25 Influential Black Music Execs

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  • Russell Simmons
  • Master P
  • Jay-Z
  • Berry Gordy
  • Antonio "L.A." Reid
  • Sylvia Robinson
  • Damon Dash
  • Suge Knight
  • Eazy E
  • Birdman
  • Dr. Dre
  • Sean "Diddy" Combs
  • Sylvia Rhone
  • Mathew Knowles
  • J. Prince
  • 052413 music kevin liles
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Joe Jackson
  • Mona Scott-Young
  • Kedar Massenburg
  • Steve Stoute
  • RZA
  • Cathy Hughes
  • Jermaine Dupri
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  • RZA, Jay-Z, Diddy
  • Chris Lighty

Jay-Z

When major labels fronted on signing Hov in the early ’90s, he took matters into his own hands, co-founding Roc-A-Fella Records. The label not only propelled his own legendary career, but also those of Kanye West, Beanie Sigel and others. In 2004, he became the first rapper to be president of Def Jam, where he signed Rihanna. Four years later, he launched Roc Nation, a dynamic label and management company that recently expanded to sports agency. Meanwhile, outside of music, Jay co-owns the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center, Rocawear clothing, 40/40 sports clubs and several other prominent ventures.

(Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

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