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Considered one of the best lyricists to emerge in the wake of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac's deaths, Artist has since carried the flag of hip-hop narrative skill. His Roc-A-Fella family had already created a solid reputation based on Artist's 1997 debut. As his fame has grown, so has his tendency to bring more R&B production elements into his work, creating a club-friendly, danceable version of east coast gangsta hip-hop that hasn't diminished his reputation as a preeminent force in rap. Perhaps even more importantly, Artist has become a powerful musica impresario. In his role as president/CEO of Def Jam in the early 2000s, he fostered the careers of popular R&B singers Rihanna and Ne-Yo, and enjoyed a high profile as a co-owner of the New Jersey Nets basketball team. His long relationship and eventual marriage to superstar Beyonce has further endeared him to fans.