3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Hip-Hop’s Multibillion-Dollar Rise

Zack O’Malley Greenburg. Little, Brown, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-31653-8
Greenburg, a media and entertainment editor at Forbes who focused on the business success of Jay-Z in his previous book, Empire State of Mind, here widens his scope for a detailed look at the rise of the financial empires built by Jay-Z and his hip-hop contemporaries Diddy and Dr. Dre. Incorporating interviews with such early hip-hop pioneers as Fab 5 Freddy and Starski, as well as many of his subjects’ current business partners, Greenburg follows the growth of hip-hop from New York City’s “dysfunctional housing projects” in the 1960s and 1970s to Diddy’s Revolt network, which brought hip-hop “to fifty-million people between cable, Web, and mobile.” Greenburg provides sharp looks at the intricate ways in which Diddy, “the flashy impresario”; Jay-Z, “the brainy lyricist”; and Dre, “the quiet perfectionist..obsessed with sound quality” parlayed their unique skills into hugely successful business deals, such as Dre’s cofounding of an electronics company, Beats, that Apple bought in 2014 for $3 billion, and Jay-Z’s investment in the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. It’s an excellent look at hip-hop that combines cultural and financial history to show what Greenburg, referencing rapper KRS-One, calls “the hip-hopitization of corporate America.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 03/06/2018
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