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Master P is a rapper and hip-hop mogul who founded No Limit Records.
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Master P (aka Percy Miller) was born on April 29, 1970 in New Orleans. He used money from a malpractice settlement to open No Limit Records, a store which became a label. His artists crowded the hip-hop charts in the late 90s and Master P expanded his empire into film, sports management, and socially conscious rap. In 1998, Forbes ranked him 10th on its list of highest-grossing entertainers.
Rapper and hip-hop mogul Master P was born Percy Miller on April 29, 1970, in New Orleans, Louisiana. His parents divorced when he was very young, and Miller and his four siblings were raised by their father in New Orleans' Calliope Projects, a neighborhood infamous for its high crime rate. "We had a house full of people and an empty refrigerator," Master P recalls.
"I was so hungry that my stomach was literally cramping." He says that the turning point in his childhood came at age 16, when he saw a former resident of the Calliope Projects, who had left to become an insurance salesman, return to the neighborhood in a Mercedes-Benz. Determined to become a legitimate businessman, Master P began his first entrepreneurial venture as a high-school senior, selling early-model cell phones throughout New Orleans. "No one in my family could find a job at the time," he remembers. "I couldn't find one either, so I created my own."
Master P attended Warren Easton High School in New Orleans, starring as a point guard on the basketball team. After graduating in 1987, he briefly enrolled at the University of Houston to play basketball. However, he dropped out just months into his freshman year and transferred to Merritt Junior College in Oakland, California. He was studying business at Merritt when his grandfather passed away, and Master P received $10,000 as part of a malpractice settlement awarded his family due to the circumstances of the death. Armed with nothing but the settlement money and two years of business classes, Master P opened his own record store, No Limit Records, in nearby Richmond, California.
Master P used his record store to scope out sales trends in the hip-hop industry. After perceiving an unfulfilled demand for more hard-edged gangster rap music, he expanded No Limit into a record label and self-produced his own debut album, Get Away Clean, in 1991. Neither Get Away Clean nor Master P's 1992 release, Mama's Bad Boy, sold well, and he decided to move No Limit Records back to his hometown of New Orleans.
There Master P achieved his first real success with the 1994 album, The Ghettos Tryin' to Kill Me, and its 1995 follow-up, 99 Ways to Die. Operating without a national distribution deal, Master P promoted the albums via word-of-mouth to independent music stores, managing to sell some 250,000 copies.
Spurred on by the success of these early releases, Master P signed a distribution contract with Priority Records in 1996. He released his next album, Ice Cream Man, later that year and it peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard album charts.
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