Percy Robert Miller (born April 29, 1967), known by his stage name Master P or his business name P. Miller, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, author, filmmaker, record producer, philanthropist, and former athlete. He is the founder of the record label No Limit Records, which was relaunched as New No Limit Records through Universal Records and Koch Records, then again as Guttar Music Entertainment, and finally, currently, No Limit Forever Records. He is the founder and CEO of P. Miller Enterprises, an entertainment conglomerate, and Better Black Television, a cable television network.
Miller gained fame in the late 1990s with the success of his hip-hop group TRU as well as his fifth solo rap album Ice Cream Man, which contained his first single "Mr. Ice Cream Man". In 1997, after the success of one of his biggest singles to date, "Make 'Em Say Uhh!," went double platinum, Miller grew further in popularity. Then Miller released his second platinum album Ghetto D. Miller also starred in his own street film, mostly based on his life, I'm Bout It.
In 1998, P. Miller released his most successful album to date MP Da Last Don. The album was also based on a film that Miller produced, which came out earlier that year with the same name. The album hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, selling over 400,000 copies in a week. The album was certified 4x platinum, with over four million copies sold, making it Miller's highest selling album. All the hooks on Da Last Don were sung by Mississippi born and bred artist Alicia Corley, stage name MC Attitude, who eventually sued Master P for non-payment. Master P's defense was that MC Attitude was too young to enter into a legal contract and that she sang the hooks for soda pop and pizza puffs.[clarification needed] In 1999, Miller released his eighth album, Only God Can Judge Me. It was not as successful as his previous album, though it still managed to reach a gold certification. Miller also starred in the movie, I Got the Hook Up, with A.J. Johnson, and created the soundtrack of the same name. On November 28, 2000, he released his ninth album, Ghetto Postage, which found success selling 500,000 copies, but it did not compare to his earlier more successful releases.
In the early 2000s, as No Limit Records popularity was slowly declining, so was Miller's. Miller re-launched No Limit Records as New No Limit Records. In 2001 Miller would released his tenth album entitled Game Face. In 2003, Miller starred in the film Lockdown. In 2004, Miller released his eleventh album, Good Side, Bad Side it charted number 1 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart and sold 300,000 copies. The same year, Miller released his first independent album Living Legend: Certified D-Boy on his new label Guttar Music.
In 2013 Forbes estimated Miller's net worth at nearly $350 million, which put him as the third richest figure in hip hop at the time. On December 6, 2013, Miller released his thirteenth studio album The Gift on his newly founded label No Limit Forever Records. On November 27, 2015 Miller would release his fourteenth album entitled Empire, from the Hood to Hollywood.
In 1998, Miller ranked 10th on Forbes magazine's list of America's 40 highest paid entertainers, with an estimated income of $56.5 million. In 2009, on Forbes in his mogul career, his income was estimated at $661 million, making Miller, at the time, the highest paid hip hop entertainer in the world. In 2013, Miller's financial status as an American rap mogul is a net worth estimated at $350 million, making him the #3 highest paid hip hop entertainer.
Aside from being a rapper, Master P is also a successful entrepreneur and investor. He was one of the first rappers to notice and take advantage of the retail potential of the music industry. As an investor, Master P was one of the first rappers to build a business and financial empire by investing in a wide range of business ventures from a variety of industries. He has since invested the millions of dollars he made from his No Limit record company into a travel agency, a Foot Locker retail outlet, real estate, and stocks, as well as film, music, and television production, also toy making, a phone sex company, clothing, telecommunications, a jewellery line, auto accessories, book and magazine publishing, car rims, fast food franchises, gas stations, and more. His sports management agency No Limit Communications, a joint venture with marketing guru Djuan Edgerton, was a surprising success. No Limit Enterprises quickly became a financial powerhouse. According to Black Enterprise magazine, No Limit Enterprises grossed $110 million in revenue in 1998 alone. This level of success inspired other Hip Hop artists to branch out into other business ventures and investments. Miller also has own line of beverages, called "Make ‘Em Say Ughh!" energy drinks. Miller has also made a foray into mass media, where he founded Better Black Television, a cable television network in November 2010 based in New Orleans, making him the first hip hop entrepreneur to establish a cable television network.
As founder and CEO of No Limit Entertainment, Miller at one time presided over a business empire that included No Limit Records, Bout It Inc., No Limit Clothing, No Limit Communications, No Limit Films, No Limit Sports Management, P. M. Properties, and Advantage Travel. Miller represented former NFL running back Ricky Williams when he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, however the deal was rated the worst contract for a player in NFL History by ESPN. Miller also manages the music, film, and television career of his son, rap star Romeo Miller, as well as pop star Forrest Lipton and rap star Gucci Mane. Miller was also the executive television producer for his teenage daughter Cymphonique’s Nickelodeon Show, How To Rock, and the co-creator Romeo!, the hit Nickelodeon television show that stars his son.
Before Master P, rappers had historically focused more on the artistic and glamorous side of Hip Hop while paying very little attention to the business and financial aspects. All that changed in 1996 when Master P signed a groundbreaking music distribution deal with Priority Records, one where No Limit Records would retain 100% ownership of their Master Recordings and keep 85% of their record's sales while giving Priority 15% in return for pressing and distribution. Master P went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars from this deal. Additionally, Master P invented many innovative marketing techniques. According to Wendy Day, CEO of the Rap Coalition, "Master P had a whole marketing movement. He was the first person to market the way a corporate entity like IBM would market to their clientele." Whereas the traditional model for marketing records was to spend millions of dollars on expensive videos and air play, Master P didn't have such a luxury.
As an independent artist, he had to find a way to build platinum record selling demand on a limited budget. He began selling tapes out the trunk of his car in every city and town in America where there was potential demand for his music. He gave out free samples to people with expensive cars and had them playing his music all throughout their neighborhoods. This street level guerrilla marketing technique set the early foundation to build a larger fanbase for the future. After signing his historic deal with Priority, P began a high volume business model of cranking out as many records as possible, as frequently as possible. He branded all his albums, so that the No Limit brand became more important than the actual artist's name. Master P cross-promoted all his artists and albums inside the album covers. He also used pen and pixel graphics and mafia-inspired themes to make his albums stand out. He offered 20 songs per album when as most albums offered 15 or less. He turned his artists into Marvel comic book-like characters rather than just rappers. He made sure his artists were #1 on SoundScan every time they released an album, to build the perception of popularity. He used inexpensive videos to promote his artists, and he cross promoted and tied them altogether. Brand image became more important than just music quality. Master P's record labels have sold 75 million records as a result of his innovative marketing strategies.