Dre & Lobus Reveal Their Plan To Help Artists Build Generational Wealth

By Tony M. Centeno

June 26, 2023

Photo: Vital Versatility

Andre "Dre" Christopher Lyon understands the true value of a multi-platinum artist’s catalog. As a revered producer, the other half of Cool-N-Dre has received several bids to sell off the duo’s catalog for “life-changing” amounts of cash. Despite the generous offers, he and his partner Marcello “Cool” Valenzano always knew there was more they could do to profit off their most valuable assets.

“Thankfully we didn't jump at it because we knew there had to be something,” Dre recalls during a conversation with iHeartRadio. “There had to be a catch. Like why are they coming at us with a 25 x multiple? That's crazy. It's gotta be something else.”

After years of protecting the duo’s IP, Dre recently became involved with a company that would help Cool-N-Dre as well as other creators build generational wealth for years to come. Lyon recently partnered up with Lobus, which is “the leading asset management platform for cultural assets.” Nearly a month after the partnership was announced, Dre told iHeartRadio all about his involvement with Lobus over lunch in a lavish condo building in Downtown Miami.

"What I'm doing for the company is sourcing content," Dre explained. "meaning when it's time for us to acquire partnerships with other producers and songwriters to do deals with them and their catalogs, that's my job."

The veteran beatmaker serves as a partner and the company’s content acquisitions officer. His role is to leverage his connections and expertise in the music industry to broker partnerships with artists, producers, writers and other creators in the music and film industries. Lobus currently manages over $9 billion in assets. With Dre as the point of contact for all artists who want to monetize their IP, that number will increase greatly in the future.

At a time when revered acts are selling off their catalogs for a massive lump sum, Dre, along with Lobus’ founders Lori Hotz and Sarah Wendell Sherrill, want artists and creators continue to profit off their assets even after they are sold. The company’s goal is to help all creators remain attached to their assets if they choose to sell, and ensure they earn funds from the upside like their buyers do. It’s a brand new model for an alternative investment that works for all creators in music, film and beyond. During our conversation about the topic, Dre paused to answer an important call from Hotz.

“Dre is a phenomenal partner because he has an expertise that I do not have,” Hotz said during a Zoom call. “He has a circle of influence that I do not have, and those are the best people to partner with because if your strengths complement someone else's strengths, those are the people you want to work with. I'm always struck by how intelligent he is, how he understands nuance, how he understands business and how he understands people in such a fundamental way. It's really a privilege and I hope we'll be working together for a long time."

Hotz’s professional experience in banking, her time working for CEO’s like Jamie Dimon and her unbeatable track record for helping companies grow has elevated her to platforms some people can only dream of like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the annual event in 2022, Hotz met Dre while they were in between panel discussions they were involved in, and they truly hit it off. They admit that they are very different in many ways but when it comes to certain topics like creator equity and generational wealth, they’re very much in sync.

“We shared a lot of core principles and values,” Dre said of Hotz. “What I realized was, a lot of the people I met in Davos were the people who were funding the companies, paying the CEOs salaries, which is another level where I feel that if you are a creator and you have an impact on culture, that's the table we need to be sitting at.”

“It’s the whole idea that yes people want to make money but they want to make money in a sustainable way," Hotz added. "I think that’s really the focus. It's sustainability but also having people at the center. That’s why I feel like [Lobus] is so compelling because we’re putting people at the center of the investment thesis.”

Hotz and Dre have been working together over the past year to develop the company and bring in more assets. During the process, they’ve managed to make history not just for Lobus but for Hip-Hop culture as well. Earlier this year, Lobus teamed up with Forbes to bring Fat Joe and Doug E. Fresh to Davos for a rare event. The inaugural Forbes Forum on Creator Equity was moderated by "Earn Your Leisure" hosts Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings and featured testimony from Dre, former NBA star Roger Mason Jr. and Megan Holston-Alexander of the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund (CLF). The event not only gave Dre a chance to reveal how artists can protect their assets, but it also allowed the participants to celebrate 50 years of Hip-Hop in a place where rap has never been before.

“It's never been done. So what we did was we accomplished something amazing at the World Economic Forum,” Dre boasted. “That was such a huge success for us”

Making history is a permanent fixture in Lobus’ plans for the next few years. In addition to helping artists maintain ownership in their assets, the company also intends to give fans a chance to align themselves with their favorite artists financially. It aims to build an exchange where artists can go public with their own IPO (initial public offering) for a percentage of their catalog. With Lobus' upcoming Super app, fans will eventually be able to find artists and songs that they can personally invest in like buying stocks on Robinhood.

“The artist now has a way to align with their fans and make more money,” Dre said about the app. “Growing up I was a huge and still am OutKast fan. Anything they did, I bought. Any artist from the Dungeon Family, whether I thought they sounded good or not, I bought their music. If there was a way for me to actually invest in OutKast in their catalog back when they put their first album out, my return would've been crazy.”

One of Dre's goals with Lobus is to get into a position where Cool-N-Dre will be able to buy their catalog from Universal Music Publishing Group and invest it on their own terms. The duo, who are worth at least $8 million combined according to Celebrity Networth, is also focused on growing their catalog, especially with Dre’s next solo album. During our conversation, Dre shut off the recorder to play some unreleased music featuring New York’s rising star Stove God Cooks. It was just a brief offering of what he’s got in store for his upcoming studio LP.

“I finished my album. It's done,” Dre declared. “It's a statement for Cool-N-Dre as music producers. It’s what happens when you give us the keys and let us produce something from beginning to end. Stove God on there with me. Raekwon and Ghostface on there with me. Rozay on there with me. Lil Wayne on there with me. My man Fridayy’s on there with me. He gave me something so phenomenal and it's going really f**k the game up.”

Dre is going at his own pace when it comes to his music, but as of now the album is set to drop towards the end of this year. It would be the follow-up to his 2019 project Family Ties with Fat Joe featuring tracks like “YES” featuring Cardi B and Anuel AA. Although Cool-N-Dre has recently produced plenty of hits for artists like Mary J. Blige and Killer Mike, Dre feels no pressure to release new music the way he used to. Nowadays, his work with Lobus comes first. Regardless of what he's involved with, Dre will never stop making music nor will he cease to help other artists elevate to his level of success.

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