Will Diddy And Jay-Z Be First Hip-Hop Billionaires? Not So, Says Birdman

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In the high stakes battle for Hip Hop superiority, it appears that the two top money earners in the rap game – ShawnJay-ZCarter and SeanDiddyCombs respectively – are in a quiet duel to become the first billionaires by way of their shared industry.

With various streams of revenue flowing for both savvy businessmen, some unrelated to music, the potential is vast for both men according to a recent analysis from Forbes magazine. However, another Hip Hop mogul believes he and his team will eclipse Jay-Z and Diddy in the money race all in due time.

CEO of Cash Money Records BrianBirdmanWilliams threw his and protégé Lil Wayne’s Young Money imprint names into the billionaire sweepstakes pot, defiantly stating that the YMCMB machine is well on its way to the top. “I think Young Money Cash Money would be the first billion-dollar brand in hip-hop,” said Birdman plainly in an email to Forbes referencing his label ventures. “We strong and growing every day as a brand and fast. Within the next few years we will be billionaires.”


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According to Forbes numbers, Diddy is at the halfway mark with an estimated net worth of $500 million, much of that tied up in Diddy’s business ventures such as his Sean John and Enyce clothing lines along with his stake in Ciroc vodka. Jay-Z is right behind his rich pal with assets that include a lucrative $10 million dollar Live Nation deal, the 40/40 club chain, cosmetic company Carol’s Daughter and his partial ownership of the New Jersey (soon to be Brooklyn) Nets amongst other deals. Continuing the dollar tally, only Dr. Dre and 50 Cent are within range for the coveted billionaire status.

Jay-Z Protege J.Cole Preps For Music Spotlight

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J. Cole’s time on hip-hop’s sideline is almost over.

More than two years after being hand-picked by rap impresario Jay-Z as the first artist on the music mogul’s fledging Roc Nation imprint, the 26 year-old Cole hopes to repay his mentor’s faith in him when his long-awaited debut “Cole World: The Sideline Story” is released on September 27.

Thanks to the high-profile endorsement and several critically lauded free albums released online, Cole has established himself as a leading voice in a new generation of hip-hop talent that includes artists like Drake, Big Sean and Wale. The North Carolina-native told Reuters the album balances different styles and lyrical content that reflect his meticulous approach towards crafting music.

“Like some rappers have, on my debut I could have gone super commercial,” said Cole of the album, which features appearances by Drake, Missy Elliott, Trey Songz (who appears on the single “Can’t Get Enough”) and, of course, Jay-Z.

“I could have just filled the album with eight or nine potential singles and hope that some of them work. Or, I could have gone the other route and been super stubborn, using only the personal material and not even worry about selling any records. What I ended up doing was the perfect balance of both. I have a number of all of those styles; the personal, deep records that are almost tear-jerkers and the fun, carefree records and super lyrical songs.”

MENTORED BY JAY-Z

Cole began pursuing a career in hip-hop while attending college at St. John’s University in New York City. Eager to prove himself in 2007, he waited for Jay-Z outside a Manhattan studio for hours in hopes of passing a demo CD to the legendary Brooklyn emcee, who initially brushed him off.

But two years later, upon hearing the song “Lights Please” from Cole’s first mix tape “The Come Up,” Jay-Z made the young artist the centerpiece of his new Roc Nation venture, and Cole credits his boss for contributing to his growth as an artist.

“He gave me a long leash to try and figure this thing out, make mistakes along the way, do the right thing,” said Cole. “He was always there overseeing and looking over my project and giving me advice on what direction I could take.”

Cole said that for a six-month period, he would bring his mentor potential singles, play songs for him and try to prove his worth.

He said he learned not to wait before he had a full song to pitch, but to take Jay-Z ideas that could be fleshed out by working with the head man.


“You get advice just through conversation,” Cole said about their relationship. “It’s not always about music. It’s about personal stories that happened when he was coming up, like when he realized he was on another level, when his fan base changed and how he handled it.”

Jay-Z’s advice for dealing with fame should be particularly useful to Cole, who’s own celebrity status is on the rise.

Earlier this month, he had his first brush with the tabloids when rumours began to swirl that he recorded a sex tape with fellow Roc Nation artist Rihanna while serving as an opening act on the singer’s Loud tour. Cole quickly denied there was any tape.

Even with the new found attention and pressure of high expectations, Cole is confident his debut will satisfy both his fans and his critics.

“I just want to win for everybody,” he said. “I want to win for myself, I want to win for my fans, I want to win for Jay-Z and the label and my management. Even more than myself, I want everybody else — the fans and the people I’m in business with — to be rewarded. I want them to know that they were right and they were dealing with something special.”

Jay-Z Shuts Down Kanye West Feud Rumors

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Watch the Throne is still a week away from being released on iTunes, and there are already reports of infighting between Jay-Z and Kanye West.

On Monday morning (August 1), the New York Post’s Page Six reported that Hov and Yeezy are “barely speaking to each other,” feuding over the particulars of their upcoming tour. Unnamed sources told the Post that Kanye wanted to spend upward of $400,000 per show on a flashy set during the duo’s upcoming Watch the Throne jaunt and the more frugal Jay-Z was against it.

Well, Hov swung through New York City’s Hot 97 later Monday and told radio host Angie Martinez that things weren’t as they seemed.

“I kinda want to spend a gazillion dollars. They got it backwards, but it’s all good,” Hov said with his trademark laugh during the interview. “I know that we’re doing something right now. When I woke up to all that, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, we must be really hot right now.’ ”


Jay made it clear that Kanye is his “brother,” and that relationship does come with some brotherly tension.

“Yes, we get on each other’s nerves, but that’s part of pushing each other. We push each other. The people who have a problem with Kanye or myself are the people that are complacent in life,” he said. “People don’t like to be pushed. It’s, like, annoying. It’s a thing when people are pushing you to be greater, and we push each other to be greater. So of course there are times when we’re in the studio, we’re yelling, but that’s about it.”

Aside from the occasional argument, Jay dispelled any notion of things getting physical — and if they did, he said the world would never know.

“I would never disrespect that man. I have so much respect for him. Put my hands on him?” Jay questioned rhetorically. “And if I did, it would be like the backyard, like brothers, and you would never hear about it.”

What do you think of the Jay/Kanye feud rumors? Let us know in the comments.

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Jay-Z & Kanye To Take ‘The Throne’ On Tour

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The music world has been buzzing over Jay-Z and Kanye West’s highly anticipated album Watch The Throne.

Last week, the duo released the second single Otis, which was warmly accepted by the Hip-Hop community. The song featured a looped sample of Otis Redding with a hard drum line to carry the song’s tempo.

They also finally announced the release date of the album. The project will be released digitally on August 1 and the physical CD will be released at the end of that week on August 5.

If that news wasn’t enough, Jay and Ye announced yesterday (July 25) that they will be going on tour together this fall all across the U.S. The tour will be called The Throne and it will begin on September 22 in Detroit, MI and the tour will wind down in Boston, MA.

Pre-sale tickets go on sale July 28 at 10 a.m. EST. You can RSVP to gig you wish to attend to get early access to the pre-sale password. General tickets go on sale on August 8. Individuals who purchase pre-sale tickets at Livenation.com will also receive a free digital copy of the album.

Below are the dates for the tour:

9/22/11 Detroit, MI Palace of Auburn Hills
9/24/11 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
9/25/11 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
9/27/11 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
9/28/11 East Rutherford, NJ Izod Center
9/29/11 Washington DC Verizon Center
10/4/11 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
10/6/11 Chicago, IL United Center
10/7/11 Chicago, IL United Center
10/8/11 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
10/10/11 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
10/13/11 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
10/14/11 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena
10/16/11 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
10/17/11 Sacramento, CA Power Balance Pavilion
10/19/11 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
10/20/11 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
10/21/11 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
10/25/11 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
10/26/11 Houston, TX Toyota Center
10/29/11 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
10/30/11 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
11/1/11 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
11/3/11 Boston, MA TD Garden

Lil Wayne Is ‘Lonely At The Top’ But Fears The Bottom

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Few artists ever reach the heights Lil Wayne has, and for the Young Money captain, that is both a gift and a curse. And it’s a dilemma that Weezy tackles on “Nightmares of the Bottom,” a new track off the New Orleans lyricist’s upcoming album Tha Carter IV.

After performing the track for the first time during the taping of his “MTV2 Presents: Lil Wayne Unplugged,” set to air Sunday on MTV, MTV2 and MTV.com, the self-proclaimed Martian broke down the song’s meaning. “I mean simply, sleeping at the top with nightmares of the bottom,” Wayne told MTV News’ Sway. “Everybody says it’s lonely at the top. It is lonely, so I dream, though, and the only thing I dream about is being down there with the people that ain’t lonely. Thank God I am alone.”

With eight solo albums and more than 10 million records sold, Wayne has tasted too much success to see his stock dip, so for him, a fall back to earth is a definite fear, he admitted.


“And that’s simply what it is: nightmares of the bottom,” he added before rapping the song’s lyrics: “Sleeping at the top/ Nightmares of the bottom/ Everybody wanna be fly, until you swat ‘em.”

Lil Wayne Unplugged” features Tunechi performing acoustic versions of his already classic catalog and places Weezy in the same class as hip-hop luminaries Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill and LL Cool J, who also took the unplugged stage.

Lil Wayne is an amazing choice for Unplugged as he is at hip-hop’s forefront — leading a new generation of artists whose appeal spans across music genres and playlists,” Amy Doyle, MTV’s executive vice president of music and talent, said in a statement. “Lil Wayne’s skills, influence, and catalog are a powerful addition to the legacy of artists who have rocked the ‘Unplugged’ stage.”

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Snoop Dogg Pitching American Idol Style Show For Rap And Hip Hop Artists

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This was probably a long time coming, and although I don’t watch the talent-based reality shows (especially not the ones dedicated to singing…So You Think You Can Dance might find its way onto my screen from time to time), it makes sense that the next one would involve the search for the next great rap/hip-hop artist.

Who’s leading the charge for this show intent on discovering untapped hip-hop talent? Snoop Dogg (pronounced Snoop Dee Oh Double Gee, for those not hip to the lingo). That’s right, in a recent interview with the The New York Post, Snoop revealed his plans to create, as the paper calls it, “rap’s answer to American Idol.” The paper’s source suggests that some networks have been biting, including E! and MTV. They add that Snoop’s currently looking to recruit some celebrity hip-hoppers to fill the panel, with names like Jay-Z and Wiz Khalifa being tossed about.

Snoop himself describes the show like this: “I’m looking for a deal from a network to find America’s hottest ‘hood artists.” There you have it, hood artists, you may get your chance to become famous the new-fashioned way.

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