About 30-40 years ago, the term "entrepreneurship" did not have the same meaning it has today. In fact, it was probably the exact opposite.
Those risk-takers were looked down upon and seen as people who didn't have their sh*t together and just wanted an excuse to follow their dreams.
Similarly, when hip-hop first originated back in 1973 out of the South Bronx, it took decades for it to be accepted as a legitimate genre. Nobody was trying to f*ck with it, especially in corporate America.
Fast forward to 2015 and it's now a billion -ollar industry.
Those who helped pioneer it early on went against the grain and made their sacrifices like any entrepreneur would to create something that didn't exist before. Most importantly, they paved the way for some of the most unlikely minds to go in and flex their business muscles.
Jay Z and Diddy come to mind when it comes to transcending success from music to business... but there's more.
With a respective net worth of $550 million and $738 million, there aren't many other artists f*cking with their business acumen, especially outside of the hip-hop genre.
Everything they've done up to this point of their careers has been strategic, and as things started to work, their dreams got even bigger.
They're not the only ones, though. Dr. Dre helped sell his Beats brand to Apple for $3 billion and 50 Cent netted a reported $100 million from his Vitamin Water deal back in 2010. Guys like Ludacris and Master P are also heavy in the game, and the list goes on and on.
Even one-hit wonders like Chamillionaire have maintained their relevance by switching career paths -- he's advising tech start-ups.
Newer artists are catching wind and approaching their focus with this same mentality, understanding the goal is to achieve universal success that reaches beyond music.
But for many artists, this just comes naturally. They've worked their whole lives and innovated new ways to make money, so after a while, it becomes second nature.
Whether they learned it from the streets or just trying new things in general, these guys enter business as disruptors and bring a different mentality that works with persistence.
The savviness they use in business is a direct reflection of the tactics they needed to make it in the hip-hop industry.
Why is it artists from other genres don't often achieve the same success outside of music?
The simple reason is that the root of hip-hop lies in the art of hustling. Instead of getting worked by the industry that's made to exploit the artists, they flip it around and make it work for them.
What separates hip-hop from any other genre is where it's inspired from -- some of the most impoverished areas in the country.
The idea you can start from the very bottom of society and climb all the way to the top is not only real, but that sh*t is inspirational.
Much like entrepreneurs, hip-hop artists are willing to go places others would never dream of, sacrifice things and take high-stake risks.
You'll either end up flat broke or a business mogul because, like anyone else trying to figure life out, there are no rules to this sh*t.
Hip-hop was a business idea no one believed in.
When you look at the course of hip-hop, you have to be impressed by how far it's come, the ideas it's inspired and the changes it's produced. For that, it should be appreciated.
Something that was never supposed to work eventually did and shifted the culture like no one ever would have expected, but it would've never been possible if it weren't for some bold individuals.
Imagine having absolutely nothing with the odds stacked against you.
With no expectations or support, you have no choice but to find a way to change the things around you and make a better life.
Now, imagine having everything and taking that sh*t for granted every day. You start to get lazy, expect things to come to you and eventually become a self-entitled f*ckboy who doesn't know what hard work is.
The hunger that makes people so great can be found anywhere. But no place is more inspiring than what we've seen rise through hip-hop.
Oftentimes, it doesn't even take a good idea. It takes a belief, the work ethic and a vision to achieve what's never been done.
Not everyone can make it, but for those who can take it to the top with all the odds stacked against them, we salute and respect.