Music executive turned advertisment guru Steve Stoute just released his first book The Tanning Of America and gave Complex Magazine an in depth interview about his career which highlights include being Nas’ former manager, signing 50 Cent to Columbia Records back in the late 90s and masterminding Jay-Z’s Reebok deal & Justin Timberlake’s Mac Donald’s campaign. Below is a short excerpt of the interview. You can find the whole thing over @ Complex.
You had the interview where you said that there’s a race that a Jay or a 50 runs, that Nas doesn’t run. Did it ever create a conflict with Nas being an artist and you being a businessman?
Well, it caused friction. Nas is a good businessman, he wants to do what he wants to do. Just because you achieve the top of what everybody deems financial success or the glorifications of money, or a spotlight on Forbes magazine, or whatever everybody deems as successful.
When I say that he’s running a different race from 50, I mean, he’s clearly a better artist than 50, so that has nothing to do with it. He just doesn’t want to do the other stuff. Had he chosen to do the other stuff, he could have made a lot more money. He doesn’t even talk about business like that.
What’s successful is when you are good at what you aim to do. And I don’t think that Nas has aimed to do anything that he hasn’t done. So he is a good businessman.
He buys real estate, he puts his name next to certain things that he believes in, and he makes great music, but that’s it. That’s who he is. He’ll be making music and touring for 20, 30 years. He’s one of those guys.
You’ve got to look at somebody’s career at like, 60, 70. And then go backwards and start making these determinations. Running sprints and then saying they’re great businessmen, that doesn’t make any sense.