In the Roc-A-Fella legacy, Kareem “Biggs” Burke was one third of the trio of founders who was always present but not always in the spotlight. The man behind the line “Biggs did it first, Jay put it in a verse” was the silent partner in the label, working behind the scenes while Jay was the star and Dame focused on business and A&R. To say that his place in Roc history is just as important as Jay’s and Dame’s wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination.
As flamboyant, and sometimes theatrical, a lifestyle as hip hop is, it’s still a business. It’s a business that requires cool heads to prevail to counterpoise the passion of the artists. “While Dame was yelling at everybody, people always want to talk to somebody in the room. I’m the guy everybody can talk to, so I maintained a lot of relationships” Biggs said to Rap Radar last year in his third interview, ever. An enigma to most people outside of his close circle, shows the value of letting the work and the output do the talking while remaining a key role-player in the background.
Closer to home we have a few figures in the hip hop industry who are more revered for their work off-stage. Role-players in their own right, these power-brokers are more captains of industry than cogs in the wheel of hip hop in SA. These people prove that rapping is not the only way to get to the top of the hip hop pantheon.
Avukile an alumni of The Vega School of Brand Communications and one of two on our list – is the guy that makes it possible for a lot of hip hop and urban culture events to take place through sponsorship. Avukile has worked in marketing for most of his career. He has helped oversee the marketing for brands such as Hennessy, Ciroc and Amstel which usually sees him investing significantly in SA urban culture. This is even more evident in his current role as Marketing Manager of Play Energy Drink. In the past year Play has supported Pop Bottles, Genesis All Black, Back To The City Festival, Sneaker Exchange, Major League Gardens, just to name a few. Avukile is a great example of marketing execs who are passionate about the moving the culture forward.
See the full list at The Plug Mag