By Jonathon “Bizz” Brown
…But then he met Wayne. And then he met Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua, of the management group Hip Hop Since 1978. And a big decision about who to surround himself with came for Drake….
I believe we all have control over our own actions, successes and failures to a certain degree. We choose what skills to pursue, where to learn, who to speak to and how much time we invest into ourselves and our futures. As individuals, we have free reign over our decision-making and as such are to credit for our successes and to fault for our mistakes. But this topic hits a grey area when we get to the part about who we surround ourselves with. Sure we decide who to hang out with, go to parties with, eat with and work with, but once we make those decisions, their consequences invariably depend on the decisions, abilities and character of those very same people we’ve chosen to be around.
ENTER: Drake. There is no question he is on a ride that few have ever seen in the music business. From countless collaborations with Wayne, learning to sing, to arguably the most impactful mixtape in years, he’s made more than a few good decisions. And I don’t overlook the fact that, yes he makes incredible music and as much as his stylistic influences are apparent, he is new, fresh and much needed in music.
But you could argue he was just as good a year and a half ago when he was another rapper from Toronto who I listened to regularly. Aside from a few formidable collaborations (Nickelus F, Clipse, Trey Songs) and consistent radio play (City Is Mine, Replacement Girl), he didn’t seem to be nearly as important a factor as he is now. But then he met Wayne. And then he met Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua, of the management group Hip Hop Since 1978. And a big decision about who to surround himself with came for Drake.
He signed on and since has gotten unheard of co-signs from Jay-z, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West and even had 50 Cent saying “that was a fast come up.” He’s been in the studio with Just Blaze and Kanye West, was rumoured to be featured on Jay-z’ new single, appeared at Hot 97’s Summer Jam, and so on and so forth. At this rate, I feel like the Toronto native is on pace to be interviewed on The View before he has a debut album for sale!
Given all the attention Drake is getting, it’s important to point out how one very crucial decision set many of these events in motion. Signing to Hip Hop Since 1978 has invariably put Drake in the circles that matter. This is the same management team that handles Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Just Blaze, Kanye West and Jay-z. This puts him within the same umbrella as several of the biggest urban stars in the world. The company’s lineage is as undeniable as Hip Hop’s impact on Drake’s sky-rocketing profile. And this is why he will succeed. Talent is one thing. But it’s one of many that have to be in place for a star to be born. And more impressive than Drake’s talent, is the power his management wields. There’s always the business behind the talent. But the special combinations make the most noise and that’s exactly what we’re seeing in our city’s global sensation.
“My biggest thing that I’m excited about regardless of what label I end up on is my management team: Cortez Bryant that managed Lil Wayne and G Roberson that managed Kanye. To be managed by Hip Hop Since 1978, it’s a great family to be a part of.” (http://www.complex.com/blogs/2009/02/19/drake-talks-young-money-kanye-comparisons-ghostwriting/)