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Hip-Hop’s Protégés Turned Headliners

The difference between talent jumping ahead in the race and staying behind often boils down to cosigns or lack thereof. Especially within hip-hop, a star-maker’s approval can carry you over the top in the blink of an eye, much faster than other manners of coverage. Although the business model has been in existence for some time, artists having imprints whereby they can build their own rosters has become an increasingly popular thing. Once a new star is born, it is almost guaranteed they will be offered a chance to bring up talent of their own.

Although he is practically considered royalty at this point, Jay Z was once the protégé of former rap star Jaz-O, a relationship that soured once Jay began to take off on his own. However, once he was established, he was able to introduce the world to his boisterous crony Memphis Bleek, a key associate to this day. Others to benefit from close ties include Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and newcomer Iggy Azalea. With their earliest days overlooked and credit occasionally owed to others, here is a list of the best hip-hop protégés.

Image: Creative Commons

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