Why Star Silicon Valley Investor Ben Horowitz Is Obsessed With Hip Hop Music

Why Star Silicon Valley Investor Ben Horowitz Is Obsessed With Hip Hop Music

ALYSON SHONTELL TECH  MAR. 3, 2014, 9:07 PM

If you’ve ever read Ben Horowitz’s blog, you know his posts often begin with a few lines from a rap song.

Horowitz is a partner at top Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm, Andreessen Horowitz. He’s frequently seen hanging with celebrities like Kanye West and he led an investment in Hip Hop annotation site Rap Genius.

So why is a rich Silicon Valley guy obsessed with rap? It stems from a heart-wrenching story from Horowitz’s childhood, in which a 13-year-old family friend was shot in the face. After the injury, Horowitz’s friend became depressed and pellets left from the gunshot in his brain caused a number of seizures.

“Seth Clark and his family—Joel, Adam, Dana, Joel, and Penny—were my family too,” Horowitz writes. “We lived two houses away from each other. We ate dinner with each other almost every night. We saw each other every day. I went on their family vacations. He was my brother and he was 13 and he was blind for life.”

Horowitz was living in NYC at the time where Hip Hop was exploding. He love that the music embraced life and could be performed without instruments. Horowitz began mailing tapes of the music to Clark, who had stopped talking altogether.

Then Horowitz received a phone call: ““Ben, Seth isn’t talking, but he wants to talk to you about Chuck Chillout and how he remixed something from this guy LL Cool J called, ‘Rock the Bells,’” Horowitz recalls.

Horowitz went home that summer and spent time with Seth. They created their own label, “Blind and Def” and started writing and recording songs. They never got signed, but the music brought his friend out of a dark place and taught him to enjoy life again.

Here’s Horowitz and Clark’s original mix tape. And here’s a more thorough explanation of why Horowitz loves rap.

 

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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