Some call it paying it forward, but this writer calls it “The Big Payback” for the misused, and possibly the abused, giants of the early Hip Hop trendsetters and legends. They laid the foundation for the millionaires and billionaires of today who live large and command a “big bag.”
Rapper Nas and Steve Stoute, executive of the Paid in Full Foundation, a charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, have opted to use their celebrity and business acumen to rectify the wrongs of the past. The foundation seeks to support Hip Hop masters who did not fare so well financially and/or receive the benefits that would have allowed them to thrive, evolve, and catapult their careers.
Nas and Steve Stoute, along with co-founders Ben and Felicia Horowitz, have combined their resources and influence to create a method to provide financial support, that carries with it such tangibles as healthcare, to the early pioneers of Hip Hop. The Paid in Full Foundation programs will include grantmaking to Hip Hop greats and other creatives. The Foundation’s website states, “Over the past several decades, Hip Hop music and culture rose from a local niche New York art form into a global phenomenon. In doing so, it has created countless careers, many fortunes, and most importantly, gave hope and inspiration to a generation of young people. Unfortunately, many of the most impactful original artists never received recognition proportional with their exceptional contributions to arts and culture.”
The Paid in Full Foundation will hold its inaugural Hip Hop Grandmaster Awards in Las Vegas on November 17, 2023 at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center to honor Hip Hop legends Rakim and Scarface. In an interview with “Rap Radar Podcast,” Stoute revealed that the foundation will give $500,000 as well as healthcare to Hip Hop “contributors who didn’t get what they deserved.” Stoute said on the podcast, “What I wanna do is, all of the artists who came in early who signed bad deals or were taken advantage of, that’s the least we could do is give to them…Pay that forward and give to them. No one’s ever done this before. No one’s given the people who’ve helped move this industry forward reparations of some sort for what they’ve done.”
Stoute reports that he and his team are making the Hip Hop Grandmaster Awards an annual event and that 100% of the proceeds will go to support Hip Hop greats and other creatives, thereby securing a financial future for many of those early trailblazers who built Hip Hop, enabling them to pursue their creative and intellectual pursuits for the benefit of society.
Stoute shared that the Grandmaster Awards event was two years in the making working with the Horwitzes, Nas, Fab 5 Freddy, and Quincy Jones, among many others.
The Hip Hop Grandmaster Awards is now a sold out event. However, donations can be made by visiting https://paidinfullfoundation.org/donate/.