Video by J. Wright (@WhoisJwright)
The panel was moderated by one of the most sought out executives in management and marketing, James Cruz, and featured Kevin Liles, Jay Brown, Ted Chung, Johnny Marines, and Anthony Saleh.
James Cruz has since become one of the most highly respected and influential executives in the entertainment, marketing and branding industries today, and he is currently the President of Bad Boy Management and head of Strategic Partnerships at Combs Enterprises. In addition to managing Sean “Diddy” Combs, Cruz is also the CEO of Cruz Control Marketing. Cruz has played a key role in the careers of Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, and French Montana. He was also instrumental in advancing the careers of 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, LL Cool J as he previously served as the SVP of Marketing and Promotions at Violator Management.
AllHipHop caught up with Cruz to discuss his role managing Diddy, how the game has changed, what makes a good manager and more! When asked what were some of the most rewarding experiences from managing Diddy, Cruz stated,
“We’ve traveled the word, we’ve influenced society, we’ve mentored individuals, we’ve created brands, we’ve owned nightlife. We’ve done everything under the sun and we still have more to do. Probably the best thing is a friendship and trust between Sean and I.
He explained that the game has changed from his time at Violator Management to Bad Boy as artists used to be the face of the brand, but now they own the brand. He says that artists are being smarter and investing their dollars to make more money.
“It’s not just about getting the gold chain and the Rolex. It’s about investing your dollars wisely. The business has changed and grown. You have smarter people in the business. Things are becoming better from a financial and relationship standpoint. Back then it was homeboy management.”
Cruz encourages those getting into the business to learn every single aspect of the business you are in before you become a manager.
“Managers are very diverse in what they do. Be great in one thing but know about everything.”
Cruz attributes his success to knowing himself and asking himself would he buy the product his is promoting. He also stated that he learned from the best, Chris Lighty. He stated that Lighty paved the way for managers such as himself. Cruz also explained that conferences like REVOLT Music Conference are so important, because one can learn more in one day at a conference like that than they learn the entire year. He also expressed that these conferences are where you get to meet the key players in the industry. Check out our interview below!