Meet the Man Who Discovered Nipsey Hussle, Big K.R.I.T & Smoke DZA: Jonny Shipes 
**THIS TEXT ORIGINALLY APPEARS IN THE PLUS 1 COLUMN FROM THE MARCH 2011 ISSUE OF XXL. ON SALE NOW**
Jonny “Shipes” Shapiro
Title: President of Cinematic Music Group
The Manhattan native first got his start in hip-hop in 2000, promoting events alongside legendary party promoter Jessica Rosenblum. The following year, Shipes joined Diddy’s Bad Boy Worldwide marketing department. In 2006, Shipes linked up with Sean Kingston and decided to switch focus to management, taking Kingston on as his first client. Two Billboard Hot 100 singles later (Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” and “Me Love”), and Shipes’s business skills had caught the eye of Epic Records, which gave the entrepreneur a label deal for his Cinematic Music Group. On a hot streak, Shipes signed West Coast rookie Nipsey Hu$$le, whom he helped land on XXL’s 10 Freshmen for ’10 cover. After a three-year run with Epic, Shipes severed ties with the label to focus on the independent route. Today he’s expanded his roster, adding Big K.R.I.T. and Smoke DZA to Cinematic Music Group. With a clothing line on the way, a new radio show in the works and a successful 40-show nationwide tour he created (The Smoker’s Club Tour), Shipes, 30, is proving there’s a new name to pay attention to. —Nicole LoPresti
ON WHAT HE’S LEARNED
You’re going to get knocked down 600 times before that 601st time, when you don’t get knocked down. If you rise too quickly, you will fall just the same. The stuff that you don’t want to do always affords you the ability of doing what you want to do.
ON NEW ARTISTS
I was managing L.A.’s Power 106 DJ Felli Fel from Los Angeles. He told me about Nipsey. Nipsey is the future of the West Coast. With K.R.I.T., he’ll tell stories about me calling him for five years. He thought I was this crazy White boy from New York. I went down to see him in Mississippi. We hit it off.
ON HIS FIVE-YEAR PLAN
In five years, I’ll be successfully running my own independently moving record label funded by some major voice. Maybe corporations like Dell Computer or Apple. I’m keeping Cinematic independent––no more label deals. I see myself as very high on the totem pole of where good music stems from.
Touring is vital in this day and age. All of the artists that are signed to Cinematic, I put on tour. There’s different sides to touring. If you have hits, you make money. When you’re just coming up, it’s worth it for exposure.