The Greatest Interns in Hip-Hop History -Paying Dues Pays Off

Being an intern isn’t all coffee-fetching and errand-running. It’s an opportunity to check your ego, get your foot in the door, and push yourself to levels you never knew existed. I’m gassing? Just look at some of the biggest names in hip-hop as proof of what can be accomplished by ambitious apprentices. Whether they were actual interns, like Puffy at Uptown, or unofficial understudies, like former Digital Underground backup dancer Tupac Shakur, those that have completed the beautiful struggle from the bottom to the top know that paying dues is what hip-hop, nay, America, is all about. Here’s a look back at five of the illest interns in hip-hop history to set off’s first ever Intern-Net Takeover Week.

While a student at Howard University in Washington D.C., Puffy used to commute from the nation’s capital to his Uptown Records internship in NYC each morning by hiding in the bathroom of commuter trains because he couldn’t afford a ticket. Now, the same kid who didn’t have enough money to ride the Amtrak can charter a private jet if he wanted. How’d he do it? Ask Andre Harrell, the then President of Uptown, who hired Puff only to find himself in competition with the ambitious go-getter for the top spot at the company a few years later. Take that.

Classic Early ’90s Interview with Diddy & Andre Harell

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  • Confused

    Wait, no Jermaine Dupri? He’s a bama but wasn’t he an intern or a dancer or something at one point, for Whodini if I remember right.

  • dame-o

    this kanye beat is “i need to know”. theres a version where he raps on it. thats a fly song and the album it came from is fly too

  • mediumwillie

    an intern wrote this?! decent…

  • lamantreflechi

    Dope piece. Well written and witty as hell. Props to the author, he’ll probably make this list in a few years.

  • Zulu1925

    @ Confused

    Jermaine Dupri had an “in” with the music industry – his dad, Michael Mauldin, was a music executive with Columbia Records.

  • BGZ

    Puffy; can’t front on his hustle…

    …even though I’m sure Andre Harrell left more than just a legacy (in his) behind.