CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER/PARTNER
Al Branch brings the culture to the top of the global conversation. The Blueprint Group partner and CMO has engineered and executed campaigns for some of the most influential albums in history and greatest in hip-hop culture, ranging from Kanye West’s The College Dropout and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to JAY-Z’s The Blueprint, Missy Elliott’s Miss E…So Addictive and Drake’s Thank Me Later and recent blockbusters, including G-Eazy’s The Beautiful & The Damned and more. He’s the rare executive who has fostered the careers of two billionaires—JAY-Z and Kanye West—at their onset.
Aligning talent with world-renowned name brands, he has architected alliances with juggernauts such as Nike, Pepsi, and Hennessy for Kanye, Sprite for Drake, and many more. Alongside his partners at The Blueprint Group, he has notably graced the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players list five times. He also has spoken at numerous industry seminars and discussions, appeared in features by Variety, Revolt TV, SiriusXM, and Cheddar, and even written a much-cited op-ed for Billboard. Now, he serves as Co-CEO with longtime partner Cortez Bryant and co-leads The Blueprint Group’s Atlanta-based distribution arm BPG Distro—one of the few black-owned and operated distribution companies in the music business, at large.
“BPG Distro is an opportunity for my partners and I to develop the next generation of talented artists, brands, and executive talent, he exclaims. “We are looking to make BPG Distro our most influential contribution to hip-hop culture.”
Hailing from the southside of Queens, he took the first step towards building this legacy in 1996 with an entry-level gig at JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records on the eve of Reasonable Doubt’s release. After working his way up to General Manager at Roc-A-Fella at just 22-years-old and spearheading the rollout of JAY-Z’s first five multiplatinum albums through Dynasty, he went on to hold executive positions such as Senior Director of Marketing at Elektra Records, SVP Urban Marketing at Columbia Records, SVP Urban Marketing at Island Def Jam, and General Manager Geffen/Interscope. In tandem, he served as General Manager/Partner for Hip-Hop Since 1978—the management and production company [Kanye West, Just Blaze] founded by Gee Roberson and Kyambo “Hip-Hop” Joshua. 2012 saw Hip-Hop Since 1978 evolve into The Blueprint Group where Branch remains a partner. In addition to working with current management clients such as Lil Nas X, Trippie Redd, G-Eazy, T.I., and more, he CO-HEADS BPG Distro. The independent distribution company provides the power and resources of The Blueprint Group with unparalleled transparency.
“Our main hope is to give artists the fair share they deserve,” he says. “Creators should always own what they create. The plan is to nurse talent in terms of artistry and business.” At the same time, he has anchored The Blueprint Group’s expansion into the world of tech. Launching the Blueprint Group Marketing Agency in 2021, he oversees marketing and branding for Tsū on behalf of the company. In the end, his work ultimately serves a larger purpose. “We try to give back to the community and uplift the next generation,” he leaves off. “I grew up in the middle of the crack epidemic in a rough situation, and I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I want to be a role model for others now.” Al resides in Atlanta with his family. When he’s not working on all things BPG, he’s courtside for his daughters’ basketball games.