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Friday, August 8, 2008

The Business of Hip Hop by C.D.West

I'm constantly in debate with people; explaining and showing them the relevance or importance of hip hop culture. And most of these conversations are with older people who fail to see the comparison to their once rebellious and creative generational lifestyle.

I listen to WVON and its daily commentary with its talking heads, I read Mary Mitchell and other black journalist in print, radio or television making comments that seems either uninformed or just jealous of the success of a generation who mainly side stepped the traditional educational system to build wealth and influence.

I advocate education at every step of the way, but I mention that most of our successful business people dropped out of college to start multi million dollar companies i.e. Bill Gates (Microsoft), Russell Simmons, Ray Kroc (McDonald's), Kanye West, Hugh Hefner (Playboy), John H. Johnson (Ebony/Jet) and the list goes on and on.

Education is vital to the progress of any community, but I realize that entrepreneurship is something that every man and woman has the chance to pursue if they have the hunger.

Hip hop is projected to generate over a half trillion dollars in ten years and it's the one industry that seems unfazed by the slumping economy. Kanye West sold over nine hundred thousand CD'S early this year while in competition with 50 Cents who sold over six hundred thousands albums respectively. Not to mention hip hop's wild boy, Lil Wayne, sold over 1 million albums in his first week's release, and all this after some fool claimed hip hop is dead.

Dead! Hip hop is the mainstay to millions of dollars being generated for dozens of corporations from Coca Cola, Verizon Wireless, Heineken, Nike, Pepsi, Boost Mobile, Sean John, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Louis Vitton and many more.

The one thing I try to share with people in our pleasant debates is with each Jay Z, P Diddy, Russell Simmons, Flava of Love, The Tyra Banks Show, The Wendy Williams Show, and every music video and full length movie starring hip hop mega stars are the jobs these individuals create with their success.

Jay Z, Diddy and Simmons employ several hundred people. The Tyra Banks and Wendy Williams Show employs dozens of people and every major video and film shot for distribution employs two to three dozen people of color with every production. And those jobs help families build personal wealth and power. That's the real American dream, and hip hop leaders are doing their part.

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