Talking to the founder and CEO of the most premier urban website in the world, WorldStarHipHop.com really helped bring to light the old adage “You Can’t Knock the Hustle”. Hustle and grind have been the consistent templates that Lee ‘Q’ Denat, has lived and breathed since the beginning of the internet phenomenon back in the late 90’s.
Q’s journey in promoting the culture of Hip Hop online has been nothing short of inspiring, creating a website, that initially started out as a mixtape download site, to a page that receives a colossal 81 million visitors a month. Showcasing ‘as-it-happens’ industry news on Hip Hop’s rising stars, banging music videos and several branch off businesses in the arenas of clothing lines , alcohol brands and upcoming artists and of course their famed international WorldStarHipHop parties.
Australia is preparing to welcome Q back to our shores where he will be hosting a series of WorldStarHipHop parties in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. As these parties will be filmed for the site, the whole world will tune in to see how we party down under and provide a chance for our urban community to showcase their talents for the worldwide audience to experience.Read on to discover the story behind one of dot coms greatest success stories and the journey he has taken to turn his dream into a million dollar reality!
Congrats on the success of your site Q – 81 million visitors each month is just staggering!! What do you attribute to the success of this site?
Thank you so much. I would have to say that people visit the site because of the reality we show within the hip hop world. We show the reality in the good, the bad and the ugly stories that come from within the urban music world. There is no sweeping under the rug or glossing over stories like some media outlets like to do out there you know – we like to report the real and honest side of our hip hop community and I believe our followers genuinely appreciate that which is why they keep coming back. I think as an urban outlet on the internet it’s important for us to show all sides of life within our hip hop culture and not just the pretty stuff you know.
What was your motivation to start WorldStarHipHop.com and what sets it apart from the other hip hop sites out there?
I initially created WorldStarHipHop.com as a mixtape download site a few years ago with some music videos and blogging information etc. With the success of 50Cent the site really blew up around 2002 and the demand for his mixtapes went through the roof and with that the site started to really gain momentum. I really found myself touring a lot with DJ Whoo Kid, who is a really good friend of mine and I wasn’t home much to ship cd’s etc. so I had to create a way to get the cd’s to the customers without physically mailing them out myself from my apartment with all the travelling I was doing so that was why I started the mixtape site and decided to call it WorldStarHipHop.com so people could just download. I then added some celebrity news and interviews on there just to make it different and fresh as I could just see how much the world loves Hip Hop. I really just tried to show the culture of hip hop and that’s what WorldStarHipHop is all about.
Describe your journey since launching WorldStarHipHop.com back in 2005? Starting off as a mixtape download site you have managed to branch off into clothing, alcohol brands etc…..did you envisage the branch offs being as successful as the site itself?
I’ve always thought out of the box you know and saw myself as the ‘Russell Simmons’ of the internet world ( laughs) so progression has always been an integral part of my websites growth and the growth of hip hop’s culture at the end of the day. I’ve been doing this for so many years before people started getting really involved with internet based businesses so it’s just the nature of evolution for me to want to grow this site and have different business ventures assigned to it. I was really one of the first to start up a successful internet business and have been in this game since 1996, back at a time when nobody was taking it seriously and I have watched it grow into the crazy success the internet is today so for me it’s just been a way of life at the end of the day. If I was going to do this I had to do it differently than everything else out there and maintain that individuality which has set WorldStarHipHop apart from the Yahoo’s and Google’s out there. People love everything we do and the fact that we have fans around the world is testament to all the hard work we put into making this site the success it is.
You are heading back down to Australia to host a series of WorldStarHipHop parties across the nation and to serve as a platform for our urban artists and nightclubs to showcase what we got and how we do hip hop. What can we expect from your parties that will be happening in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide?
Yes and I am so excited to be headed back to Australia. I’m going to be making sure everybody gets some of our official WorldStarHipHop.com merchandise, t-shirts etc., we are also going to be recording each party on our site so people all around the world get to see how Australia throws down a hip hop party ( laughs). It’s going to a great set of parties that will open up the door for your up-and-coming hip hop artists to also be able to showcase their talents on the night and come up and meet me and get that networking connection happen. I love these parties as it really breaks down the walls and makes people connect on a better level, on a global level. I really hope people come up and say hi and have a chat to me – I’m really approachable and down to earth so and I hope to be able to meet your artists and help them get their music out there.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of Hip Hop?
It’s basically a global entity now where everybody, no matter their culture or race embraces hip hop in their own way, and with the help of the internet, music and information has become that more accessible therefore allowing the music and culture that started all those years ago in New York to take on a global appeal. So in essence now for new artists or anyone wanting to break into the community there is really no excuse for you to be on your grind a lot easier than back in the day when artists was knocking down record labels doors wanting deals or hanging out at radio stations waiting for their song to play. The hustle was much harder back then so now, where people have more access to what they need to make their talent grow – there are no excuses. You can’t deny talent so remember if you have talent, you will be discovered?
What motivates you to stay on your grind Q?
I just hate to lose; it’s the competitive streak in me so I am always on the go seeking out new business and ideas. For me to get to this level in my business it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears, hard work is all it is and the hunger to keep reaching for better I guess. I have always been this way so I don’t know how else to be. I am blessed to have a great team behind me now that helps me maintain this success but I will never forget the early days when WorldStarHipHop was just run by a few guys and the hustle was long and hard. So I never forget where I came from and pay respect to all those I meet and get to work with for attributing to my success, but the grind is far from over, especially now that we are international.
Your advice to other up and coming hip hop entrepreneurs trying to get their piece of hip hop success?
Never give up, you have to work hard and remember nothing comes easy. You have to be mentally tough as you may lose friends and family whilst you are on your grind, or people that want to hold you back from achieving – don’t worry about them, just keep yourself in check and don’t stop for anybody. It’s a very hard game out here and you have to strong to maintain your own so learn from an early age that nothing worthwhile is easy and you’ll be alright!
For more information on Q and WorldStarHipHop.com visit: www.worldstarhiphop.com
Always Hip Hop,