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Be it Dr Dre and Eminem, Lil' Wayne and Drake or Jay Z and Kanye West, every artist in the industry started out with a mentor that showed them the way. These are their stories.
50 Cent had a hard time getting his big break in the music business. He was signed to a label, got shot, sent to hospital, got dropped from the label, got blacklisted - and then Eminem heard his stuff, gave it to his mentor Dre, and Dre signed him anyway. Ever since, Eminem has been a mentor to 50 Cent, just as Dre was to him.
Before he was a wold renowned rapper, Kanye West was producing full-time over at Roc-A-Fella records, helping to make Jay Z's 'The Blueprint' the classic that it now is. Eventually, and for all the wrong reasons, Roc-A-Fella signed him as a rapper, with Jay Z even admitting that they were reluctant to do so. But in the end Jay kind of took 'Ye under his wing. Fast forward 12 or 13 years and then came 'Watch The Throne.' Picture: Splash
Eminem's life changed forever when Jimmy Lovine played Dre his demo and Dr. Dre responded: "Find him. Now." What happened next is a thing of legend also known as the triple platinum 'The Slim Shady LP.' Eminem also pays homage to Dr Dre on his 'I Need A Doctor' verse, rapping: "All I know is you came to me when I was at my lowest. You picked me up, breathed new life in me, I owe my life to you."
When he was just 17, J Cole stood outside of Jay-Z’s Roc the Mic Studio for three hours to hand him a track - but Jay snubbed him. Who would have thought that a few years later Hov would end up signing the rap hopeful to his label and act as his mentor. During his tour last year, Jay Z handed J Cole a very special gift; "That on your neck is my original Roc chain and it’s yours," he told J Cole. Picture: Getty
Before he was making hit songs and even before he was producing songs for Jay Z, Kanye West was learning how to be the best, and it was producer No I.D teaching him how. It was from No I.D that a 15-year-old 'Ye learned how to do his famous sampling. It was just the beginning of an incredible career.
Lil' Wayne can take credit for more than one of his Young Money label-mates success. The child-star nurtured Nicki Minaj whilst giving her the freedom to become the musician, personality and style icon she wanted to be. It resulted in a star as successful as he is. Picture: Instagram
When Usher signed to LaFace Records as a young boy he was given Sean Combs, then known as Puff Daddy, as a mentor. Usher contributed his smooth vocals to Diddy's noughties hit 'I Need a Girl, Part I' - and apparently Diddy took a 14-year-old Usher to parties.
Rih has said that when she met and sung for the then president of Def Jam, Jay Z, he wouldn't let her leave the room until she signed on the dotted line. Since that moment Jay mentored the young singer, so much so that when Hov left Def Jam to run his own Roc Nation label, Rihanna followed a year later.
When Drake left his acting career behind in favour for the life of a rap star, a bidding war began between labels. But Drizzy chose Lil' Wayne's Young Money and has stayed loyal ever since. The two met on November 18th - a date which Drake later recalls in the song of the same name. Drake has rapped about Lil' Wayne being a mentor in the early stages of his career, providing everything he wanted for him.
When Big Sean was told by a friend that Kanye would be at a local radio station, Big Sean took his shot and headed down there looking for a chance to rap for him. Thanks to connections at the station Sean got close, and 'Ye told him he had 16 seconds. That 16 seconds turned into 10 minutes. Kanye told Mixtape Daily; "His story for me was I heard him rap, he killed it and he got signed."
Drake first met Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd in 2009 when a songwriting/production team Tesfaye was part of called the Noise wrote a song for the rapper's 'Thank Me Later' debut. Drizzy kept a close eye on the up and coming star, often supporting him by tweeting his lyrics and he also produced a lot of Drake's 'Take Care' album. Since then The Weeknd has also supported Drake on tour, and Drake has featured on The Weeknd's album. The pair's friendship is going strong.
In 1991, when he was just eight-years-old, Lil' Wayne met Bryan Williams aka Birdman, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. The story goes that Wayne would leave messages rapping on Birdman's answer phone - and eventually Birdman became the father and mentor he never had. Lil' Wayne has since been handed the Cash Money torch with his imprint Young Money. Photo: PA
Iggy Azalea reached out to rapper T.I when she moved to the United States to pursue a career in the music industry, and in 2012, T.I signed her to Grand Hustle Records. Things didn't work out and Iggy moved labels, but she is still heavily affiliated with the rapper's label and he has provided verses on many of her tracks.
After he made it big, Interscope Records granted 50 Cent his own label, G-Unit Records, and in 2003 he signed Lloyd Banks. As the artist that made it big first, 50 acted as a kind of mentor to his G Unit family until the split and many feuds were ignited. Now, the group is back together and it's all gravy. Picture: Getty
Gucci Mane and Wake Floka have a volatile relationship. Friends since the age of 19, Gucci taught Waka how to rap, and promoted his music. He was a mentor in every sense of the word, but when Mane's career began to fizzle out due to jail time and stints in rehab, Waka Flocka took over. A ton of troubles have followed, including Gucci dropping Waka Flocka from his label. And now the two are from friends. Picture: Getty
He may have been a part of G Unit (although a lot has happened since then!) but it was not 50 Cent that put him there. Dre signed The Game and put him in G Unit to help create a buzz around the new rapper that no one had heard of. Although his time in the group was short lived, his relationship with Dre wasn't. The two spent two and a half years together crafting Game's debut album. Picture: Getty
After his 2010 debut single 'Nothin On you' blew up, B.o.B told Rap Up: "T.I. has given me a lot of advice and a lot of critique in the stages where I really needed it the most and he’s definitely like a mentor to me." In 2011 B.o.B announced he was working on a collaborative album titled 'The Man; The Martian with T.I', but it has yet to surface.
At the 2007 MTV Music Video Awards, Kanye West was supposed to perform but dropped out at the last minute, leaving Tyga to fill his spot and get Lil' Wayne's attention. The two did some work together and Tyga toured with Wayne, eventually releasing his debut album on Lil' Wayne's Young Money label. Picture: Getty