Roc Nation Co-President Shari Bryant knows about staying 10 toes down and grinding her way to the top. The Harlem, N.Y. native who grew up in the same apartment building as Dame Dash, began her career as an intern for Roc-A-Fella Records at 16 years old in 1999.  Working with the Roc made her realize her desire to work in the music industry full time. On this episode of XXL's Inside Track podcast, she discusses her journey from interning at the label to being a boss.

"I was just excited to be a part of what was going on," Shari tells XXL of her early years at Roc-a-Fella. "I didn't realize it was such a business behind it. I was just a fan of the videos and watching all the fly outfits. And then going into the office I'm like, Oh, this is how this all works and comes together. Just being a part of that, I didn't realize I was stepping into history at all."

After the label disbanded, she later matriculated through marketing roles at Island Def Jam, Atlantic Records, Warner Bros. and a general manager gig at Alamo Records before landing the co-president role at Roc Nation in 2019, a position she's held for a half-decade alongside Omar Grant. At Roc Nation, her duties include boosting the entity's talent pool and creating more opportunities for the clients on the label wing of Hov's media conglomerate, which musically includes the careers of Rihanna, J. Cole, Rapsody, Vic Mensa and others.

With the future of the Roc Nation label under her direction, Shari is dead set on building superstars from the ground up.

"That's a big part of having an artist [over the company] that really modeled his career off of that," Shari says of Jay's career influence on the mindset of the imprint. "I think that's why we have the autonomy to operate that way. That we can sign things that we really believe in. [Jay-Z] understands the time it takes to build a superstar because he was in that position himself."

XXL is back with another episode of Inside Track, a biweekly podcast that spends time with some of hip-hop's most influential industry executives, entrepreneurs and more. Hosted by XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten and music executive Courtney "Courtney CL" Lowery, each episode will continue to explore hip-hop through the eyes of people who have lived and breathed the culture.

Watch or listen to the third episode of XXL's Inside Track podcast below. The podcast can be found on, XXL’s YouTube page and on most podcast platforms: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and XXL Live.

Watch XXL's Inside Track Podcast With Shari Bryant

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