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Could Justin Bieber Become The Next Big Hip-Hop Artist? Industry Experts Weigh In!

Tue, August 24, 2010 8:00pm EDT by 1 Comment
Getty Images

Getty Images

Now that JB is collaborating with Kanye West and Raekwon, does he have a future in the hip-hop community, or should he stick to pop/R&B hybrid he’s made his own? A magazine editor, record label exec and a musician weigh in!

Little Justin Bieber is about to play with the big boys! Now that the teen singing sensation is collaborating with hip-hop heavyweights Kanye West and the Wu-Tang Clan‘s Raekwon, we had to ask the question: does the Biebster have a future in the HH industry, or should he stick to the genre he knows best?

“He can’t really become the next big hip-hop artist, but as he does more stuff with Kanye and Raekwon there could be a chance that hip-hop can front him even more. It won’t come off as posture,” Jermaine Hall, the editor-in-chief of Vibe magazine, tells “You can tell he grew up listening to the genre, so it doesn’t come off as false. But will he be as big as Kanye or Jay-Z in this game? Probably not.”

If Justin, 16, DOES want to become a big star in the hip-hop community, Hall does think he’s surrounding himself with the perfect people. “He’s definitely picking the right people! Raekwon is a great pick as is Kanye. If he’s able to ever get Jay-Z to co-sign, I think that would be the ultimate get for him. So far the people he’s hand-picking to collaborate with are on point.” He adds, “As Justin gets older he should graduate to a more Justin Timberlake kind of lane – he should strive to be the next JT, not the next Jay-Z.”

Agrees Jeff Sledge, the VP of A&R for Battery/Jive Records, “I don’t think I’d ever call him a hip-hop artist, but he IS a young kid that’s grown up in a hip-hop world. Will he ever be a hip-hop artist in a convential way? No. He’s a white kid from Canada, but he does [have credibility in that world because] he hangs out with Diddy, Jay-Z and Beyonce….he’s even been on BET.”

Sledge says that Justin definitely shouldn’t try to deviate from the musical path he’s on – he’s good at what he does, he’s found his niche and should stick with it! “He shouldn’t be striving to make himself the next JT or Usher. His path is different. The world is different now than when those guys came up. Hip-hop is part of his life.”

Even Raekwon himself has said that instead of going more hip-hop, he and Kanye are going to move towards JB’s brand of pop. “Yeezy called me and we gon’ make it pop,” he said. “At the end of the day we’re all doing our thing in the game and for them to even just have a conversation and just put my name in it, it feels good. It feels good to respect what I do and I respect what they do. And we gon’ make a hit. Justin got his own fanbase and me and Yeezy got our own fanbase and we gon’ make it happen. We gon’ make a good record.”

Staying true to himself is a good thing, according to rocker Tara Ellis, who tells us,I don’t think Justin could fit that mold but at the same time, Kanye has blurred the lines on what an artist can be and do, so Justin is certainly in good company if he happens to take on that challenge. But let’s be honest – Justin Bieber should remain in the spotlight of what comes naturally to him.”

Do you agree?

Laura Schreffler