6. Jimmy Iovine
Title(s): Co-founder of Interscope Records
Artists They Worked With: Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas
Jimmy Iovine went from producing U2 and Tom Petty records to partnering with multimillionaire film producer Ted Field in his new label venture, Interscope.
Iovine immediately put Interscope on the map with two pop-rap hits: Gerardo’s “Rico Suave” and Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations.” Iovine negotiated the Death Row deal that made Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s debuts possible. While not responsible for discovering 2Pac, Iovine presided over his entire recording career as a creative executive.
When the Death Row partnership came apart, Iovine made the separation easier by offering Dre a new deal for Aftermath Records, which begat and continue to beget the following: Eminem. 50 Cent. The Game. Kendrick Lamar.
Over the years, Iovine has shown some savvy that’s surprised even some seasoned industry heads. Why, folks wondered, would he give a group with a weak track record like the Black Eyed Peas a huge deal? Only Iovine knew, and he was absolutely right.
Iovine’s Interscope has also been a graveyard for many artists’ dreams as his priorities shifted and opinions changed. Iovine’s less-than-saintly code of ethics often resulted in art that played to hip-hop’s lesser angels. But Iovine championed the raw at a time when corporations were ready to dump rap at the slightest hint of controversy. Iovine is the man who literally told Time Warner to go fuck itself.
Decades later, it’s Iovine who continues to fuck us all in the earholes, his music now transmitted to your cerebral cortex via his “Beats By Dre” headphones.