More Than Hits: Diddy Is Trying to Find the "Biggie of Marketing"

"It's not just about hit records, it's about hit culture."

Behind every successful person, there’s a carefully assembled team. Name any successful artist in the game today and I can quickly point you to a team of creative and marketing gurus working diligently behind the scenes to assemble the end product we ultimately witness. The most successful people in any business are those who know they can’t do everything and have a keen eye for who they surround themselves with and trust with tasks critical to their success.

When it comes to hip-hop, there’s literally no one more successful than Diddy, at least according to Forbes’ 2017 Celebrity 100 List, which the Bad Boy founder topped by earning $130 million over the last 12 months. This is even more impressive when you consider that Diddy made the very first Celebrity 100 list in 1999.

Diddy has so many revenue streams and side hustles that there’s no possible way he could be 100% involved in all of them, and in his recent interview with Zane Lowe, the man of many name changes revealed how he manages to balance all of his ventures—assembling and empowering the next generation of his legacy.

"I've transitioned from wanting to be on the stage to wanting to BE the stage. To wanting to be a platform, and so I know that my future really depends on the people that I empower. Because I've done—I still have more that I could do myself—but I've really done all I can do myself as one person and one entity. So now my focus is, you know how people would sign an artist? Like my focus is I'm trying to sign a graphic designer, I'm trying to sign smart people. It's like Biggie, I'm trying to find the Biggie of marketing. It's really expanded for me, it's not just about hit records, it's about hit culture."

Spending decades in the same business has given Diddy the knowledge that you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with, a fact that directly correlates with the amount of success an artist is able to enjoy in this fickle industry. For Diddy, the names the general public will never be familiar with—the graphic designers, the marketing managers, the videographers—are just as integral to the success of his brand as the talent and ideas those people help to push forth.

Diddy’s mentality and skill set are a huge learning opportunity for artists on the come up, especially, as we bear witness to the true, lasting empires that are being built off an art form that no one took seriously or thought would last 30 years ago. While the internet has allowed anyone with a microphone and some social media acumen to become a potential star, the likelihood of those legacies lasting as long as Diddy’s are slim unless bolstered by setting an intention for longevity and building a team to support that.

We’re currently seeing the next generation of potential empires being born with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, Childish Gambino and others, whose respective teams have morphed over the years to ensure the longevity and expansion of their contributions to the culture. Artists can create fantastic music and content all day, but it’s ultimately the infrastructure they and their team assemble that turns that art into something not only lasting but significant to themselves and the culture that houses them.

Diddy’s words were a direct message to anyone who feels “like you have what I feel I have in me,” and those with a vision for leaving a lasting legacy in hip-hop would certainly be wise to pay attention to those words. You can’t argue with Diddy’s results, and when someone as successful as him drops jewels, it’s in an attempt to further empower the next generation of moguls.