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Six Great Behind-the-Scenes Episodes

Nelly Ortiz - currently at Roc Nation - has brokered deals for some of the biggest rap names, but what you get from this episode most is her personality: smart, funny, very quick. We talk about her going to business school online while working on the rollout of Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, working with DJ Khaled in Miami, being awarded a slot in Billboard Magazine's 40 Under 40 and - after all of these major moves - how it felt to move to Los Angeles this year to start this new chapter. Also, she has the perfect radio voice. Listen on episode #245 with Nelly Ortiz on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud or elsewhere.

Marsha St. Hubert’s career starts with her turning down an interview to be Lyor Cohen’s assistant because she wanted to get her hair done. (She got the job, hair undone.) Since then, she’s played a major role in the lives, careers and plaques of Cardi B, Gucci, TI, Wiz, Lupe, Maino and on and on — the details of which she talks about on this episode. (You want the blueprint? She gives it.) In an industry full of fakes, she’s a real one, and she might be the real one. This is episode #182 with Marsha St. Hubert on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and beyond.

Wayno Clark might be most recognized from his time on Complex’s Everyday Struggle, but his journey is long. Wayno dropped out of high school and found work in the mail room at 825 Worldwide Plaza, home to the legendary Def Jam Records. This was during Roc-a-fella’s hey-day, and - through gumption and luck - he wasn’t just in rooms with Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Shari Bryant, Hip-Hop, Lenny S, Dame Dash, Jay Z — he created meaningful moments with many of them, especially with the Young Gunz and State Property. If you want to be a manager, start here, with episode #74 with Wayno Clark, available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and more.

Rich Kleiman’s episode is so funny. Man. He always thinks differently. There are so many good stories within this conversation: his failed restaurant business, his failed dot-com business…but it’s ultimately inspirational. He’s someone who faced long odds and sometimes lost but mostly won — and he’s honest about those experiences. He found his footing managing artists like Wale, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, J. Cole, Solange, Victor Cruz, and moving into his currently role as Kevin Durant’s business and creative partner. But my biggest takeaway is his story of - when he was at Roc Nation - he asked Jay-Z for a raise, and Jay was like, “For what?” Listen to episode #166 with Rich Kleiman on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and etc.

Lenny S’ greatest quality (well, one of them) is his ability to connect with everyone. He holds so many good and important relationships, starting with Jay-Z, you could think he was born into the industry. But he came into it honestly: knowing no one and - after being a Bad Boy guy - he had to work his way into a reluctant (?) Jay’s circle. He then quickly moves up the ladder, becoming an A&R alongside Hip-Hop and Gee Roberson, working with Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Just Blaze, and a ton more artists. On the episode, he gives insight into Jay Z's classic albums The Blueprint and The Black Album, talks about working for Def Jam, Virgin, and finally making the move to Roc Nation, and describes what working with DJ Khaled is really like. Listen to episode #60 with Lenny S. on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and all other platforms.

Sophia Chang just put her audiobook out (The Baddest Bitch in the Room) but don’t worry, it’s not competition. She does talk about her life on our podcast — there are stories about managing the sometimes-unmanageable RZA, GZA and ODB from Wu-Tang — but it’s also about how motherhood changed her and what her story means for other outsiders. She is an industry pioneer and continues to push boundaries; she’ll learn you some confidence from this conversation. Or maybe you’ll just get some Paul Simon anecdotes out of it, who knows. Listen to episode #273 with Sophia Chang on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud, or wherever else you listen to podcasts!