You may have seen him last Fall as the runner up on BETâ€™s â€œThe Ultimate Hustlerâ€? reality show competition, where 16 contestants vied for the opportunity to work with hip-hop mogul Damon Dash. His ultimate past-time is motivating everyone from school children and organizations to inmates at Rikerâ€™s Island about taking control of their life and achieving their goals. â€œYou have 24 hours in a day,â€? he says, â€œand you can do a lot!â€?
From his lyrical debut on the underground hip-hop scenes to guerilla style marketing and promotions, self-taught, Dashawn Taylor has turned poverty into true power moves.
â€œPoverty is a state of mind,â€? he says, as he at 29-years old is accomplishing what a majority could not throughout their entire lifetime. As co-founder of one of the most influential urban news sources, REAL-HIPHOP.COM and the New Jersey-based Ultimate Media Design Studio, Dashawn takes entrepreneurship to its highest capacity. â€œIâ€™ve always thought bigâ€”my mind is always racing,â€? he adds. An artist at heart, this Trenton, New Jersey, native reflects on his teenage fascination of pursuing a rap career.
At 14 he formed the rap group â€œNew Poets Societyâ€? and gained popularity throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia but he quickly realized that it is within the business sector where his future would flourish. Always a self-starter, at 16 he incorporated, Third Eye Productions, a record label/theatre company that still functions today. Yet nothing compares to one of his greatest entrepreneurial quests, REAL-HIPHOP.COM. The desire to bridge the gap between entertainment and multi-media peeked shortly after graduating from Rutgers University with a B.S in Communications and an expertise in Computer Science.
So in 2000, he and former classmate, Kyle â€œNewâ€? Newsome set out to create their own entertainment driven website with an initial investment of a whopping $35. Of course this was only to register the domain name. To began the site, they decided to make their mark with 2 web pages and a musical background but, he exclaims, â€œAt that time we didnâ€˜t really know what the focus would be.â€?
After receiving price quotes costing $2,500 per page, Dashawn took matters in his own hands. He bought a few instructional guides and spent three years mastering website development. He began the construction of his first webpage by asking â€œWhat is real hip-hop?â€? And its been a wrap ever since, he says, of the website that does not define what hip-hop is but rather â€œinvites readers into the business from an unquenching eye.â€? With readership ages varying from 14 to 45, REAL-HIPHOP.com offers celebrity interviews, up-to-the minute news reports, exclusive streaming audio/video content and much more. The site was originally not for profit,
and readers can still enter for free. For the past two years paying advertisement companies continued to flood the site forcing him to hire an advertising agency to control that flow of business. Heâ€™s come a long way from his preliminary marketing initiative of handing out flyers in supermarkets and developing contacts through e-mailing listings. Their coverage has also expanded from an office in New Jersey, to now include Washington, D.C and Sacramento, California too.
The site now receives up to 8 million hits per year and Dashawn says at one time it was more popular than the well established â€œVibe, XXL and The Sourceâ€? magazines on-line. It was this iconic status that transgressed REAL-HIPHOP.com into the self-entitled print magazine in 2005. By using his trademark slogan â€œGot Lyricsâ€? which is a movement he created to regain a focus on quality and thought provoking hip-hop, Dashawn infuses the print version with the on-line content by featuring the winner of â€œGot Lyricsâ€?(an on-line lyrist competition) in the magazine.
Through a national distributor, about 200,000 magazines are in circulation each quarter and can be found in Barnes & Noble and Borders throughout the U.S., Canada and U.K.
His N.J.- based, Ultimate Media Design Studio was created simultaneously to continue to foster the development of advertising designs on the site, in the magazine and for outside establishments as well. After dropping the details of his latest development, DT Enterprises, published his autobiographical novel, â€œFrom Poverty to Power Moves,â€? about how he turned obstacles into prosperity. Dashawn states it plainly, â€œIf you know how to do the work, and you are familiar with what is going on around youâ€”instead of outsourcing the work and hiring someone else to come in, build your own staff and start your own company!â€?
By increasing the magazines distribution from quarterly to bi-weekly, Dashawn hopes to triple its circulation within six to 12 months. â€œI want to be bigger than Yahoo and Google,â€? he exclaims of his development plans.
Third Eye productions, the company he established at 16, plans to bring us some of the hottest urban films by 2010. And if all this doesnâ€™t keep him busy enough, Dashawn and his business partner Newsome are currently in the process of securing the rights to a restaurant franchise in Northern New Jersey. You may have seen him last Fall as the runner up on BETâ€™s â€œThe Ultimate Hustlerâ€? reality show competition, where 16 contestants vied for the opportunity to work with hip-hop mogul Damon Dash. His ultimate past-time is motivating everyone from school children and organizations to inmates at Rikerâ€™s Island about taking control of their life and achieving their goals. â€œYou have 24 hours in a day,â€? he says, â€œand you can do a lot!â€?
For more information log onto www.dashawntaylor.com
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It was sexy to be against the war back then. He was probably in it to get laid.
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