HITS Daily Double


In this excerpt from our recent volume profiling industry ballers, we explore the backstory of the RCA chief and his early involvement with hip-hop.

Growing up near Coventry, England, Edge was drawn to the music his sister listened to: longtime hitmakers such as Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. “I loved all those soul records; they really spoke to me,” he told the New York Sun. As a student at Coventry Polytechnic studying Communication Studies —film, art, psychology and sociology—he DJ’d at local radio stations, clubs and parties, and after graduating with honors, he became a music researcher/DJ for Channel Four’s TV series Switch, where he booked artists such as Sade and Grace Jones.

His work there caught the eye of Simon Fuller, who hired him as an A&R rep at Chrysalis Music Publishing; he subsequently moved to the label side at Chrysalis and was tasked with launching the London-based Cooltempo imprint in 1985, in tandem with producer Danny D. In the U.K., the label would release music by Erik B and Rakim, EPMD, The Real Roxanne, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, who had a significant hit with “The Show” in 1985. Edge signed the British rapper Monie Love; the first project he A&R’d was her debut, which included the Grammy-nominated “Monie in the Middle” and her only U.S. Top 40 hit, “It’s a Shame (My Sister).”

To Edge, these were groundbreaking musicians who would pave the way for future hitmakers such as The Fugees, Arrested Development and OutKast. “These artists couldn’t get a record deal at the time—no one was interested in hip-hop, really,” he recalled. “If it hadn’t been for acts like Jungle Brothers, he says, “I don’t know whether the artists who came later would have received the recognition they did.”

Read the entire profile here.