As day two of the 13th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival was underway, all eyes were on this year’s Get Paid To Be Yourself conversation. Featuring Co-Founder of The FADER Magazine and Cornerstone Agency Rob Stone and moderated by Forbes columnist Julian Mitchell, the two chopped it up about Stone’s beginnings as an entrepreneur, as well as what helped him become who he is today. The sold-out event, part of the #ForTheCulture conversations was held at The Bishop Gallery Tuesday evening in Bed-Stuy.
Stone’s earliest beginnings of entrepreneurship came from his father, who inspired him to get a job wherever he could. Even if it meant selling jewelry on the beach with friends on the weekends. But it was his passions, recognizing skills, and listening to his “gut” that helped along the way. A fan of Hip-Hop, Stone had developed a love for the art form of business and Hip-Hop in a time where the culture was not yet popular in the New York club scene.
Throughout the conversation, both Stone and Mitchell stressed the importance of knowing your worth and staying true to yourself. Even if it meant sometimes not getting recognition for it. “When you do something for somebody, don’t expect a thank you,” Stone said quoting his father. While working his way up from lead of promotions at SBK Records (Now EMI) to not only creating a marketing agency — but also a magazine, it’s safe to say that Rob Stone has come full circle. In fact, it was Cornerstone Agency that was founded first in 1996, and the publication followed three years later. Whether it was breaking-in new artists for The FADER, to the refusal of working with cigarette companies, Stone maintained his integrity and stayed true to himself.
At some point, most realize what works for them, and what doesn’t — even Stone himself. Admitting to having a gift of knowing what worked and what didn’t, it was that skill (among other things) that lead Stone to creating his own companies. That plus a two year crash course with LaFace Records and Bad Boy Entertainment while working for Arista under music mogul Clive Davis. “No one person [is] going to determine my future,” Stone said. With that, insecurity became motivation, and Stone created his brands with the help of longtime friend, Jon Cohen. Reflecting on his time working with Biggie to helping Diddy bring Bad Boy as an imprint of Arista, seeing Kanye West rap at The FADER’s offices, to Travis Scott camping out just to be on The Fader magazine’s cover — Rob Stone is a forced to be reckoned with in both music and marketing, and his life experiences have molded him into who he is today.
For all highlights and recap videos, head on over to the 13th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s official website and check out all the gems dropped during BHF17’s first “Get Paid To Be Yourself” conversation.