In the world of music, Lyor Cohen doesn’t need an intro. The music executive was there at the dawn of hip-hop, through Rush and Def Jam. He’s run indies, majors (Island Def Jam, Warner Music), he’s launched startups (300 Entertainment) and he’s almost a year into his current role as head of global music at YouTube, clearly one of the most powerful positions in the industry.

Lyor Cohen sat with Lars Brandle for a keynote interview at the 2017 Music Matters summit in Singapore. During his 45 minutes on stage, the veteran music man opened up on the history of hip-hop, errors along the way, and the “golden age” of the business.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

You have a reputation for being tough and tenacious. You’ve been called a Doberman. Are you still that guy?

I have a reputation for being determined. I actually don’t spend a lot of time in the industry, and there are many people who don’t know me. My reputation (is) because I started in rap music and I was a white person in the black art form at the time, because I have an accent and I’ve been accused of being part of the Israeli mafia, all that stuff. And I’m also an ex road manager so I’ve lost a lot of hearing. This is before people recognised not to stand in front of the speaker. So I speak louder than most people because I can’t hear as well. And I’m passionate. All those things lead people to have stories about me. I’m glad people, when I get a chance to speak with them, they have an open mind.