In August 2023, Business Insider reported that over 100 albums are certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In February 2021, Ms. Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” joined the diamond-certified club.

What’s more, the music legend became the first female emcee to achieve the rare feat, according to NME.

Released on Aug. 25, 1998, Hill’s debut and only studio album earned her five Grammys at the 1999 Grammy Awards — making her the artist to bring home the most that night and the first Hip-hop artist to win “Album of the Year” — per Among Hill’s collaborators for what is often proclaimed as one of the best albums of all time was Che Pope.

In October 2023, nearly two months after the 25th anniversary of the album, the record producer and former COO of Kanye West’s record label, GOOD Music, recalled how he played a key role in its making. However, he claimed that he wasn’t paid.

“I probably made 20% of the money that I should have made on the record,” the Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter shared in a panel during Black Tech Weekend in Detroit, MI. “I should’ve made millions and whatever amount of money. I probably made in the neighborhood of $700,000 total, whereas I probably should’ve made like $7 million.”

However, there was a bigger picture for Pope, who produced Hill’s “To Zion” and “Lost Ones.” The experience ultimately led to him becoming a successful record executive.

“That’s a big lesson,” he said. “That’s college tuition for my children and so forth, but it led me to become an executive. That’s actually why I became a music executive because I wanted to know the business inside and out.”

After stepping down from his role at GOOD Music, Pope went on to launch WRKSHP with billionaire Dan Gilbert in Detroit in January 2022. The music-based lifestyle brand works to educate upcoming artists about the music business, free them from 360-degree deals, secure ownership, and help them “profit share from revenues derived from their intellectual property and most effectively monetize their art,” Pope said in a press release. The overall mission of WRKSHP is to disrupt the traditional record label model and empower musicians.

During Black Tech Weekend, Pope also shared that creating a startup and raising funding for his music company was a real challenge.

“Coming in and meeting investors, that was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life,” he said. “And I did it during the [COVID-19] pandemic and walked into rooms with people who knew nothing about the music business.”

He added, “Someone would be like, ‘Working with Kanye West, was that the toughest thing [you’ve done]?’ No, raising money for a business was the toughest thing I’ve ever done.”

To learn more about WRKSHP, click here.