 50; he was determined to make the most of
his shot.

After signing with Dre, 50 quickly released another bootleg
album. He knows about creating a buzz; give the people want they
want, and they will keep coming back for more.

Keepin’ It Real

Part of 50’s appeal is that he is so real. It’s one thing to write
some lyrics about hard living and street life. It’s quite another to have
actually lived that life and prospered because of it. Some hip hop
songs are great because they have a good beat, others because
they have a story to tell. 50 is a master of both. He tells it like it is,
setting his thoughts and stories to addictive beats and wicked hooks.
Part of making it on the streets is loyalty; to your friends, to
your family, and to your ‘business associates’. 50 didn’t forget his
friends on the way up. After the unbelievable success of “Get Rich or
Die Tryin’”, which sold over 11 million albums, 50 formed G-Unit
Records and released an album with longtime friends Lloyd Banks,
Young Buck, and Tony Yayo. Sha Money XL, his manager, was
named the President.

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This was really a crucial point in 50’s career. Many people
make it so far and then stop, either content with the level of success
they have achieved, or overwhelmed and frozen. He knew that he
had to take advantage of everything that he had going on for him and
use his resources and contacts to build his business. If he sat back
and let it slip by, he would become another one-hit wonder.

Building His Business

Starting a record label was the first step he took towards
building his business. This is a very important factor; he did indeed
consider this a business. And to be successful in business, you have
to think like a businessman. 50 knew the toll that alcohol could take
on a person, lessening their ability to reason and make good
decisions. He needed to have all of his wits about him and stay
sharp, so he made a conscious decision not to drink alcohol or
smoke cigarettes.

Understanding the need to diversify in order to stay on top, he
also bought a stake in a vitamin-water company called Glaceau. He
turned down several liquor endorsement deals, choosing instead to
be involved in a business that he actually believed in. You could say
this is a rare quality, in a world where a celebrity will throw their face
on just about anything for the right price.

Becoming a Brand

Let’s slow down for a minute and really focus on this section:
endorsements. Companies pay millions each year to have various
celebrities endorse their products. In years past, actors were the
likely choice for endorsements. Why? Because they portrayed a
positive, successful image. We wanted whatever it was that they
had, because it had obviously made them so fantastic!

Then athletes came into the picture, and endorsements went
crazy… think Tiger, Air Jordan, Wayne Gretzky. These guys were
commanding some pretty big price tags to have their face stuck on a
cereal box, or to pose with a pair of shoes. We could see that they
were very successful in what they did and trusted their ‘advice’.

So when did hip hop artists break into this million dollar
opportunity? Twenty years ago, they were just too controversial.

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What suburban parent would buy their child a pair of sneakers
promoted by ‘hoodlums’? But as the popularity of hip hop grew and
it became more mainstream, teens and adults began to look to these
superstars as inspirations in their own lives.

It was a rewarding transition… although some may call it
‘selling out’, they would be wrong to put such a demeaning label on
such a fantastic opportunity. The quality of 50’s music is certainly not
diminished by bringing it to a wider audience. Using endorsements
as an extra avenue for generating income is a smart move for a hip
hop star. Anything that creates buzz, promotes their image, or puts
them in the spotlight is a great thing.

Being a Role Model

This brings us to another, related point. It cannot be denied
that the hip hop/rap world still sparks fear in the hearts of many.
Tales of the fateful night that 50 was shot make parents think twice
about allowing this person to be a role model for their child.

But he is a role model. This is a key to his success. By telling
the truth, owning up to his ghosts, and sharing his story through his
lyrics, 50 has become real to so many people. They look up to him
and wonder how he stayed so strong. Where teens used to idolize
athletes and actors, they now feel that hip hop stars and other
celebrities ‘get’ them. People want to feel understood… 50 gives
people that impression. He understands what it’s like… he

He’s not sweeping what happened to him under the rug, nor
does he deny the reasons and circumstances that brought him to
that night. 50 uses the hip hop style, culture and life to promote
certain products… and gets paid for it!

While other celebrities have certainly learned to take
advantage of endorsements, it was simply not an option for many hip
hop and rap stars… at least not on the same scale. With his Reebok
endorsement deal, 50 used his reputation and power to make him

He could not have taken landed such a sweet deal, had he not
had such a wide appeal to so many people. By writing the music that

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he does and turning his name into a brand, he made himself a very
lucrative and attractive option for endorsements.

Seizing the Moment

With the astonishing success of his album and endorsements,
his own record label, and a stake in a successful company, 50 was
not content to stop there. His next move would serve a few different

In November 2005, 50’s ‘semi-autobiographical’ movie, “Get
Rich or Die Tryin’”, was released. This movie produced a storm of
controversy and publicity before it was even released. People were
outraged at what they said was a glorification of gun violence, sex
and drug use.

We could sit here and argue back and forth on the merits of
the movie from a number of different perspectives… instead, we’ll
concentrate on the fallout. Like so many superstars, 50 understands
that publicity is a good thing, be it good or bad. People were angry,
outraged, disgusted, etc… and they were talking about it! What
more could an aspiring actor/filmmaker ask for, on the release of his
first film?

Yes, it was violent. Yes, people were swearing. Yes, they
even used drugs. This is the world he grew up in. While it offended
the sensitivities of some, others could relate to the movie.

Some saw it as an inspiration; to hear and see the story of
their idol in another media. Others simply watched the film for pure
entertainment. But people were watching, and those who didn’t care
to go see it had at least heard the controversy surrounding it. 50
Cent became a household name.

He didn’t make out too badly either… “Get Rich or Die Tryin”
grossed almost $31 million at the box office.

His movie is a great example of how getting, and staying, in
the public eye can make you very wealthy indeed. But some
publicity generating moves are unintentional. They may even cause
pain and occasionally hurt feelings.

Understanding Fame and Publicity

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50’s short-lived relationship with actress Vivica A. Fox is a
prime example. They arrived together at the 2003 MTV music
awards, to the delight of the paparazzi. 50 quickly learned a lesson
in celebrity. He suspected that Fox was merely using him to garner
media attention.

While some celebrities thrive on this sort of attention,
discarding lovers on an almost weekly basis in search of the next
headline-grabbing partner, this wasn’t 50’s style. He and Fox parted
ways, allowing him to once again focus on building his business.

Being able to differentiate between publicity and overkill
shows a maturity in 50. He didn’t want to fall into the trap of
overexposure that claims so many celebrities, turning them into
ridiculous parodies of real people. He wanted to stay real.

Marketing and Self-Promotion

In another smooth move in self promotion, “Bulletproof” was
born. This realistic, violent video game portrays 50 and his buddies
cruising the streets of New York. Featuring a soundtrack made up of
his own recordings, Bulletproof is pure 50, through and through.

Finally, 50 cornered another market. With Marc Ecko, he
created his own signature clothing line. G-Unit Clothing Co garments
feature a 50 cent price point… for example, a pair of jeans would sell
for $38.50, in honor of the artist. Hip hop fashion is a trendy and
lucrative market… a clothing line carrying the name of one of the
hottest hip hop stars was bound to be a success.

50 Cent’s Success strategies

Success Strategy #1: Maintain Visibility

The key to 50’s success in the mainstream market is two-fold:
his appeal to a wide range of fans, and his visibility. Whether it’s his
shoes, his video game, his music, his clothes… 50’s name is out
there and is now a household name.

Success Strategy #2: Be True

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He is a man who has always stayed true to his word and his
goals. He is different things to different people and that is appealing
to so many. He is a boy who loves his Grandma; a feared street
hustler; a talented hip hop artist; and a cunning businessman. And
he does it all with style. You could also write about that he mixed the
old gangsta rap image with the glamour/ pose approach and became
that big with that strategy of mixing too styles together into a unique
style that the market had a need for.

Success Strategy #3: Know Your Target Market

50 has a good sense of business and his target market. He
understands what people are looking for and then simply gives it to
them. From music, to movies, to video games, 50 keeps his fans

Success Strategy #4: Keep On Keepin’ On

It cannot be denied that 50 has a power and drive that puts
him head and shoulders above his competition. The sheer
determination of a man who would recover from such a harrowing
incident as he has faced amazes us all. The fact that he went on to
become a superstar is that much more incredible.

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Secrets Revealed – The 8 Success Strategies
You Can Steal From the Hip Hop Masters
Dr Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent are all huge
stars in the rap music industry. They each succeeded in their
careers by using a combination of different strategies in order to
launch their careers, hit the top of the charts, and stay at the top of
the rap game.

Some of the success strategies these artists use are the
same; some are very different. In many cases, the rappers had
similar obstacles, but dealt with them in unique ways. Over time,
their strategies changed as they transitioned to the next stage of their
careers. What worked well at the start of their career may not be
quite as effective when a certain level of fame has been achieved.

The way these hip-hop artists transcended the various barriers
in their lives, and managed to emerge victorious in a tough and hard
to please music industry has made them role models for how to
become successful. By choosing their strategies, whether
consciously or unconsciously, these artists have achieved
unprecedented levels of fame and fortune in the rap music industry.

These strategies can be used by anyone to propel their career
and personal lives into the stratosphere. Listed below are “The 8
Success Strategies You Can Steal From the Hip Hop
Masters” to build your own successes.
Success Strategy #1: Overcoming Adversity

Being able to overcome difficult obstacles to look ahead to the
future is absolutely necessary for success. The ability to look beyond
the present situation, no matter how bleak it is, and to have a vision
of the future is a key elements as well as one of the first steps toward
becoming rich, famous, and fabulously successful.

All of the rappers previously discussed came from less than
ideal circumstances. They all had to deal with issues like poverty,
rough childhoods, a lack of role models, crime, and racism.

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Poverty and lack of funding don’t necessarily have to be
deterrents to success. All of the featured artists were poor, but it
didn’t stop them from following their dreams.

As African-Americans, Dr Dre, Diddy, Jay-Z and 50
Cent were already at a disadvantage in terms of becoming
successful and wealthy. Even though the rap genre itself is
predominantly black, it’s difficult to reach the heights of white stars in
the music industry. However, these rappers are helping to
dramatically change this dynamic. Jay-Z, in addition to his success
as a rapper, is now the president of a major music label. Similarly, P
Diddy has a multi-million dollar business.

Another obstacle that played a factor in the lives of the
rappers was racism. Even in today’s world, minorities have to
struggle in order to reach the levels of success of the white American
majority. The playing level is still not level for women, immigrants,
and even non-white Americans.

Eminem also had to combat racism because he was a white
man trying to make it in a black rap industry. There are very few
white rappers, and none as famous as Eminem. If he has listened to
everyone who told him that a white rapper would never make it, he’d
never be where he is today.

The basic ingredients for success are perseverance, personal
drive and confidence. Without a thick skin, crumbling under the
pressure to perform and to be more is inevitable. Every single one of
the rappers was able to shake off the negative and persevere
towards a goal. They also believed that they had the talent and drive
necessary to achieve their dreams. Dr Dre was always, self-assured,
and this is what allowed him to become a producing mogul. Jay-Z
still proclaims that he is the best rapper alive. That is the kind of
mentality that garners real success.

Success Strategy #2: Having Vision

Born into rough neighborhoods, and usually lacking a father
figure, these rappers were able to maintain a vision of what they
wanted to achieve in life. For some, like Jay-Z and 50 Cent, their
vision of becoming the best rapper alive meant turning to crime in the
short term to raise funds to start his own music label. But committing
crimes is risky, and not really necessary, although some would argue

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that Jay-Z gets lots of material for his music from his days as a

Other rappers, like Eminem, worked minimum wage jobs in
order to fund the start-up of their careers. Both ways have their
downsides. For Eminem it meant working long hours for very little

When these stars made decisions; when they took action and
made choices, they had a vision for the future in mind. Their moves
were calculated and served a purpose. They had goals and devised
strategies to meet them.

Success Strategy #3: Willingness to Learn

The next important success strategy is to admit that you aren’t
the best at what you do, and surround yourself by those who are the
best. It’s impossible to learn and grow as an artist surrounded by
people who are weaker and less talented. That type of ego-feeding
activity is a sure way to fail- perhaps not right away, but eventually.

All of the rappers in this e-book made an effort to associate
with artists they already admired and they believed had something to
offer in terms of advice and experience. This is a humbling strategy,
but its benefits are long-term because its helps people to reach their
potential, and then surpass it.
Finding someone who is willing to mentor you and teach you
about the industry is part of this strategy for success. P Diddy
started out being mentored by a very successful and talented André
Harrell. Diddy knew that Harrell would be able to help him develop
as a rap artist, a producer, and as a businessman. Allowing
someone who’s been through everything to help you navigate
through a foreign industry gives you a head start on others, who
make every mistake there is to make along the way. A mentor can
help to avoid some of the more common pitfalls.

It was also important for almost all the rappers aforementioned
to try their hand at other jobs within the music industry. Dre’s
producing experience gave him new insight into the world of rapping,
and he was consequently able to identify a new trend and capitalize
on it.

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These rappers know how important it is to treat failures as
valuable lessons. When Eminem’s first record was scorned because
it sounded too much like Nas, Eminem learned that he had to stay
true to his own sound. His next albums, which came from his
personal experience, were applauded as original and gutsy.

For Dre, one of the most valuable lessons he learned was to
be as flexible as possible. You can’t be rigid in an industry that is
constantly evolving; you have to evolve too. Dre knew that he’d have
to evolve with the changing face of rap music in order to surviving
and prosper. It is essential to be in tune with the marketplace and
anticipate changes. It’s a huge mistake to expect things to stay the
same because the very nature of the music industry is dynamic.

Another part of the strategy of being willing to learn, is gaining
credibility. This is only accomplished by showing your peers that you
have a superior work ethic and that you want to constantly improve
on your abilities. Some of the best ways to gain credibility within the
industry is to have mentors, surround yourself by those with more
talent and success, and learn from your, and their, mistakes.

Success Strategy #4: Networking

Another way to gain credibility is to network. Jay-Z’s goal was
for people to think of his name as synonymous with rap music. The
strategy is used to achieve this goal was to work and surround
himself with the hottest and best artists and producers out there.
These networks, with his subsequent musical collaborations, served
to make his name known among the people who mattered.

Networking is a valuable skill that will get your name out there
and establish contacts that will be helpful both now and in the future.
It is also a great way to increase the number of people you know.
Perhaps there’s someone who you know could really help you out,
but you don’t know him and don’t know how to contact him. The
benefit of a network is that you might already know someone who
knows the person you’re after and can put you in contact- maybe
even put in a good word for you. Dre discovered Snoop Dogg
through his cousin Warren G. A big part of success is in who you

In order to create a network of contacts, the rappers really had
to promote themselves and push their music. Eminem was

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constantly adding to his network by performing on the underground
circuit, entering competitions, releasing free mix tapes, and forcing
himself onto radio shows for interviews.

Building a network is hard at first. Constantly meeting new
people and trying to convince them you’re worth considering is not
easy. However, it gets easier with time and as the network grows.
After a while, networking becomes second nature.

Success Strategy #5: Publicity

Using publicity as tool for self-promotion is an easy strategy
with little cost and good benefits. Publicity is basically free
advertising, and like they say, any attention is good attention.
Eminem learned this lesson very well after he hit the mainstream with
his second album. He was heavily criticized for his violent lyrics and
consequently, a large amount of negative publicity was generated.

However, Eminem was able to harness the negative attention
and use it to his benefit to promote his albums and his concerts.
Being able to create hype and buzz about an impending album
release or simply an artist is really valuable. Jay-Z created huge
hype for the “Black Album” by announcing his retirement from the rap
industry. This caused such a stir that his album got more publicity
than paid advertisements.

Rappers like Eminem and Dre know the importance of tapping
into the power of the underground. Acceptance from the
underground rap scene can really boost album sales and concert
attendance- all thanks to word of mouth advertising.

Diddy and 50 Cent often get publicity for their other business
ventures thanks to their popularity as rap artists. They have
effectively branded themselves, making their names synonymous
with trendy and cool. Diddy’s clothing line receives more publicity
because of his name, and the same thing goes for 50 Cent and his
movie and shoes.

Diddy also creates publicity fro himself by giving back to the
community. Although he is donating to charities and generally doing
good in the world because he wants to, he is also creating positive
publicity for himself as an artist. Every time a newspaper does a
story on one of Diddy’s charitable campaigns, they never fail to

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mention that he is a famous rapper with a new album coming out.
This type of publicity is a win-win situation.

Success Strategy #6: Diversification

Diversification is a more risky strategy, but its payoffs can be
huge. It’s not really a smart strategy to use at the onset of a career,
although a little bit of diversification with the music industry can be
really beneficial. For the most part, however, this strategy is for
wealth building, not for getting discovered.

Diversification can occur either within the rap music industry or
outside it. Dre, know best as a producer has really mastered the art
of switching seamlessly between the roles of artist, producer and
talent scout. He knows the rap industry inside out, and his forays
into scouting and producing have been extremely lucrative.

P. Diddy is at the other end of the diversification spectrum. He
used his career as a rap artist as a platform from which to launch his
multi-million dollar Bad Boy empire. He has branched out into
numerous areas including advertising, technology, restaurants and
fashion. The benefit of being so diversified is that if one venture
should fail, Diddy has many others to fall back on. Also, the financial
reward for investing in other businesses is enormous.

A few of the rappers have chosen to try acting in feature films.
This move into film can have benefits and drawbacks. If all goes
well, it can open up a whole new world of possibilities and profits. If,
however, acting proved to be a mistake, it can tarnish your image as
a rapper.

Diversification of wealth is in general a very smart move.
Having all of your eggs in one basket is a risky choice indeed.

Success Strategy #7: Filling a Need

One of the most impressive strategies these stars used was
their ability to read their target market and fill a need. They started
by understanding and accepting that they could appeal to a wider
market by changing a few things about their style. They set trends
and refused to conform, using every situation to their advantage.

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Dre saw that the need for gangsta rap was dwindling; Diddy
saw a need for high fashion and glamour in hip hop; Jay-Z saw a
need for his talent and skills in business as a way to make and keep
more money for himself; Eminem saw a need for Mr. Angry White
Rapper to reach previously untouched markets; 50 Cent saw the
need for a true, authentic street thug to bring gangsta rap back to life.
Each of these artists read the market and found their own niche.

Success Strategy #8: Innovation and Creativity

Being an innovative thinker is a valuable characteristic. Dre
created his signature gangsta rap style by not following trends. He
instead decided to start one of his own. This was a very lucrative
move for Dre, and the creation of the gangsta style of rap changed
the face of the industry, making Dre a living legend.

Eminem, Dre and Jay-Z all gained success by doing
something new and innovative. Eminem is an angry white rapper
with some of the best lyrics and delivery in the business, Dre
pioneered new kinds of rap, and Jay-Z chose to develop commercial
hip-pop to obtain a wider audience. Each of these strategies is
different, but they are all innovative and hadn’t been done before.

Part of being innovative is following trends in the market in
order to know when it’s time to move on, and when it’s time to
capitalize on something. Dre decided that gangsta rap was dead
and moved on to other projects just before the collapse of the Death
Row record label. Jay-Z realized that he could capture a much wider
audience and therefore more profits by capitalizing on the lack of
really good pop-rap. Understanding and knowing what’s happening
within the rap industry, as well as in the music industry as a whole, is
a key strategy for success.

These strategies are tools for success, and can really make
the difference between a mediocre and a stellar career. However,
nothing can be accomplished without hard work dedication, passion,
and drive. These qualities are what separate Dr Dre, P. Diddy, Jay-
Z, Eminem, and 50 Cent from the other rappers in the industry.

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The following websites provided the valuable information
necessary to compile this guide. Please visit them for more
information about your favorite artists.

Dr Dre music/artist/card/0,,424045,00.html

P. Diddy



50 Cent

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About the author
Steli Efti is the founder and principal of a new kind of school –
Supercool School.

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