The 9 Biggest Hip-Hop Business Moves Of 2013

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Jay Z Partners With Samsung
July 4

#NewRules indeed. Jay Z announced in a surprise ad during the NBA Finals that he’d have an album out a mere three weeks in the future, and in the days following the announcement it came out that Jay would be dropping the album on the Fourth of July with the help of Samsung, who would release the album as a free app for 1 million customers. The phone company paid Hova $5 million for the privilege, ostensibly making Magna Carta…Holy Grail platinum immediately, a move which caught SoundScan and Billboard off-guard and which caused the RIAA to change its rules on what constitutes gold and platinum records. By taking on some of the most established barometers of success the music industry has ever had, Jay strove to take a step toward redefining what the business is, and what it could be in the future.

Nicki Minaj for Moscato Wine

Nicki Minaj for Moscato Wine

Nicki Minaj Owns The Forbes List
September 24

“Pull up in that You Can’t Afford This / Only rap bitch on the Forbes list,” Nicki Minaj rapped on Rich Gang’s “Tapout” earlier this year, and she showed up on the list again this year, coming in at No. 4 with $29 million in revenue and outshining the likes of Lil Wayne, Drake and Rick Ross. But the best part about Nicki’s hustle—her clothing line, perfume, moscato partnership, Pepsi deal, American Idol hosting gig, and a ton more—is that she’s the best to do it, reprising her role as the only woman ever to hop on the Forbes Hip-Hop Cash Kings list. It’s a woman’s world.

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Beats Music And Their $500 Million Investment
September 28

Beats Electronics has been a major cash cow for Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine for a while now, and the two headphones magnates are now expanding the parameters of what this company will be doing. With rumors swirling, Beats secured a $500 million investment from The Carlyle Group in September, clearing the way for their announcement on December 5 that Beats Music, a new online streaming platform, would be launching in January of 2014. That should go nicely with the four-year program at USC the duo is funding as well.