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The 25 Best A&Rs in Hip-Hop History

20. Paul Stewart

Title(s): PMP Management and PMP Records
Artists They Worked With: Warren G, House of Pain, Coolio, The Pharcyde

Paul Stewart is an unsung hero of L.A. hip-hop. A white kid who grew up in the middle-class Black neighborhood of Baldwin Hills during a time when other white families were fleeing south central L.A., Stewart became a huge fan of soul, funk and hip-hop. After college, he returned to L.A. as a DJ, record promoter and correspondent for The Source.

Ultimately, Stewart fell fell into artist management: Too much good music passed through his hands to do otherwise. Stewart was uniquely positioned between the trendy parties in Hollywood and the artists in the ‘hood, and he became an invaluable resource for almost every label in the business.

Stewart shepherded The Pharcyde to Delicious Vinyl. He shopped House of Pain and Coolio to Tommy Boy Records. He championed Warren G when Dr. Dre and Suge Knight refused to do so, and instead delivered Warren’s demo tape to Chris Lighty and Lyor Cohen (ultimately jeopardizing Stewart’s job as the head of John Singleton’s label, New Deal Records, where he signed Mista Grimm’s “Endo Smoke”). Cohen returned the favor by installing Stewart as the head of Def Jam West, where Stewart signed Montell Jordan.

It’s ironic, then, that when Stewart finally launched his own label through Loud Records that his long and impressive run came to a halt. Stewart later moved into music supervision and brand consulting.

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