Nas, Steve Stoute, and Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz are making sure hip-hop pioneers get the financial and cultural reparations they deserve.
They created the Hip Hop Grandmaster Awards, a celebration of artists Rakim and Scarface, among others—the event’s proceeds will 100% go toward the Paid In Full foundation to help “to support hip hop greats and other creatives.”
“Over the past several decades, Hip Hop music and culture rose from a local niche New York art form into a global phenomenon,” The Paid in Full Foundation’s website reads. “In doing so, it has created countless careers, many fortunes, and, most importantly, gave hope and aspiration to a generation of young people. Unfortunately, many of the most impactful original artists never received recognition proportional with their exceptional contributions to arts and culture. The Paid in Full Foundation aims to rectify that through its grant-making program, by both honoring the people who built Hip Hop and enabling them to pursue their creative and intellectual pursuits for the benefit of society.”
“What I wanna do is, all of the artists who [came in] early who signed bad deals or were taken advantage of, that the least we could do is give to them,” Steve Stoute said in a recent podcast. “Pay that forward and give to them.”
He continued, “No one’s ever done this before. No one’s given the people who’ve helped move this industry forward reparations of some sort for what they’ve done but didn’t get back.”
The conversation around predatory business practices in hip-hop has been ongoing and jarring. For instance, in a 2021 tweet, Meek Mill shared he’d never made any money from the music he made in a previous record deal despite reaching the top of the charts.
“I haven’t get paid from music and I don’t know how much money labels make off me!!!!!” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “I need lawyers asap!!” “Ask the record label? how much have you spent on me as a[n] artist? Then you ask how much have you made off me as a[n] artist?”