Amazon, Faze and crypto-betting platform Skate are looking to make some major money off of the backs of Hip Hop artists and urban influencers.  Nicki Minaj, Drake, and Snoop Dogg just announced new deals with cash-rich companies that are willing to “pay to play” in order to quickly capture reach, relevance, and profits.

Drake, Snoop & Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj Puts Amazon AMP On Her Back

Amazon launched their latest product called AMP – a new streaming radio social media app where hosts can create and share playlists and interact with fans. AMP has already secured deals with various high-profile artists to “host” shows, including Nicki Minaj, Big Boi and Pusha T.  These artists will, for an undisclosed fee, promote exclusive, invite-only access codes to fans on social media, to build hype for their shows – and ultimately subscribers to the Amazon AMP platform.  

Nicki Minaj, whose followers number almost a half-billion worldwide across all platforms, will be bringing her weight to AMP with the reboot of her popular “Queen Radio” show.   Nicki announced the move to her followers during an IG live, saying she “loved working with Apple,” but that the AMP platform would be better  suited for her fans to “listen to music together and have conversations.”  

“To have Amazon as a partner is a dream come true,” she shared, saying that although she wasn’t happy that Amazon AMP would only be available live in the US initially, the show episodes would be available post-show as a podcast worldwide.  

The tap by Minaj is providing AMP with a massive base to ramp up subscribers despite its late entry in the social audio app space currently dominated by Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms, and Spotify’s Greenroom. 

The AMP revenue model will likely mirror that of Amazon’s successful Twitch platform, where ads are inserted into shows and audience members can donate cash. Amazon takes a cut of both.

Snoop Partners With Faze Clan

Snoop Dogg will now be a content creator for the esports platform, Faze Clan, a gaming organization that was founded in May of 2010 with backers including Interscope owner Jimmy Iovine and DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia. Rappers like Yo Gotti, Offset of Migos, Swae Lee, and Pitbull rock with Faze Clan as well.

Faze Clan is the latest company to “pay to play” – co-opting hip-hop cultural influence to capture reach and relevance with the announcement of Snoop Dogg as their newest content creator, “Faze Snoop.”

In a statement, the new owner of Death Row Records, credits his kids as the reason for the move, saying, “The youth identifies with their brand and Cordnell knew which is why he brought the deal together.”

Snoop has been heavy in the esports space on Twitch and he has his own esports league called The Gangsta Gaming League.

Drake Pushes Crypto Business With Stake

For several months, Drake dropped hints about a possible partnership with the cryptocurrency betting platform Stake. From scenes of him playing an online game of roulette or screenshots of his massive Super Bowl bet, Drake made it clear he was at the very least a fan of the platform. On Wednesday, March 2, details were revealed as Drake officially announced on Instagram his partnership with Stake, calling it “inevitable.”

“Drake has been an active member of our global community for a few months now, so the next step and natural evolution in the relationship was for us to collaborate on a stream,” added Stake co-founder Ed Craven, per SBC Americas.

Drake will be pushing crypto-betting, a risky and unregulated gambling scheme, with live events where he bets and gives away money. He told fans,  “I am going to be announcing a date for an upcoming live event where I play to win some real money and give it all to you because what’s better than sharing the love with my people.”

Drake’s combined reach on all social platforms is almost 300 Million followers, giving Stake immediate impact in the nascent – and highly unregulated – crypto betting space.

Additional Reporting by Kendall Parks.