3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise

3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Hip-Hop's Multibillion-Dollar Rise

by Zack O'Malley Greenburg


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Tracing the careers of hip-hop's three most dynamic stars, this deeply reported history brilliantly examines the entrepreneurial genius of the first musician tycoons: Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z.

Being successful musicians was simply never enough for the three kings of hip-hop. Diddy, Dr. Dre, and Jay-Z lifted themselves from childhood adversity into tycoon territory, amassing levels of fame and wealth that not only outshone all other contemporary hip-hop artists, but with a combined net worth of well over $2 billion made them the three richest American musicians, period.

Yet their fortunes have little to do with selling their own albums: between Diddy's Ciroc vodka, Dre's $3 billion sale of his Beats headphones to Apple, and Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service and other assets, these artists have transcended pop music fame to become lifestyle icons and moguls.

Hip-hop is no longer just a musical genre; it's become a way of life that encompasses fashion, film, food, drink, sports, electronics and more — one that has opened new paths to profit and to critical and commercial acclaim. Thanks in large part to the Three Kings — who all started their own record labels and released classic albums before moving on to become multifaceted businessmen — hip-hop has been transformed from a genre spawned in poverty into a truly global multibillion-dollar industry.

These men are the modern embodiment of the American Dream, but their stories as great thinkers and entrepreneurs have yet to be told in full. Based on a decade of reporting, and interviews with more than 100 sources including hip-hop pioneers Russell Simmons and Fab 5 Freddy; new-breed executives like former Def Jam chief Kevin Liles and venture capitalist Troy Carter; and stars from Swizz Beatz to Shaquille O'Neal, 3 Kings tells the fascinating story of the rise and rise of the three most influential musicians in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316316538
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 261,531
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Zack O'Malley Greenburg is the senior editor of media & entertainment at Forbes and the author of two books: Empire State of Mind, a business-focused biography of Jay-Z (Penguin/Portfolio, 2011) and Michael Jackson, Inc. (Simon & Schuster/Atria, 2014), a deep dive into the King of Pop's financial realm. Zack graduated from Yale in 2007 with a degree in American Studies and immediately joined the staff at Forbes, where his annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings packages gave the genre its first sustained, serious coverage in the mainstream business press. His work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Billboard, Vibe, McSweeney's, and Sports Illustrated. He lives in New York with his wife and cats.

Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 The Originators 13

Chapter 2 Writing on the Wall 37

Chapter 3 Bad Boys 60

Chapter 4 Studio Gangsters 83

Chapter 5 Aftermath 105

Chapter 6 Fashion Fortunes 125

Chapter 7 A Fourth King? 141

Chapter 8 The Beats Generation 162

Chapter 9 Grape Expectations 180

Chapter 10 Sound Investments 199

Chapter 11 Ice in the Winter 218

Chapter 12 State of the Art 234

Afterword: Kings, Queens, Presidents, and Precedents 249

Acknowledgments 253

Giving Back 256

Cast of Characters 257

Notes 265

Index 298

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