by Jen Wieczner
FORTUNE— Even by venture capitalist standards, Ben Horowitz had a busy week. The founding partner of Andreessen Horowitz released his first book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, on Tuesday. A day earlier he'd gone public with the lesser known, artistic side of himself, posting an archival mixtape from his college rap group, known as the Blind-Def Crew, exclusively on RapGenius.com, a lyrics annotation site in which Horowitz invested $15 million. Oh, yeah—and his face was also on newsstands around the world on the cover of Fortune magazine.
At a party feting the book on Thursday hosted by Norman Pearlstine, chief content officer of Time Inc., Fortune's publisher, Horowitz was still autographing copies even as he tried to walk out the door. "Uh, yeah, this is way more attention than I'm used to getting," said Horowitz, wearing shiny sneakers and a Jawbone activity-tracking bracelet, made by another company he funded.
Still, this weekend might take his career to new heights. If some of Horowitz's associates' predictions come true, the VC may have a surprise in store when he takes the stage at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on Sunday: "He might actually be rapping at SXSW," Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam said at the book party.
Nas, the famous rapper, is scheduled to interview Horowitz, a friend, at SXSW on March 9. "Ben schools me about hip-hop," Nas admitted in the Fortune profile. The combination of the two, Moghadam hinted to Fortune, just might lead to a surprise performance. "I hope he does," he said. "I really hope he does. I think he should rap." When Pearlstine asked Horowitz during an interview at the book party if he would rap for the audience, however, Horowitz declined.
Plenty of entrepreneurs launch new products at the giant 10-day conference, which started Friday, and more than 1,000 musicians will perform during SXSW's latter festival portion this year. But a VC rapping through the tech-focused panel discussions might be, as the startup community likes to say, disruptive.
If anyone could pull it off, it would be Horowitz, who was known for his rap-spiced business lessons (which form the basis of his book) on his blog and in Silicon Valley even before he revealed his hip-hop alter-ego, Tic Toc, this week. Horowitz chose to tell the full origin story of his rap career, however, not in his book but in a personal post on his own site and on Rap Genius. In it, he emotionally describes learning in college that his close family friend, Seth Clark (whom he calls his "brother"), had been shot in the face, leaving him unable to see. Clark became "The Blind MC," the inspiration and lead voice in their rap group.
Horowitz has also assigned rapper names to his business partners, including Marc Andreessen. "He calls Marc 'Big Tunechi,'" a play on the Twitter handle of rapper Lil Wayne, which is @LilTunechi, Moghadam said.
To be sure, entrepreneurs are grateful just for Horowitz's venture funding and startup expertise, let alone his rhyming prowess.
"I almost feel like we acquired them, rather than them investing in us," Georg Petschnigg, CEO of FiftyThree, which makes an iPad drawing app called Paper, said at the book party.
But who wouldn't want to see Horowitz, a.k.a. Tic Toc, show off his skills outside of the board room? If anything, a SXSW rap stunt would be great publicity for his book, all sales of which benefit American Jewish World Service, an organization that helps struggling women.
"As far as I know, Ben has no plans to rap onstage," a spokesperson for Horowitz said, minutes after landing in Austin. Still, we can dream.
As 2013 draws to a close, it's time to tie up a few loose ends and put a ribbon on this year's top stories.
FORTUNE -- Different people mark the end of the year in different ways. One of my traditions is reviewing my work for the year, owning up to mistakes that I haven't already corrected, and following up on some of what I've written. It's not as much fun MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Dec 23, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Allan Sloan takes a look at the recently released Time Inc. SEC filing
FORTUNE -- There are some dishes, like homemade beef stew, that get increasingly flavorful the more times you cook them. Some documents are like that, too—the more you look at them, the more interesting they get.
The recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing by my current employer, Time Inc., is like that. Time Inc., like Time Warner Cable (TWC) MOREAllan Sloan, senior editor-at-large - Dec 5, 2013 11:26 AM ET
Time Inc. is being spun out of Time Warner. It isn't going to be pretty.
FORTUNE -- [This post requires a disclaimer right up top: I work for Fortune, which is published by Time Warner magazine subsidiary Time Inc. The man pictured above is my boss's boss's boss's boss. Well, at least until Time Warner spins out Time Inc. early next year. Got all that? Okay, moving on.]
Fingers crossed. That was MOREDan Primack - Nov 26, 2013 3:34 PM ET
Two weeks ago, Norm Pearlstine stunned the media world by leaving Bloomberg LP to rejoin Time Inc. as chief content officer. Now he's explaining why.
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Time Inc. is being spun out of Time Warner (TWX) early next year, and Pearlstine's arrival MOREDan Primack - Nov 11, 2013 6:57 AM ET
Veteran media exec returning to Time Inc., as company preps for spin-out from Time Warner.
FORTUNE -- Media executive Norman Pearlstine is stepping down as Bloomberg LP's chief content officer, in order to take a similar position with Time Inc. (publisher of Fortune). The move comes as Time Inc. is preparing to spin out from corporate parent Time Warner (TWX), which is expected to occur early next year.
This is a homecoming of MOREDan Primack - Oct 31, 2013 10:31 AM ET
As Joe Ripp moves on to run Time Inc., some thoughts from his former business partner.
FORTUNE -- For the past four months, Time Inc. employees have wondered who will lead the magazine publisher once it is spun out into a standalone public company early next year. Today we got our answer: Joe Ripp, a onetime Time Inc. and Time Warner (TWX) CFO who has spent the past eight years leading business-to-business MOREDan Primack - Jul 22, 2013 4:27 PM ET
Will Time Inc. shareholders be as pleased as those of Time Warner Cable and AOL?
FORTUNE -- Time Warner announced Wednesday that it plans to cut its Time Inc. magazine unit loose, spinning it off into an independent public company. There are all sorts of details yet to be worked out, but the largest question is whether this deal will actually work. And, by that, I mean create additional value.
Time Inc. MOREDan Primack - Mar 7, 2013 12:58 PM ET
Time Warner is spinning off its magazine unit. Now what?
FORTUNE -- Well, we're not being sold. But we're also not going to be part of Time Warner anymore either.
Time Warner (TWX) this evening announced that it plans to spin off its Time Inc. magazine unit, which includes Fortune, after sales talks with Meredith Corp. (MDP) collapsed. Lots of unanswered questions right now, with these three at top of mind:
1. How much MOREDan Primack - Mar 6, 2013 6:18 PM ET
Meredith Corp. wants to buy People magazine, but it's going to need help.
FORTUNE -- As Fortune reported earlier Wednesday, Time Warner is in talks to sell most of its magazine assets to Meredith Corp. The deal could be valued at around $2.5 billion, according to several reports. But here's the thing: Meredith (MDP) only has a market cap of approximately $1.7 billion, and an enterprise value that's just a hair above $2 MOREDan Primack - Feb 13, 2013 5:50 PM ET
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