Between Rocawear and a Hard Place

Hip-Hop Icons Hope to Broaden Their Portfolios With New Fashion Lines

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Artful Dodger t-shirt

The "Grave" t-shirt from Jay-Z's Artful Dodger line.

Well the brand-music partnership space is certainly back with a vengeance after a long slow summer. I could turn this writing into a full time job if we carry on at the rate the stories are currently hitting the wires.

In time for the fall fashion season, our favorite group of "entrepreneurs" are out and about, showing off their new ranges.

First up to give us a nice twirl is the King of Branding and Business Opportunities, Jay-Z, who showed off his newly revamped Artful Dodger line at a party hosted by GQ magazine at the Chelsea Art Museum. Hova acquired Artful Dodger with partners Iconix for $15 million in cash last November. Both must be hoping that Jay-Z's legendary marketing skills can propel the Artful Dodger brand to the same capital value as his former clothing label Rocawear, which was acquired by Iconix for $204 million in early 2007.

Lupe Fiasco has announced his own new line, a natty range of t-shirt with fashion label Fruition, based on a re-designed Fila logo. This will fit nicely alongside his range of sunglasses and Fallacy Of Rome clothing line. He just needs a shoe range to finish the wardrobe off!

Meanwhile, not to be outdone, Snoop Dog is apparently weaving his Rich and Infamous clothing line and other Snoop products into his reality TV show "Father Hood" and the follow-up to his 2004 movie "Coach Snoop," which, according to, will generate millions of dollars worth of free exposure. Good for you Snoop, I'm glad that these shows are of use to someone.

Finally, Sears has just revealed the new fall ad campaign for the LL Cool J range of clothing featuring the rapper and, by the looks of it, his entire family.

Got to stop writing now whilst I get my kids to model those new Tunnicliffe "Tuna" hoodies that I've been developing this summer ...

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Mike Tunnicliffe owns Tuna Music LLC, a New York- and London-based management company. Find out more at
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