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How hip-hop went from being shunned by big business to multimillion-dollar collabs

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Detail view of Beats by Dre Studio 3 carried by Jordan Poyer #21 of the Buffalo Bills as he enters the stadium for a game against the Chicago Bears at New Era Field on November 4, 2018 in Orchard Park, New York. Chicago defeats Buffalo 41-9. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The signs of hip-hop’s influence are now everywhere from Pharrell Williams becoming Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director to billion-dollar brands like Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones and retail mainstays like Diddy’s Sean John and the Rocawear line started by Jay-Z.

It didn’t start out that way.

Companies at first balked at partnering with hip-hop acts because they felt that the genre that appealed to Black and brown teens and young adults didn’t align with their brands.

That changed as hip-hop grew into the world’s biggest music genre. And now, hip-hop’s five wealthiest artists were worth nearly $4 billion in 2022 by themselves.