Industry vet and brand expert Steve Stoute sat down with Hot 97’s Angie Martinez for an insightful interview on Monday. During their chat, the radio personality picked Steve’s brain to find out who he thought were the five most influential people in Hip-Hop right now. The usuals made his list – Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Diddy, etc. – but The Tanning of America author had a real tough time getting there.
“Dre, Jay, Puff… Kanye… hmph! Really influential, like really changing the culture. Yeah, probably that. There’s guys that are coming up. Rick Ross. Pharrell, if you want to say that. There’ guys coming up. Drakes and Rick Ross who are getting there. To be able to shift tides globally. Bigger than just making hit songs. Drake has a lot of hit songs. Changing things. Making people change the way they dress. That kind of thing. Finding ways to capitalize off of changing markets. Those are the guys. It’s really four guys.
“Pharrell is probably there now. I would say Pharrell as well He’s more niche. He’s smart. So smart. But he chooses his lanes well. He definitely change the way people dress a couple of times. From trucker hats to those Bathing Ape sneakers he brought to America. To his contribution, BBC’s been great. I think he’s there but it’s much more niche than it is anything else. It’s global but it’s niche. But those are the four guys who definitely put it down day in and day out. And it’s like 20 years now. I hate even saying that because it just sounds ridiculous, but it’s really 20 years.”
Given his recent status change from major label artist to indie artist, Steve also commented on 50 Cent’s fall from relevance and into the dark pits of irrelevancy.
“He hasn’t had a hit in a really long time. He has not made anything musically that’s changed in a very long time. I feel like he’s always gearing up for something that never happens.
“I think that he’s trying to get back. But those guys… music is a great platform. If you’re an entrepreneur, you have… you’re currently active making music, you’re currently active touching people with albums, it makes it much easier to venture into business deals that will become successful using the music to parlay to get it done. And without having music that’s meaningful over the last, probably the last great song he’s made was “I Get Money”? Right? You know how long ago…? Kanye’s put out three albums, four albums since then.”
What hurts even more is “I Get Money” was released in 2007, which actually means Kanye’s had five albums since then. But don’t look for Steve to care about Curtis’ feelings. When Angie informed him that Fif was probably going to put him in a song now, The Commissioner replied, “Great! Hopefully it gets on the radio!”