With the relatively low barrier of entrance into the Hip Hop world these artists standout among the crowd. Combining their passion for music with sound entrepreneurial principles they have each created a unique brand for themselves. Will their business savvy continue to develop and will they become the next Hip Hop moguls of tomorrow? Either way they have taken their passion and turned it into successful business ventures. They are all paving their own path in their industry and influencing today’s and tomorrow’s generation.
Wale, Age 25
Starting out as an aspiring artist from D.C exhibiting complex rhymes and flows on free mixtapes, Wale began touring with Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, and Lily Allen and then got signed to Interscope Records. A star on the rise, well known among celebrities as a huge sneakerhead you can find Wale on the Jordan Brand: Holiday 2010 look book.
Lupe Fiasco, Age 28
Chicago native has enjoyed his share of success with his single Kick Push being featured in the video game NBA Live 2007. Aside from music he is also working on using his story telling skills in a more traditional format to write a novel. It’s been said his lyrics rank among those of Eminem and Jay-Z.
J. Cole, Age 25
An up and comer on the list, J. Cole is the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation and is one of the new artists who many are counting on to carry the torch for hip hop. Anxious fans shouldn’t have to wait much longer with his debut album Cole World being released in October 2010.
Bow Wow, Age 23
The artist formerly known as “Lil Bow Wow” began his music career at age 13 with his debut album Beware of Dog. Dropping the “Lil” in 2002, Bow wow has been featured on the HBO series Entourage as Charlie an up & coming comedian and recently starred in the movie Lottery Ticket
Only taking breaks to challenge fellow celebs in “Madden” Bow Wow is always hard at work releasing his 7th solo studio album later this year.
Drake, Age 23
Originally only known by our friends up north as Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation Drizzy made his way into the music scene completely unsigned. His mix tape So Far Gone received 2,000 downloads in the first 2 hours of its release. With his 1st studio album Thank Me Later released earlier this year Drake has already managed to work with some of the biggest names in the industry; Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Dr. Dre. With a total 34 award nominations ranging from the JUNO Awards in Canada to Grammys in the US he has no intentions of slowing down with a new mix tape due later this year.
Kid Cudi, 26
Signed to Kanye West’s Label GOOD Music Cudi made his way into the music scene with his single titled Day n Night reaching the top 5 of Billboard’s Hot 100. Clothing brand B.A.P.E awarded Cudi his own shirt in reward for his music and past employment. Now making it on his own he is also starring on the HBO series How to Make it in America a show which follows two young men on their goal to drop the 9-5s and make it in New York City’s fashion scene.
Asher Roth, 25
If we all had this much fun in college we probably would have never made it out. But Asher Roth took the alternative route after creating a buzz big enough to gain the attention of the marketing VP of So So Def Records putting his Elementary Education major on the shelf and picking up his microphone to promote his debut album Asleep on the Bread Isle and single I Love College. His witty rhymes full of punch lines and catch phrases have catapulted this artists career with his sophomore album The Spaghetti Tree due out later this year.
Travie McCoy, 29
Lead singer of the alternative Hip Hop group Gym Class Heroes. “I wanna be a billionaire so f@#$%*! bad” Bruno Mars sings on Travie McCoy’s hit single Billionaire from his solo album Lazarus. Need I say more
Black Milk, 27
One of the young artist putting the Detroit Hip Hop sound back on the map. Fueled by the late J Dilla’s inspirational legacy, Black Milk produces and raps over his own beats. Many artists emerge as the new young leaders of hip hop but few always remain. Black Milk has stayed relevant by remaining focused on creating music that endures. If you’re interested in listening to one of the best producers around combined with sharp lyricism and stylish delivery then check out his album 365 Album of the Year.
Written by upstart entrepreneur and Under30CEO intern Roy Roca.