Steve Rifkind

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Steve Rifkind
Birth nameSteve Rifkind
Born (1962-03-02) March 2, 1962 (age 58)
Merrick, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Music entrepreneur, investor, CEO
Years active1969-present
LabelsLoud Records, SRC Records
Associated actsWu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Akon, David Banner, Asher Roth, Twista, Prodigy, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, RZA, Big Pun, Fat Joe, Three 6 Mafia, Xzibit, Project Pat

Steve Rifkind is an American music entrepreneur. He is the founder and chairman of Loud Records and of SRC Records.[1] He is associated with artists such as Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Akon, David Banner, Asher Roth, Joell Ortiz and Big Pun.[1][2][3] Rifkind has also launched marketing campaigns for companies like T-Mobile, Adidas, SanDisk, Nike, Pepsi, Levi Jeans, and Starter.[4] According to XXL magazine, he is "responsible for breaking in some of hip-hop’s biggest artists in his 25 years in the business".[5]

Life and career[edit]

Origins[edit]

The son of Spring Records' Jules Rifkind, Rifkind found an early affinity to R&B and hip hop music growing up in Merrick, Long Island. The elder Rifkind ran the R&B label in the 1960s and 1970s, whose clients included James Brown and Millie Jackson.[citation needed] In his youth, Rifkind worked for his father at Spring, even working as a promotion man on "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by the FatBack Band in 1979, widely regarded as the first rap song ever recorded (it beat Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight into record stores by weeks).[citation needed] After leaving Spring Records, Rifkind re-located to Los Angeles where he managed the R&B group New Edition from 1986 to 1988.[citation needed].

Loud Records[edit]

As the CEO and founder of Loud Records in 1991, Rifkind helped the bi-coastal hip-hop label focus on "street-themed" hip hop. Loud was influential in launching the careers of several hip hop stars in the early and mid-1990s; most notably the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, and Big Punisher.[citation needed] With Loud, Rifkind used the techniques he had developed at SRC to bring his artists success in branding and cross-promoting themselves. Among others, Loud's holdings included a film division and a clothing line.[6]

Loud's success led to Rifkind selling 50% of the company to RCA in 1996.[7] In July 1999, Loud moved to Sony.[citation needed] Loud launched its film division in 1999, signing a multi-year pact with Dimension/Miramax.[8] Loud Film's first and only project, Paid in Full (a film on which Brett Ratner, Jay-Z, and Damon Dash were partners with Rifkind) was released in 2002.[9]

The new millennium[edit]

Today, Rifkind is still deeply involved in the hip-hop and R&B world. After losing the Loud Records name after a sale to Sony in 2002, Rifkind started Street Records Corporation (a second SRC).[citation needed] Early artist signings included David Banner, as well as R&B singer Akon.[citation needed] In 2003, Rifkind joined the Universal/Motown Records group as Vice President.[citation needed]

In 2007, Rifkind acquired limited rights to the Loud Records name from Sony and released the Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams under the Loud banner.[10]

Along with operating SRC, and his ever-expanding roster of corporate clients, Rifkind's latest ventures include investments in Coalition Music Group, a Reggaeton label, as well in Kid's Block, an educational DVD series for children featuring music by the Trackmasters production team.[11] 2008 saw the foundation of the Rifkind Thal Group (RTG), a technology marketing company. Its first client is SanDisk,[12] a data storage products inventor and manufacturer.

The Street Team Concept[edit]

The Street Team promotional model as pioneered by Steve Rifkind is based on the simple principle of word of mouth advertising coupled with the touchstones of what makes "urban cool".[citation needed] The Street Team is fundamentally based on knowledge of the urban subculture on the part of the marketer and what the potential consumers relate to.[citation needed] "Nobody should put out a record before they know what the street thinks".[13]

Philanthropy[edit]

Aside from his numerous business ventures, Rifkind is involved in several philanthropic activities. Camp Excel,[14] founded in 1996 with childhood friend, Psychologist, Dr. Gary Altheim, is a week-long overnight camp for underprivileged children struggling with learning disabilities.[citation needed]

Rifkind also sponsors and coaches the Delray Blazers,[15] his son’s youth basketball team, in Delray Beach, FL.[citation needed] In 2008 they won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Florida state championships.[citation needed]

Rifkind is also a sponsor of breast cancer charities, donating the profits from his "Think Pink Rocks"[16] concerts to breast cancer research and treatment.[citation needed] The first "Think Pink Rocks" event in September 2008 was hosted by Queen Latifah and featured several SRC Records artists.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b [1] Loud.com Archived October 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [2] About Asher Roth Archived October 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [3] Suburban Rapper Samples Weezer
  4. ^ Private Jet Industry News: Chairman of SRC Records Steve Rifkind Becomes Partner in Chief Executive Air Music Impresario To Provide Multi-Platinum Artists Exclusive Access To Jet Services (www.chiefexecair.com/Press/rifkind)
  5. ^ [4] XXL Mag Online, Tuesday Apr 17 9:57 AM
  6. ^ [5] Loud.com
  7. ^ Forbes Magazine. April 21, 1997
  8. ^ Music Connection. June 19, 2006
  9. ^ [6] IMDB
  10. ^ [7] Ballerstatus.com-"Steve Rifkind Officially Secures Loud Name, Plans Return With The Wu"
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20070401122552/http://www.ballerstatus.com/article/features/2006/11/1631/. Archived from the original on April 1, 2007. Retrieved December 8, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help) Ballerstatus.com-"Steve Rifkind: Marketing Mastermind"
  12. ^ The Global Leader in Flash Memory Cards | SanDisk
  13. ^ The Source February 1999
  14. ^ [8]|http://www.campexcel.com/
  15. ^ [9]|http://delrayblazers.com/default.aspx
  16. ^ [10]|http://www.thinkpinkrocks.com/index.html