Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre & Diddy Among Variety's Best Hip-Hop Executives List

Lil Wayne, Eazy-E, Lyor Cohen, Suge Knight, Jermaine Dupri, and more also made the list.

BYGabriel Bras Nevares
2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH - Inside

In celebration of hip-hop's 50th anniversary, Variety partnered with the Black Music Coalition to put together an unranked list of the 50 greatest executives in the genre's history. Of course, it highlighted a lot of big names like Jay-Z, Diddy, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, Eazy-E, and Jermaine Dupri. Also on the list were non-artist figures like Lyor Cohen, Irv Gotti, Suge Knight, and Andre Harrell, making for a well-rounded breakdown. Of course, there are many more names to break down, and you can find the full list of innovators and leaders here. For each mention, they briefly spoke on each business mogul's accolades, polling 40 voters or so that comprised of journalists and fellow industry execs.

"To paraphrase one of his most-frequently quoted lyrics," Variety said of Hov. "In March 2023, Jay-Z officially became a $2.5 billion business, man. The Brooklyn native has earned that rep, not only as one of the top-selling rappers of all time but by launching Roc-A-Fella Records, amassing a diverse portfolio including clothing, spirits, a streaming service and a stint as president of Def Jam." Furthermore, Dr. Dre earned similar respect for his work in both music and business, as did Diddy, 50 Cent, and many others.

Read More: Dr. Dre To Be Honored With Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Dr. Dre & 50 Cent With Eminem At The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 30: (L-R) Dr. Dre, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Eminem attend a ceremony honoring Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 30, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

"Combs’ capacity for reinvention and diversification has enabled him to stay relevant for more than 30 years," Variety penned for Diddy's write-up. "He expanded into fashion, spirits, and wellness while setting an example for other aspiring moguls to follow." For Fif, they shared: "The man born Curtis Jackson was already one of the world’s biggest rappers when he co-created Starz’s 'Power'- a fitting title, since he’d long used it. He kickstarted his career by creating his own G-Unit mixtape series, revolutionizing the medium while drawing Dr. Dre and Eminem’s attention."

Meanwhile, Variety also highlighted Julie Greenwald, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Cathy Hughes, Debra Lee, Sylvia Rhone, Sylvia Robinson, and Mona Scott-Young as unsung heroines in the industry. Still, with such a rich history within the genre, surely they left out some names in the process. With that in mind, let us know in the comments who are the most impactful or under-appreciated rap execs in the comments. In addition, keep checking in with HNHH for more news and the latest updates on your favorite business titans within hip-hop.

Read More: 10 Iconic Black-Founded Hip-Hop Labels


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About The Author
Gabriel Bras Nevares is a music and pop culture news writer for HotNewHipHop. He started in 2022 as a weekend writer and, since joining the team full-time, has developed a strong knowledge in hip-hop news and releases. Whether it’s regular coverage or occasional interviews and album reviews, he continues to search for the most relevant news for his audience and find the best new releases in the genre. What excites him the most is finding pop culture stories of interest, as well as a deeper passion for the art form of hip-hop and its contemporary output. Specifically, Gabriel enjoys the fringes of rap music: the experimental, boundary-pushing, and raw alternatives to the mainstream sound. As a proud native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, he also stays up-to-date with the archipelago’s local scene and its biggest musical exponents in reggaetón, salsa, indie, and beyond. Before working at HotNewHipHop, Gabriel produced multiple short documentaries, artist interviews, venue spotlights, and audio podcasts on a variety of genres and musical figures. Hardcore punk and Go-go music defined much of his coverage during his time at the George Washington University in D.C. His favorite hip-hop artists working today are Tyler, The Creator, Boldy James, JPEGMAFIA, and Earl Sweatshirt.