Episode 035 – Brian Shafton – Shaping the Future of Hip Hop with an Entrepreneurial Mindset

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With more than 25 years in the music industry, Brian Shafton is a veteran with a vast understanding of how to shape new artists into mega stars. His role in the history (and future) of hip hop is undeniable. Brian has worked with the likes of NWA, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and the list goes on and on. From his early days as a recent college grad working at Capitol Records through the evolution of his career as a trail blazing entrepreneur, it’s clear Brian understand how to connect with his audience, build relationships, and stand out from the crowd.

A #creative approach to finding new ways of #revitalizing the #music #industry Click To Tweet

Finding new ways to revitalize the music industry.

Brian’s biggest passion is pretty easy to spot – he’s constantly in search of new ways to revitalize the music industry. He talks about the impact of piracy, the up and coming artists, and some of the veterans he’s still working with today. As the owner of RBC Records, Brian is able to work with some of the top names in the business and he shares how he’s maintained those relationships through the years. He also shares a glimpse into his early career at Capitol Records and then Priority Records, where he first connected with NWA. With such a long history in the business, Brian has worked with more artists than he can count. He tells us his about the most interesting artists he’s ever worked with.

Molding some of the biggest names in hip hop.

Brian offers insight into working with artists like NWA in the early days. He discusses the chaos surrounding them because of the general outrage over their material and why he absolutely loved working with them. Brian goes onto to share how he first connected with Snoop Dogg and Jay Z, along with the massive impact piracy has had on the industry. He also shares how he thinks the music industry can overcome piracy and why it’s more important than ever to ensure he’s serving the needs of his customers.

Working with huge #HipHop #artists when they’re just starting out Click To Tweet

Independent versus major record labels.

Independent labels have become a popular alternative to major labels. Brian talks about the early days of hip hop, when every artist sought out a deal with a major label, versus today when many artists prefer the autonomy that comes with an independent label. He discusses why he believes the future of the industry is independent labels and the role of relationships in signing artists as an independent label. Brian also talks about why it’s essential to understand how to turn no into yes in order to forge those relationships. According to Brian, a lot of people say no, but it’s about figuring out how to turn that into a yes by connecting with their motivation.

The power of understanding your audience in order to deliver the right message.

As they close out their chat, Tony asks Brian about his daily routine and how he manages to get it all done. They discuss the importance of staying organized and focused on the task at hand, as well as the importance of getting an early start in order to tackle the day. Brian goes on to share some key advice to fellow entrepreneurs. The advice? Understanding your audience is crucial; you have to deliver a message based on their motivation. Brian closes with the answer to Tony’s burning question: if you could go back in time and see any artist in the history of hip hop, who would it be? It’s clear Brian knows how to build a business and the advice he offers can be applied to any industry. If you want to connect with your audience, you’ll want to pay close attention to this episode.

The power of understanding your #audience in order to #deliver the right #message Click To Tweet


  • [1:21] Tony G.’s introduction of his guest, Brian Shafton.
  • [3:10] Brian’s story and how he got started in the record industry.
  • [7:15] The most interesting and exciting artists Brian has worked with through the years.
  • [8:05] What was it like working with NWA in the early days?
  • [10:27] Brian’s experience and role with Snoop Dogg.
  • [13:33] Some of the things Brian enjoyed about Jay Z.
  • [15:55] The impact of piracy on the industry.
  • [19:16] What can the industry do to have the resurgence continue?
  • [21:41] How have you managed to sign such huge artists with so much competition from powerhouse record companies?
  • [27:10] What’s been the biggest challenge in the 25 years you’ve been in the industry?
  • [29:21] Brian’s daily routine.
  • [32:35] If you could go back in the history of hip hop, who would you go see?
  • [38:46] Brian’s closing thoughts for entrepreneurs.


RBC Records


Shaping the #future of #HipHop with an #entrepreneurial mindset Click To Tweet



Turning “No” into “Yes” and other #advice for #entrepreneurs Click To Tweet
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