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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
10/19/2003 6:53:15 AM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Irv Gotti, Eazy-E, Jermaine Dupri, P. Diddy, Eminem, Ja Rule, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Ashanti, Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz and Obie Trice.

While hip-hop has become the single-most collaborative genre of music over the past 20 years, it's also conversely grown to be the most cliquish in all of history.

Listen to the radio. Hit a club. Read the charts. It's Beyonce featuring Sean Paul. Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz featuring the Ying Yang Twins. Nelly featuring P. Diddy and Murphy Lee. Ludacris featuring Shawnna. YoungBloodz featuring Lil Jon.

And that's only the top five, in order, of this week's Billboard singles chart.

Like-minded artists always have been drawn to each other creatively and professionally, but only in hip-hop do you see such fervent collaboration. While some of the magnetism bringing the artists together is shared admiration and friendship, the overall purpose is generally more business-minded.

Although not overt, what's going on in hip-hop is quite revolutionary. And it's forcing the rest of the music industry to reconsider their own potential for self-promotion.

Hip-hop has created what might be the ideal business model for networking and branding. Over the years certain luminaries have emerged and become godfathers of hip-hop, CEOs of a sort.

Trace hip-hop lineage and you'll see that we have 50 Cent thanks to gangsta pioneer Eric Wright aka Eazy-E. We have Ashanti thanks to master businessman Irv Gotti. Mike D. of the Beastie Boys and Chuck D. of Public Enemy come courtesy of hip-hop titan Russell Simmons. And Bone Crusher comes to us via Southern impresario Jermaine Dupri.

It's marketing through inbreeding, and it's genius - a Six Degrees of P. Diddy, who gave us Notorious B.I.G., Ma$e and Faith Evans, if you will. Here's an example of how hip-hop stardom is bred and spread.

In the mid-'80s, Eazy-E recruited the then-unknown Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to write songs for the artists on his Ruthless Records. When the duo's track "Boyz-N-the Hood" was rejected by a Ruthless artist, Cube, Dre and Eazy recorded it under the name N.W.A., the group that came to epitomize the gangsta rap sound and attitude.

Not only did Cube and Dre go on to successful post-N.W.A. music careers, but they also sprouted their own little empires.

Cube helped launch da Lench Mob by featuring them on his "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" disc and producing their 1992 debut "Guerillas in tha Mist." Dre's influence is seen and heard everywhere today. His shortlist boasts factoids such as Dre discovering Snoop Dogg and Dre founding Death Row Records with Suge Knight. But his most relevant lineage detail has him discovering Eminem, one of the biggest artists of our time.

Carrying the line through, Eminem signed D-12, 50 Cent and Obie Trice. Via 50 Cent, G-Unit will get its major label heave next month, and they owe at least partial credit to Eazy-E, who died of AIDS in 1995.

"Me and Jermaine (Dupri), we speak about it all the time," said industry guru Big Jon Platt. "And our take on it is that hip-hop right now is really cliqued up. Who's your affiliation? You almost need to be attached to somebody to really make it right now."

Platt would know. As a senior vice president at EMI music publishing, he's signed artists including Jay-Z, Usher, Fabolous, Ying Yang Twins, Clipse and DJ Clue to publishing deals. As a senior vice president of A&R at Virgin Records, a position he also holds, he worked Brandy's last album, is repping Janet Jackson's upcoming disc and releasing the debut of Bay Area hip-hoppers The Federation on his own Virgin imprint, Montbello Records - named after the Denver neighborhood he grew up in.

And the fact that he and Jermaine Dupri talk regularly says something, too.

"Hip-hop's a clo

Find out more about Irv Gotti. Other items you may find on Irv Gotti include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Eazy-E. Other items you may find on Eazy-E include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Jermaine Dupri. Other items you may find on Jermaine Dupri include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about P. Diddy. Other items you may find on P. Diddy include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Eminem. Other items you may find on Eminem include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Ja Rule. Other items you may find on Ja Rule include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Ludacris. Other items you may find on Ludacris include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Jay-Z. Other items you may find on Jay-Z include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Ashanti. Other items you may find on Ashanti include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz. Other items you may find on Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

Find out more about Obie Trice. Other items you may find on Obie Trice include updates, news, multimedia, chat, links and more. Click here...

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