During his 11-year stint with indie label TVT Records -- first as director of artist development in 1995 and then as VP of urban A&R beginning in 1998 -- Bryan Leach signed crunk master Lil Jon, the Ying Yang Twins and Cuban-American rapper Pitbull. Of that period, Leach has said he "learned how to slow-bake and develop talent as opposed to microwaving it; to focus on signing stars and choosing shots."
Building on that philosophy, Leach established Polo Grounds Music in 2006, a joint venture with RCA Records. In the six years since, Polo Grounds has built a name for itself, thanks to chart-climbing releases by Hurricane Chris ("A Bay Bay," "Halle Berry") and Pitbull. The latter's 2011 Mr. 305/Polo Grounds album, Planet Pit, has sold 443,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, powered by the single "Give Me Everything," featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer. And that's in addition to Pitbull's 2009 smash "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" and his high-profile cameos on Enrique Iglesias' "I Like It" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love."
Aside from Pitbull's burgeoning presence, Polo Grounds signed hot rap newcomer A$AP Rocky in 2011. The Harlem native's debut album, LongLiveA$AP, is due later this year. "I haven't seen anybody with this hustle and spirit since I signed Lil Jon and Pitbull," Leach told Billboard last year. "Or since I witnessed the beginnings of Kanye West as an artist." Leach also doubles as senior VP of urban music at RCA and has a joint venture with Sony/ATV for signing writers. -Gail Mitchell