The Black Mozart

Ryan Leslie is one of the most influential celebrities of our time but doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

Solomon Hillfleet


Photo Courtesy of Jerrica Jefferson

I can remember the concert like it was my first one. But that’s because it was my first concert. It was April 2013, roughly a week after my 24th birthday, and I was ecstatic.

I had just graduated, gotten a job fresh out of college, and I had tickets to go see one of my favorite artists, Ryan Leslie. My ex and two of my other friends and I all made our way into the venue, a spot in Atlanta known as Center Stage, and made our way to the very front of the stage.

The show started with a few preliminary artists, but before long Ryan took the stage. Ryan had just released her third album Les is More and had gone independent, branching off with his own crew the Renegades.

By the end of the show, I left feeling a flush of all emotions from excitement, joy, love, and motivation. It was the first time I saw someone so in tune with their talent and even more committed to pursuing their passion.

It’s been years since that first concert, but the image of the moment has stuck with me. So much so I’ve continued following his career. Since 2014, Ryan’s become a mogul, pioneering the SuperPhone technology while touring overseas.

But for all that he’s contributed to both music and business, there are many including myself who feel as if he’s yet to receive all of the flowers he rightfully deserves. Here are a few reasons Ryan’s career deserves attention:


For all that we say regarding his work with the SuperPhone, there is an earlier segment of his career that equally bolsters the claim of him as a pioneer. In 2004, Ryan, an upcoming producer, met the model Cassie in a nightclub and convinced her to sign to his company Next Selection as his first artist. Feeling as if she would be a suitable fit for music, he convinced her to pursue music.



Solomon Hillfleet

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