The past few decades have been quite kind to legendary music executive Steve Rifkind. Since the early days of working with his father Jules Rifkind at Spring Records, Steve has always had a special ear for the best urban music had to offer. Growing-up during Hip Hop’s early ages, it made perfect sense for him to use firsthand knowledge in forming his own label. With Loud Records, Rifkind became one of the many key figures in changing the culture’s business and creative trajectory.

In a time where Hip Hop found itself locked out of traditional promotional lanes, Rifkind essentially created grassroots tactics that paved new marketing grounds through street teams. Staying authentic while reaching as many potential listeners as possible became the standard. For many labels pushing Hip Hop pre-social media, it was almost seen as a revolution. However, being the “father of street teams” wasn’t the only card in his deck. He had good, iconic talent to boot. Besides being the former home of Twista, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Three 6 Mafia and others, the biggest success story for Loud came in the form of a gritty nine-member collective fascinated with Shaw Brothers flicks.

Unprecedented at the time, Rifkind provided The Wu-Tang Clan a deal, which allowed them to seek separate solo deals outside of initial group album obligations. Seen as a large gamble, it paid off in spades as most projects, both as a group and individually, went on to be cultural and critical landmarks in Hip Hop.

Though Loud eventually folded, Rifkind launched a new label through Universal Music Group dubbed SRC Records. Holding his own against everything he built during those memorable years at Loud, SRC saw Rifkind finding more crossover success through acts including Terror Squad, David Banner, Akon and Melanie Fiona before closing.

Reminding the industry of his relevance yet again, he’s teamed up with another iconic figure, Russell Simmons. The union brings the world All Def Digital, a platform for emerging artists in the Digital Age. In a year’s time, ADD hit some interesting strides, becoming a YouTube sponsored channel, partnering with Samsung for and a label deal through Universal Music Group. Though technology has changed the industry’s rules, Rifkind continues to prove he can still play the game and play it to win.

How All Def Digital Fuses YouTube, Streaming Radio & UMG