Master P – The Last Don

 Mr. Magic, Silkk The Shocker, Snoop Dogg, C-Murder, Mystikal, Master P, Mia X Mr. Magic, Silkk The Shocker, Snoop Dogg, C-Murder, Mystikal, Master P, Mia X

In the early 90s Death Row & Bad Boy led the way in the musical soundscape but after the death of both Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls the South began to rise.

Bass music of Miami with Uncle Luke & 2 Live Crew became the soundtrack of ‘Thrill’ Hill & The U.

At the Source Awards Outkast’s Andre 3000 declared ‘The South has something to say’.

In New Orleans there was a new sound led by Master P’s No Limit Records & later Stunna’s Cash Money Records.

Master P may be most known for signature ad-lib from his hit, Make Em Say Uhh or his episode of MTV Cribs but what is being realized more and more is his business acumen.

He has championed a ‘do it yourself attitude’.

After leaving the streets he moved to Richmond, California & took the $10k left to him from a settlement and bought a record store.

He identified a lane that set him apart from his competitors with overnight shipping & selling hip hop records resulting in having records no one else had at the time.

When he decided to become an artist himself he already had a platform, learning the retail perspective with his store and also selling records from his car.

Instead of signing a tradition deal with Def Jam or another major label he decided to go against the grain.

“I learn the hustle part of the business from The Bay owning my own record store”

— Master P, Breakfast Club Interview

Speaking on the situation he explains he didn’t want to have a typical agreement and showed he knew his worth.

He spoke with Michael Jackson’s lawyer and found out about the “80/20 split”.

This means he would be in the ownership position instead of having to depend on making the majority of the money from touring.

He was able to get the best of both worlds with 80% going to the artist/executive and 20% going to the label.

“I turned down a million dollars, with Jimmy Iovine, I only had $500 in my pocket…They offered me a million dollar deal but it’s the ‘Michael Jordan deal’ I’m signing my life away, signing my name away & I’m getting nothing. It’s a million dollars but what if I sell a lot of records. If they offer me a million dollars I gotta be at least worth $40 [Million]”

— Master P, Breakfast Club Interview

To do this he chose to sign with Priority Records, home at the time to Ice Cube & Death Row.

In order to do this he had to put up his own money for marketing & promotion.

He fronted $200k own cash but it made off in dividends with No Limit/Priority joint release of The Ice Cream Man where it exceeded expected by going Gold (selling 500k units) then Ghetto D exploded with Make ‘Em Say Uhh & he followed that release with MP da Last Don later certifying Quadruple Platinum.

He wasn’t content with his personal brand but expanded the No Limit empire with Mystikal, Mia X, Silkk The Shocker & C Murder.

No Limit expanded to movies with the video Bout It Bout It topping the Billboard charts and I Got The Hook Up which was a box office success and musical success with it’s soundtrack going Platinum.

Master P is credited with revitalizing Snoop Dogg’s career. After the panned reception The Doggfather received he was floundering at Death Row & No Limit Records bought out his contract as he became their flagship artist.

Infusing both the Down South flavor from No Limit’s in house producers, Beats By The Pound & the G Funk era he perfected with Dr. Dre Snoop solidified his place in the music industry.

After 3 Platinum albums Snoop Dogg formed his own label Doggystyle Records.

“Master P put his loving arms around me and showed me business. I knew the creative side but if wasn’t for No Limit there would be no money in rap. It was no money in rap until Master P came out”

— Snoop Dogg

Though there were a lot of success there were some missteps too.

Before Jay Z’s success with Roc Nation Sports there was No Limit Sports.

At the time Master P was one of the biggest artist in the game and even playing in a few preseason games for the Toronto Raptos.

The bond between music and sports have always been intertwined.

The old refrain ‘rappers want to be athletes and athletes want to be rappers’ was validated from basketball stars C-Webb, J-Kidd & Allen Iverson all trying to make it in music. Most famous to crossover was Shaquille O’Neal who sold millions of records while being in the league.

No Limit Sports sought to monetize off the bond felt between the two businesses.

They signed both basketball stars from Sam Cassell to later Paul Pierce but the biggest splash in the sports industry was Heisman winner Ricky Williams.

Though the NBA had more protections for the athlete the NFL’s CBA was more lenient which gave way to arguably the worst rookie deal in the NFL. Williams’ contract was incentive-based similar to Broncos’ star Terrell Davis but with the New Orleans Saints lack of talent the goal of making up the money on the backend was near impossible to reach.

In the 2000s he continued to push his company forward and positioned it for the future.

His son Romeo Miller became a Platinum selling rapper under the New No Limit umbrella.

Master P co-created Nickelodeon’s show ‘Romeo!’ lasting 3 seasons then when his daughter Cymphonique Miller became an actress she guest starred on various shows like Just Jordan, True Jackson VP, Big Time Rush then starred in How To Rock.

He’s recognized talented from signing Curren$y early, mentoring NBA stars Demar Derozan & Brandon Jennings sponsoring their AAU team.

Now he’s passing on the game he’s learned to Romeo in Growing Up Hip Hop, preaching Black Excellence on Solange’s new album and preparing the release of his upcoming own biopic, King Of The South.

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