They’re rectifying a colossal gap in the ecosystem!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. While we have been celebrating and reflecting on the art form and its contributions to popular culture at large, the festivities have also shined a light on a glaring need to discuss the future of the genre and address some of the gaps created structurally on the business side of things.
While hip-hop has its own rags-to-riches story, the art form has literally birthed subgenres of culture and billionaires alike. Meanwhile, the second and third generations have seen a large amount of financial success for their efforts in building hip-hop, but the founders and architects of the culture have not.
Recently, rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones, who has been spearheading the celebratory efforts, announced a new initiative aimed at righting this wrong, the Paid In Full Foundation. The new foundation will focus on providing money and resources to many of hip-hop’s forefathers and mothers, Hip Hop DX reports.
“Many of the most impactful original artists never received recognition proportional with their exceptional contributions to arts and culture. The Paid in Full Foundation aims to rectify that through its grantmaking program, by both honoring the people who built hip-hop and enabling them to pursue their creative and intellectual pursuits for the benefit of society,” a statement on the foundation’s website reads.
Nas, in partnership with executive Steve Stoute, venture capital co-founder Ben Horowitz, and his wife, Felicia Horowitz, have now announced the first annual Grandmaster Awards, celebrating those who have paved the way.
“Myself, Ben Horowitz, Fab 5 Freddy, QD3, Felicia Horowitz, Ben’s wife – we have a fund, a charity called Paid In Full…We are honoring those who have led the culture but have not received the financial rewards that’s on par with their cultural contribution. And we’re giving significant money, a half a million dollars, and health care, to these people who we believe were contributors who didn’t get what they deserved,” Stoute told the Rap Radar podcast.
The first recipients of the Grandmaster Award will be “the God MC,” Rakim and Houston’s own Scarface, two iconic artists who defined movements during their era. 100% of the net proceeds from the award show will go toward benefitting the foundation’s mission, and both Rakim and Scarface will receive a grant from the foundation.
This is not the Horowitz’s first time backing hip-hop in a significant way. Ben Horowitz was an early investor in Genius, then known as Rap Genius, and the couple have been friends and supporters of Nas for many years. The foundation’s launch comes on the heels of a string of losses in the Hip-Hop community, many of the pillars dying at an early age. Rappers like Mobb Deep’s Prodigy, Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest, and Biz Markie have all passed away in recent years due to health-related issues.
The Paid In Full Foundation hopes to provide a solution to this issue for the foreseeable future while honoring and paying homage to these same creators. The first annual Grandmaster Awards is set to take place in Las Vegas on November 17th.
Cover photo: Nas Launches ‘Paid in Full’ Foundation to Offer Financial Support & Healthcare to Hip Hop Pioneers/Photo by Mario Anzuoni/REUTERS