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TO THE TOP: A HIP-HOP HOW-TO

TO THE TOP: A HIP-HOP HOW-TO
By Alex Williams, NEW YORK TIMES
Kevin_liles_1TEN days ago Kevin Liles, the executive vice president of the Warner Music Group and one of the most powerful African-Americans in the record business, dropped by a television studio in Midtown Manhattan to visit Lil’ Kim, one of his company’s artists. She was taping a show for Black Entertainment Television, and he needed to tie up some loose ends before she headed off to prison for a year and a day to fulfill her sentence for perjury.

The two conferred quickly before she shooed him away, reminding him that she didn’t have a lot of time to spare. "I can’t just be telling you I love you all the time," she called after him as he made his way to the door.

Mr. Liles, wearing a Zegna blue blazer and baggy Phat Farm jeans, then strolled from the studio entrance toward his chauffeur-driven black BMW 750, where he was accosted by a nervous teenager who handed him a compact disc of home-recorded raps.

"It happens all the time," Mr. Liles said moments later, sinking into the car’s gray leather seats. "That’s every day." He told the boy he’d give it a listen, even though what he truly wanted to say was that maybe the kid should consider accounting instead.

While other hip-hop impresarios use their clout and credentials to start clothing lines, movie production divisions and vodka brands, Mr. Liles has his sights on a different goal: hip-hop self-help guru. And with his first book, "Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation Guide to Success" (Atria, 2005), written with Samantha Marshall, a business journalist, he hopes to show readers that there are more routes to success than a record contract.

FOR THE REST OF THIS STORY VISIT:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/fashion/sundaystyles/25LILES.html

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