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Top 5: Hip-Hop Protégés

Snoop Dogg

Snoop D-O-double-G has been around for so long that it’s hard to imagine him being the protégé of anyone. He is, though. Way back in the early nineties, Cordazar Calvin Broadus was fresh out of high school and a couple of convictions of cocaine trafficking. His freestyle over an old En Vogue song somehow made its way to The Dr. Dre’s ears, and after an audition, Snoop Doggy Dogg found a home at Death Row Records. He certainly has a thing for doctors, as he not only caught the attention of Dr. Dre, but also The D.O.C. (from gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A.), who gave him pointers on how to craft some good rap. Random fact: Snoop is a spokesperson for “Chronic Candy,” made in Switzerland and tastes like… you guessed it: marijuana. On second thought, maybe that’s not so random.

Eminem

Probably the most famous protégé in the history of hip-hop, Eminem made a huge name for not only himself when his Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers LPs came out, but also Dr. Dre, the man who seems to be some kind of talent magnet. That or he just knows how to pick those rappers; thanks to Em, his label, Aftermath Records, found its biggest star, and with Dr. Dre producing the bulk of his albums, Eminem became the rapper that you and your mom knew about. In any case, Eminem’s undying obsession with controversy ensured that music listeners will always be likewise obsessed with Slim Shady – and how could we not? It’s not everyday that a non-African-American rapper has the power to shock you like no gangsta rap has ever done.

50 Cent

From one rapper with an eye for talent to another, Eminem must’ve been taught well by Dr. Dre because when he picked up 50 Cent, he got Aftermath Records another multi-platinum superstar rapper. A little know fact about 50 is that he had some help before Eminem and Dre came along; Jam Master Jay was technically his first mentor in the art of writing songs. After 50 Cent got shot in the infamous nine-bullet-wound incident, one of his CDs found its way into Eminem’s hands, he got flown out for an audition… and everyone knows what happened after that. The lesson here? If you want to make it big you’ve got to go straight to the top – that’s where the people with the jets are.

Drake

You might know him as that guy in the wheelchair from that Degrassi show, but apparently, Aubrey “Drake” Graham raps even better than he acts. Actually, it might have something to do with the producers of his show getting rid of the entire cast, but that’s a different story. After working on a bunch of mixtapes in his early career, Drake finally ended up on Lil Wayne’s Young Money label, and was (still is, probably) one of the most hyped Canadian rappers in a long, long time. It remains to be seen if Lil Wayne, his mentor who’s pretty young himself, can pull a Dr. Dre, but given how Drake is doing on the charts, the chances look pretty good.

Danja

Rappers aside, one of the biggest protégés in hip-hop music has to be “Danjahandz,” or simply Danja, who’s been the perfect student for Timbaland. This record producer has worked with Nelly Furtado, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Lloyd Banks, T.I., and of course, Timbaland himself, picking up a couple of Grammys along the way. Stepping out of his mentor’s shadow though, Danja’s experience with piano and drums sets him apart from other beat-makers who go completely digital and forgo their instruments, and this strategy earns him at least 50k per track at the last count. Not too shabby.

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