The History of the Business of Hip-Hop: Dan Charnas
Dan Charnas, author of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop, is the December 19 guest on KAZI Book Review, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. Listen live online at kazifm.org.
In The Big Payback, Dan Charnas chronicles the volatile history of the hip-hop industry through its key players—hungry hustlers, innovative entrepreneurs, visionary handlers, and shrewd executives who had the business acumen to take the music of a marginal urban subculture and transform it into a mainstream pop culture phenomenon.
Spanning an epic forty years—1968 to 2008—from the early long-shot successes of Sugar Hill Records and Grand Master Flash & the Furious Five to Run DMC’s crossover breakthrough on MTV to the marketing of gangsta rap and the rise of stars like Jay-Z and Sean Combs, who head multimillion-dollar businesses, The Big Payback is a raw, real blow-by-blow tale of inspiration and treachery—of how hip-hop records got made and marketed, how the deals were done, and who won and lost in this epic struggle.
Focusing on successful marketing strategies—from the branding of hip-hop artists by labels like Profile and Def Jam to the key management choices that broke through the color barrier on radio and MTV—Charnas provides an insider’s analysis of what has allowed hip-hop to not only endure but dominate. Culled from more than three hundred revealing interviews with key industry players like Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, Warner Records executive Lyor Cohen, and other more, The Big Payback is both a fascinating narrative and a provocative primer on hip-hop’s compelling paradigm for business success in a new, multicultural America.
Dan Charnas scouted talent and promoted records for the seminal rap label, Profile, and was Vice President of A&R for Rick Rubin’s Def American Recordings. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Village Voice. Charnas holds a master’s degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Fellowship.