He left the music production side and, in 1990, he co-founded Interscope Records with Ted Field. The next year, he signed Tupac Shakur as the first of many rap/hip-hop artists. This marked Iovine’s transition from sound engineer to rap-music mogul. Others soon followed… Eminem, Will.i.am, and Dr. Dre.
Interscope was unique among record companies. The artists, along with their producers, were given complete creative control over their material and recordings. Stifled artistic control had always been an area of contention between artists and record labels, so Iovine’s innovative approach was highly appealing, especially to the rap and hip-hop artists whose lyrics often sparked controversy.