Prior to last night’s airing of The Tanning Of America on VH1, the docu-series’ executive producer, Steve Stoute, appeared on Hot 97 to discuss today’s Hip Hop. While speaking with Hot 97 personality Angie Martinez, Stoute was asked to name the five artists he believes are currently the most important in Hip Hop.
After rattling down his list of artists, which did not surpass four people, the conversation then shifted to Queens rapper 50 Cent. Stoute went on to share his belief that Fifty is no longer influential due to the fact that he believes the musician hasn’t released a hit record since 2007’s “I Get Money.”
“He hasn’t had a hit in a really long time,” Stoute said. “I mean, he has not made anything musically that’s changed anything in a very long time. And I feel like he’s always like gearing up for something that never happens. Hopefully, now that he’s independent and there’s no record company to blame, his aggressive content can get on the air…I think he’s trying to get back, but those guys—you know, music is a great platform. If you’re an entrepreneur and you have a—you’re currently active making music. You’re currently active touching people with albums. That it makes it much easier for you to venture into business deals that will become successful using the music to parlay it to get it done. And without having any music that’s meaningful over the last—probably the last great song he’s made was ‘I Get Money’…Kanye’s put out three albums, four albums since then.”
Artists who did make it on to the music executive’s list of the most important people in Hip Hop included Dr. Dre, Jay Z, Diddy, and Kanye West. Stoute also gave nods to Drake, Rick Ross, and producer Pharrell Williams, an artist he feels has probably made his way onto that list.
“Dre, Jay, Puff, Kanye. I mean, really influential like really changing the culture—Yeah, probably that,” he said. “I mean, you know, there’s guys that are coming up. There’s Rick Ross. Pharrell, if you wanna say that. Definitely Pharrell. There’s guys who are coming up, the Drakes and Rick Ross who are getting there. When you talk about to be able to shift tides globally—bigger than just making hit songs. Drake has a lot of hit songs, but like changing things. Like making people change the way they dress and that kind of thing. And finding ways to capitalize off of changing markets and stuff like that. Those are the guys. It’s really four guys. And Pharrell is probably there now. I would say Pharrell as well.”
As a music executive, Steve Stoute has worked with or managed a number of artists including Nas, Mary J. Blige, and Eminem.
The Tanning Of America debuted last night (February 24) on VH1 and is based off of Stoute’s book, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy. The docu-series will consist of four episodes, which are slated to air through February 27.