Behind the scenes action in the music industry is where the business of artistry takes place, and that’s just where you’ll find Hassan Shareef, on the scene with set intentions. He is someone who instinctively stepped into entrepreneurship and hit the streets early. Growing up in the Bronx meant two things: making money and surviving. Knowing how to navigate from point to point led him to music, and before long, he was grinding hard while positioned at the epicenter of Hip-Hop. It had been a longtime dream of Hassan’s to open a studio, and it goes back to when he began rapping and started going into the studio and getting a feel for mixing and mastering. That’s when he decided he wanted to get more involved in turning ideas into songs, since then he continues to take on ventures in music production and management. He rolls with a fitting motto, “I don’t sell dreams, I sell reality” and interestingly, Hassan aspires to get involved in larger scale projects particularly at the investor level much like to his mentor Daymond John of Shark Tank fame.
At present day Black Magic Studios is going strong with Hassan at the helm as the main producer and studio manager with a team of three engineers working under him. When it comes to closing a deal he likes to start with a single and then work into a two or four album agreement. Added to that, his NBS (Nobody is Safe) Management artist roster boasts eight acts and lately Hassan has been working on an album for rap group Loud Pack Team as well as an EP and a mixed tape for R&B/Rap crossover artist Young Cocky. A big asset for Hassan is that he studied finance, but more importantly he has that innate understanding that while there is money to be made, an artist’s’ dynamic is best developed with synergy. For him a day in the life consists of many things dependent on the day, or week, but for the most part he gets it all in with a few hours of emails, following up with people, staying in touch with artists and heading out to events to meet new artists. Again the focus is on connections, actively researching and reaching out, attending showcases and participating in social media engagement. When given the opportunity, Hassan pays homage to the big names that have influenced him, and not surprisingly Dr. Dre, Jay Z, and Russell Simmons top the list.
Industry heavyweights tend to hit a sweet spot where they can find balance between a few pillars of creativity, and this type of success requires a certain aptitude. At one point Hassan was involved with another studio where the owner passed away and he inherited the responsibility of the place so it was rebranded under his direction. This kind of intuition landed him several high profile projects including many with longtime friend Larry Payne, and even helped to launch his production company venture Mad Large Music. In music supervisor roles requiring pairing audio with a visual story for TV and movies he curates to capture a moment in time, from fresh tracks for the modern day to tunes from bygone eras that translate a historical perspective, he’s flexed his abilities working on several soundtracks including Rucker Park and State Property among others. Hassan has been open about honoring those that fostered his self-growth, showed him the ropes and helped him establish credibility and points to a strong brand as the most effective tool available for any entity.
It’s unfortunate that raw talent alone isn’t enough, but it’s no secret the most apparent barrier in the music industry is the expense required to get involved, followed by the necessity of knowing the right people. Hassan believes the narrative of cultivating a support system is more relevant than ever given that with Ebonics becoming the norm many young artists can get by without being lyrical and that sheds light on a desperate situation, many of them can’t read very well and it keeps them from articulating their ideas. Ultimately in an environment centered on competition it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and he is transparent about the struggles of the industry while hopeful that circumstances will evolve. By investing in himself, a black Muslim business owner, an award winning music producer, artistic manager, a creative director and so much more, he is reaping the rewards of full throttle leadership. When he’s not working you can catch him at the gym, the movies, out shopping or traveling and meeting new people, for Hassan the world is a stage and a boardroom all in one.