Music Updates

Recap: Billboard R&B Hip-Hop Summit 2021

This summit wouldn’t be right without acknowledging the super exciting, ever-growing market for female artists in rap. Heran Mamo led a conversation with four of the genre’s leading ladies — Flo Milli, Kash Doll, Rubi Rose and Snow Tha Product — on how they got their start, working in a male-dominated sphere, the importance of women supporting women, colorism and more.

Three Top Music Managers Talked “Management 101”

Shifting away for a bit from artists and focusing in on the business side of music industry, writer Neena Rouhani held a virtual roundtable between pros Arnold Taylor, Gordan Dillard and Tunde Balogun talking about the triumphs and tribulations of being a modern-day music manager.

The men in the room are managing names like Doja Cat and Summer Walker. What does that entail? “Patience,” according to Taylor. “Sometimes you get a crazy artist as a new artist, but when they become superstars… you have to understand life, it ain’t even about music at that point. I’ve gotta teach you the walks of life, not just how to put great music out.” Dillard agreed, saying a big part of the job is “raising humans” by keeping artists rounded.

Juggling all the hats of being an artist’s manager is incredibly difficult, so Rouhani asked how the guys keep from being overwhelmed. “It’s about setting boundaries, man,” said Balogun. “I’ll go to therapy, I’ll book a vacation — of course, managers’ vacations ain’t regular vacations, you’re still on call!”


Presented by Amazon Music’s Rotation, Billboard‘s first ever R&B Hip-Hop Rising Star Award was given to BLXST. As an artist totally unique for his sound and chart success, Billboard recognized him as a musician capable of growing into a global icon. And this week on Thursday, August 26th at 5:00 p.m. ET, Billboard and Rotation will present the full Rising Star Award Presentation with Blxst. Streaming live on Amazon Music’s Twitch Channel, the event will feature an interview and performance by Blxst, in addition to a live fan Q&A.

The artist, whose album Sixtape 2 dropped last month, took a minute to thank his family, label and musical influences throughout the years. “O.G.s in the game I grew up listening to — you know, the Pharrells, the Kanye Wests, Ryan Leslie — the beats and lyrics y’all created just shared that motivation for me,” he said. “It just convinced me to take that leap of faith, just to follow my dreams.”

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