Meet the next generation of executives and tastemakers changing the sound, face and future of hip-hop.
Launched in 2012 by Sean F. McNichol, 28; Justice Baiden, 25; Carlon Ramong, 25; Junia Abaidoo, 25; and Tunde Balogun, 29, the Atlanta-based creative agency (whose name is short for Love Renaissance) partnered with Interscope earlier this year to launch LVRN Records, adding another branch to a company that has found success in management, production and creative direction for signees including Raury, D.R.A.M. and 6LACK.
2. Orlando Wharton
Atlantic’s Orlando Wharton, 37, is the A&R rep to three of hip-hop’s most promising new stars: A-Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, PnB Rock and Kodak Black, all of whom have been named to XXL’s Freshman class. Wharton also reportedly shepherded controversial rapper XXXTentacion’s deal with indie distributor EMPIRE, leading to his surprise debut album, 17, which bowed at No. 2 on the Sept. 16 Billboard 200 with 87,000 equivalent album units.
3. Tha Lights Global
Warner Bros. Records is amping up its once-anemic hip-hop and R&B roster, and earlier this year launched a partnership with Tha Lights Global, founded by Herbert “Dooney” Battle, 28, and Miguel Solano, 30, whose young roster includes Lil Pump (his video “D Rose” has 42 million views on YouTube) and Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall, the rappers behind the viral hit “Juju on That Beat,” which rocketed to No. 5 on the Hot 100.
4. Chris Jordan
Following a stint at WME, the 30-year-old music agent joined United Talent Agency in 2015, quickly becoming one of the company’s brightest stars. In addition to signing Jeremih and Wale, he has landed key placements for his client roster, including a residency at Las Vegas’ 1OAK and an opening spot on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. Tour for YG, a spot at Coachella for DJ Khaled and a headlining trek for up-and-comer RJ.