In the new age of media, there has been a great rise of creatives who want to take the industry — and the world — by storm. These are the ones who grew up and witnessed some of Hip-Hop and pop culture’s ups and downs from the late ‘90s until today. Even with countless odds against them, they overcame because they believed in two things: their vision and themselves. Though easier said than done, most can easily get discouraged from doing so. But it’s not so much the vision they lose, it’s maintaining their integrity in an environment where you can easily sell out.
This instance however can be beat with having a great work ethic, knowing what works and what doesn’t, and staying true to yourself. With the times changing rapidly and with newer, progressive ideas taking over the forefront of today’s society; it also serves as a boost of inspiration. Rob Stone, Co-Founder of FADER Media and Cornerstone Agency, is one of the very few who not only helped shaped the way we see both Hip-Hop and the culture, but also maintained his integrity while doing such.
Before founding and creating The FADER with longtime friend and right hand man Jon Cohen, Stone made a name for himself as a music marketing master. He served as the promotions lead for SBK Records (later known as EMI), and managed the brands of rap heavy hitters like Outkast and The Notorious B.I.G. After leaving SBK Records, Stone went to join legendary music mogul Clive Davis at Arista and helped expand the label. In fact, it was Stone who was part of the influence that brought Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment to Arista. Taking cues from other music moguls like L.A. Reid and Russell Simmons, Stone’s music marketing strategies have helped him in leaving his mark on the culture. The marketing strategies used, and that are still used, have proven successful as Cornerstone Agency has become an award-winning global marketing company in the last two-decades.
With all of this under his belt, it’s clear that Rob Stone is a force to be reckoned with in both the marketing and music businesses respectively. But his brand has always been inspired by things that have affected him on a personal level. Stone was inspired by his parents, more specifically his late father; whom he said was a man of integrity, and taught him to do right even when the world isn’t watching. Not to mention his two passions of sports and music growing up. Stone realized, as a fan of Hip-Hop, that the genre and culture could change the world, and that’s was where his love for it grew. But what really put Stone’s integrity to the test was a Hodgkin’s disease diagnosis, which taught him quite a bit about himself and life.
“I know it may sound odd to say it was a positive, but I found a way to take that experience and turn it into a real positive situation,” Stone said in an interview with Julian Mitchell for Forbes. “It gave me a heightened sense of gratitude and belief. When you’re consistently going into radiation, there are no meetings, or business decisions that are more important than surviving.”
When it comes to staying true to yourself and your brand, Stone had a few choice things to say in regards to that. “It’s everything. That’s the secret sauce,” Stone said. “Pharrell didn’t change who he was to become popular. For me, as an executive, I never tried to be something else…We have to be connected to something higher to carry out a vision and fulfill our potential. If you think you can do it all yourself, you will come up short. Knowing what you’re good at and not good at is key.”
For a chance to hear more about how to stay true to yourself while maintaining a brand, head on over to the 13th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s website for more information on Julian Mitchell’s Get Paid To Be Yourself conversation featuring Rob Stone on July 11th at The Bishop Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.
For the link to the full interview with Forbes, see here.