Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and Sean Combs flex hip-hop's financial muscle

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke educates readers on hip-hoponomics.

This month, Oprah Winfrey launched her own network – OWN – and she's pushing boundaries. By debuting with Jay-Z, she is acknowledging she needs rappers to generate interest and revenue for her new media venture. I'm happy to see that after spending so many years bashing rap music, Oprah has come to her senses. She's realized she can't have a network that appeals to just vanilla audiences. For her to debut a show called Master Class with Jay-Z, whose lyrics are controversial and explicit, says a whole lot about the direction in which OWN is going.

But it's not just Oprah who is realizing that hip-hop's financial power goes beyond selling records. Last year, journalist Dan Charnas released his book, The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, which documents the music's influence on corporate America. It delves deeply into how cats such as Russell Simmons and Sean Combs were able to expand their empires beyond the recording studio into fashion and spirits, among other industries. Hell, these days, liquor brands will do anything to have a product placed in a rap video.

Any time a new bottle of booze is mentioned in a rap record, it becomes an instant hot seller. A bottle that cost $70 becomes a $250 bottle. When corporations hire athletes or actors as spokespeople, it doesn't necessarily mean consumers will go out and buy a product. But when rappers speak, people immediately buy things.

Hip-hop is beginning to influence even Wall Street. Two weeks ago, 50 Cent urged his 3.8 million Twitter followers to buy stock in TV Goods Inc., a subsidiary of H&H Imports, a Clearwater, Florida, company. He owns 7.5 million shares of the stock, which jumped 290 percent following the tweets. Once he stopped hyping the stock, its price fell from 39 cents a share to 10 cents a share.

 
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31 comments
Ai
Ai

Sounds like 50 and everyone who read his tweet and bought the stock broke a bunch of insider trading rules

Imoni_n_rudolph
Imoni_n_rudolph

w.e i know that is not right i know belive me i know something is just no right we talk about it all the time at school it get real deep

C'est la vie
C'est la vie

@ Big C: "Fashion and spirits"? What the hell does that even mean? You have hip-hop/rap wannabes dressing with their pants down to their ankles, hats sideways and any other position imaginable other than the way hats are supposed to be worn, beating women, and getting caught with drugs/weapons. Let's also not forget how greedy and selfish most of them are. In a world as screwed up as this one, I guess you're right in calling that "fashion and spirits".

Heavy Metal has taken a dramatic move from it's once stereotypical "sex,drugs, and rock&roll" mentality and has delved into the human psyche. Bands like Slayer and Rob Zombie are no longer "in". You're also wrongfully putting the "death and the devil" stereotype on Heavy Metal when in reality you're taking about DEATH Metal. An easy way to compare death metal to music you like (rap/hip-hop, I assume) is gangsta rap...which is hands down 100x WORSE than Death Metal.

How about you stop worrying about that splinter in your fellow man's eye and worry about the log that's lodged in yours...

Sardoa2012
Sardoa2012

i know how we get rid of racism...get rid of articles that contain the words vanilla audiences....get rid of journalists like this!

BIG C
BIG C

WINSTON IS A RACIST JUST BY THE COMMENT HE WROTE, OBVIOUSLY A REAL LOSER.... HIP-HOP MUSIC HAS BECOME A CULTURE WORLDWIDE AND THE INDUSTRY ITSELF HAS GONE FROM A BOOMBOX AND BREAKDANCING TO FASHION AND SPIRITS.. HEAVY METAL MUSIC TALKS ABOUT DEATH AND THE DEVIL , AND NOBODY SAYS SH-T ABOUT IT. HIP-HOP HAS CHANGED THE WORLD AND HAS BROUGHT PEOPLE OF ALL RACES TOGETHER, SO STOP HATING AND GET A LIFE, IT IS 2011 STOP BEING PREJUDICE AND LOVE ALL MANKIND!!!!!!!! BIG C

dcella
dcella

If I remember correctly, Martha Stewart went to jail for the same thing. Standards are such a manipulating factor. Oprah, you better think about going rogue, if you want to make any money. Fox news had to learn real quick, "Business is business", and the bottom line in business, is the dollar signs. Fox news, despite what the few on the left think, has 8 viewers for every 1, for CNN. Makes you wonder which way Oprah will go.

Guest
Guest

when hip hop started (no doubt influenced by Jamaican rappers who was doing years before} there was a lot of haters and doubters. MTV once said it would never play rap. Many white folks and the media spoke out against rap and hip hop. Hilary Duff when she and other kids were ask what kind of music you like (not hate) state she does not like rap music! hater! Anyway my point is there are still haters. White people are buying rap. It has made many black artists and producers rich and it has crossed many cultures! Rap is a powerhouse of music and talent. Sure sometimes we don't like the lyrics but what can you, freedom of speech. a dollar, dollar bill yah!

schneider Mcloving
schneider Mcloving

50 Cent is gifted business man by nature. I'm not a fan of his music but I'm surely a fan of the way he does business

winston wolf
winston wolf

hip hop/ rap,,, just what you want your kids listening to .So they can sell dope, think its cool to disrespect women, and rob and steal. Oh and where their pants down by their ankles, great... way to lead by example monkeys

Lukesanass
Lukesanass

Uncle Luke is a douche. After trying to make a go in South Florida strip clubs as a club owner, promoter he writes an article in the New Times that all clubs are prostitution fronts. Thats a great idea so when you try to promote a night you can bring the cops with you. Real smart. He's a busy body loudmouth who doesn't know sh*t!

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

"Luke educates readers on hip-hoponomics"

Last weeks article about how Beck and Palin got the misfortunate AZ congresswoman shot,.. Luke educated his readers on how to be a Hip-Hypocrite. Please spare humanity of any more of your lessons.

Tego_centeno
Tego_centeno

vanilla lol. now oprah needs to reachout to the hip pop community because her new network is not quite doing well. come on jay-z, and all this rapper are under that vanilla reign. please they only talk about the sectret society and demonic images in there videos...

Rolando Sanchez13
Rolando Sanchez13

LUKE,IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KEEP IR REAL MY BROTHER,WATCH A DOCUMENTARY ON YOU TUBE CALLED,THE SECRET OF OZ,ITS ABOUT 2 HOURS LONG.WRITE A PIECE ON THAT AND YOUR CAREER IN JOURNALISM WILL TAKE OFF...NO LIMIT SOLDIER

Sharpton's_poolboy
Sharpton's_poolboy

hip hop was and is encouraged by the NWO. just like they did in the 80's with crack cocaine, they continue to use the black community as pawns in their evil agenda. furthermore, oprah is a bilderberg lacky. you probrably dont know who they are, but, ill break it down for you. they are the "vanilla elite", they are the ones that start wars, and give the o.k. on what is allowed to transpire across the planet. you have fallen in love with government and their lackies because our president has a tan. the bottom line is if you think you can trust the federal government go and talk to an american indian. oprah is on a different level and could care a less about what happens to you and the rest of the black community in the u.s.

kirkslade
kirkslade

Hey Luke what's wrong? Why didn't you have the balls to write a racist article about the POS that killed the two cops. I was looking forward to you telling everyone your inane mindless reasons that the cops died. You were always worthless. Now you are ball less!

Youare
Youare

Vanilla? Seriously?

Whitey
Whitey

Was the point of the article to highlight that people who listen to Rap, or more specifically watch a Rap video are complete tools and will pay inflated prices for any product used or endorsed by a master of ebonics that doesn't wear a belt?

caeser_palache
caeser_palache

See Luke, you need to stick to mindless articles - that's your arena. Honestly, this article was horrible too but at least it does not illuminate the fact you are a true tard, that's all.

Paul Steinberg
Paul Steinberg

As a Master Mason of the 33rd Degree, no. WE AUTHORIZED Shawn Carter,Sean Combs,Curtis Jackson and Oprah Winfrey to be as they are today, and only by initiation into out fellow hood of Brothers are they given those empire's.

With that said...you are also under our thumb.

AOLISFOROLDPEOPLE
AOLISFOROLDPEOPLE

This guy is so good at writing articles. I use these pieces as practice reading for my 7 year old.

blunt
blunt

Winston Wolf obviously never listened to Hip Hop before. I can tell from your ignorance of the culture. Hip Hop isn't all about selling dope, disrespecting women and etc... If you listened closely you would know a lot of these songs have some kind of message, but your so deaf.

Mucka
Mucka

Winston would you prefer your kid listened to you? That's what's wrong with white people. If you teach your kids correctly, they'll know the difference between music and reality or movies and reality. All the rock and roll artists that end up on Dr. Drew celebrity rehab strung out on heroin and that's the example you feel is best for you kids? we wear our pants down as a way of telling you and all your people to kiss our a$$

Guest
Guest

winston wolf you are a ignorant A$$hole of no color. better to be a monkey than a white man! anyday

Guest
Guest

okay dude, monkeys are smart intelligent animals. Rock artists did a lot of drugs and booze long before rap music existed. heard of Woodstock? so u are saying white folks don't rob, steal, rape and commit murders? you are sick fool!

Kay
Kay

i guess by calling them monkeys you are leading by example? Its ignorant hatful people like you that make the world a worse place.

Rolexdiva45
Rolexdiva45

Not necessarily! The article in my opinion, clearly states that Oprah is now using her ethnicity to get her Network up and running!

aminor1950
aminor1950

"Tool" is the operative noun here.

Although, I like that band!

C'est la vie
C'est la vie

Winston went too far with regards to the "monkeys" comment. However, with that said, hip-hop "musicians" and lyrics in a sentence together would only work if you actually said "Hip-Hop does not have lyrics". Not for nothing, but Hitler, bin Laden, and Hussein had messages...it doesn't mean they were good. "Get rich or die trying" is a great message to a kid...

With regards to the OLD Rock&Roll celebrities, yes, they go on Dr. Drew or different rehabs... At least they're man enough to admit they have a problem. Hip-Hop "musicians", on the other hand, don't. They have lawyers get them off. Also, may I remind everyone reading this that Rock (Alternative, as it's called now) does not endorse drugs anymore. The last song having anything to do with drugs and alcohol was GodSmack's single "Whiskey Hangover" from last year. If you so desire to make a comment on that, I'll knock out your reply right now by saying Jamie Foxx's song where he says "It must have been the al-al-al-alcohol".

Also, while we're countering punches, when was the last time a rocker got pulled over for drugs or illegal weapons? What about beating up a woman? Just saying...if you want to throw a punch, you better be ready to take one.

@ Mucka: if you wear your pants like a hoodlum, you're going to be treated like one. I can assume you probably haven't gotten far in life, right? Don't lie and say you're a bigshot, because lying to people online is just stupid.

BB King, Bill Withers, Jimi Hendrix, Lajon Witherspoon, Will Duvall = good.

dcella
dcella

Thats what's wrong with white people???? OOOOO I get it, nothing is wrong with Black people.......Or any other type of people, except White.....Come on, come back to earth!!! us white people will wait for your racist agenda....GOD BLESS AMERICA for all of us, who have to put up with people like you. If you have not noticed, your skewed reality ideology or whatever it is you believe in, in your fantastic world, is getting a large majority of black teenagers killed. And guess who are committing the murder? You guessed it, other Black Teenagers. Your communitty leaders better get to work and stop pimmping for votes in exchange for a handout. Furthermore; commit to the residents of their districts throughout this great nation. I read and listen to community leaders in particularly those who are leaders in projects and minority districs, and although I feel that most are on the right track, a few of them poison the minds of their constituants with negative re-enforcement through the race card and the blame game. More effort and energy is waisted with this type of approach, and in the mean time innocent people are being killed and using drugs. I see the direction of their agenda and it's taking young Americans into the ground. Preaching more Government dependacy and handouts. WAKE UP AMERICA.

Billy Ray Sumbich
Billy Ray Sumbich

I don't know if anyone ever told you this, but THE MISDEEDS OF ONE, DON'T JUSTIFY THE MISDEEDS OF ANOTHER.

It really doesn't matter if EVERY person who listened to rock music turned into a serial rapist. It does not change the facts about the gangsters of the rap community and their negative influence on black and white kids.

 
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