Rankings are always hot topics in hip-hop. Who are the top five MCs, dead or alive? Who had the best verse on a particular posse cut? What is Jay-Z’s best album? Fans and critics love to argue, and artists love to vie for the top spot. This week, Billboard got in on the fun, releasing their inaugural Urban Power List 2012, with Cash Money CEOs Brian “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams gracing the cover.
Though the two industry vets are the face of this year’s list, Billboard revealed that there is no order within the 25 selections. “The unranked tally targets executives whose concentration is urban, not executives who have oversight of urban music but also substantial responsibilities with other genres,” the magazine’s site explained of the selection process. The list sought to capture “the men and women who define the game, direct its flow and determine its outcome.”
In addition to the Williams brothers, the following movers and shakers earned a spot on the list: Cortez Bryant and Gee Roberson, Co-CEOs, Blueprint Group; Sean “Diddy” Combs, Founder/CEO, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group, and brand manager, Ciroc; Dr. Dre, Co-Founder/Beats By Dr. Dre, Founder, Aftermath Entertainment; Shawn Gee, President of Music and Entertainment, SEFG; Benjy Grinberg, President, Rostrum Records; Ethiopia Habtemariam, Sr. VP of Motown, Exec. VP/Head of Urban, UMPG; Jay-Z, Jay Brown, John Meneilly, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith, Roc Nation; Magic Johnson, Owner, Magic Johnson Enterprises; Michael Kyser, President, Black Music, Atlantic; Bryan Leach CEO, Polo Grounds Music; Debra Lee & Stephen Hill, Chairman/CEO, BET Networks, President of Music Programming & Specials, BET Networks; Cara Lewis, Senior Agent, CAA; Joie Manda, President, Def Jam Recordings; Larry Mestel, Chris Lighty & Michael “Blue” Williams, Chairman/CEO Primary Violator, COO, Primary Violator; President, Primary Violator; Mark Pitts, President, RCA Urban Music, CEO, Bystorm Entertainment; Paul Rosenberg, Co-Founder, Shady Records, CEO, Goliath Artist Management; Rick Ross, Founder, Maybach Music Group; Reggie Rouse, VP of Urban Programming, CBS Radio PD, WVEE Atlanta; Jay Stevens, SVP Programming, Radio One; Steve Stoute, CEO/Founder, Translation; Tech N9ne, Founder, Strange Music; Clifford “T.I.” Harris & Jason Geter, Grand Hustle; Chang Weisberg, Principal, Guerilla Union; Ronald “Slim” Williams & Bryan “Birdman” Williams, Co-founders/Co-CEOs, Cash Money Records Group; Doc Wynter, Brand Manager for Urban/Urban AC, Clear Channel; and Hall of Fame inductee Clarence Avant, President, Avant Garde and Interior Music.
Billboard‘s Urban Power Players List 2012 issue is out this week. —Adam Fleischer (@AdamXXL)