“It’s not about a song, it’s about an artist.”
What is the best way to capture the attention of an A&R?
Good. Music. Aside from that, there are a ton of ways. Some people buy plays; I’m not totally against it. If you have a serious hit record & wanna boost its visibility by buying fake plays? Fuck it, that shit works sometimes. I remember seeing a kit if artists come and go on the Instagram explore page, but Trippie Redd was the one that stuck because ‘Love Scars’ is a real hit record. If you don’t have a hit, neither of those tactics will work to your advantage. The music needs to be there first.
When we put out ‘White Iverson’ with Post Malone, we sent out the same exact press blast that I’d used hundreds of times. It reacted big-time for Post because the music was incredible.
I’m really not trying to sign artists, I’m trying to partner with entrepreneurs. Don’t ever chase after a label. Focus on your art, find a team to support you, make good music and the rest will fall into place.
300’s roster is limited in comparison to most of its competition. Does this make each signing hold more weight than usual?
Of course. If we sign you, we need to really believe in you. But at the same time, it’s also important to take risks in this business. You have to give the kids a shot. If they have a vision, run it. Some of our biggest investments can turn out to not have as much success as we had hoped for.
Nobody is a genius, no one can tell you what’s going to happen. Sometimes you hate a song, then you go to the club and see the reaction. I realize my ear is going to be wrong sometimes, and that’s so important to acknowledge because if you can recognize your mistakes early, there’s still room to build.
At the end of the day, it’s about having a vision, whatever that is. If the artist and I have a vision, and we can get it through to people in this building, we’re gonna give you a shot.
What’s more impressive: massive numbers online, or a small genuine following?
Honestly I look at everything, because online views are also real-life interactions. Obviously ‘at the end of the day,’ you want someone with stage presence and charisma, but it’s art, so it’s hard to give you a straight-up answer.
There is no general formula or assembly line process I go through when evaluating talent; if they have numbers but aren’t a star or going to last a few albums, the numbers mean nothing. If they have no numbers and can be a career artist, it’s my job to figure out how to get the numbers going. Every artist has their own unique value proposition, and its my job to identify what that is for each specific artist.
Can you speak on your relationship with Famous Dex?
Dex is one of my closest friends and partners, I speak to him more than my parents. We are both Virgo; it’s a real brotherhood. A few years back, Dex had a song that was working in the clubs in Chicago. There was research behind it, there was a real movement. I was watching Dex for a while on SoundCloud and YouTube, and I understood he was moving, but when I heard him on the radio and saw him packing clubs is when I really understood what he has doing. Todd Moscowitz is an incredible mentor to me in general, especially with the process of signing Famous Dex.
The second I met Dex, I knew he was going to be a superstar. Because of Lyor I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people like Jay-Z, Kanye, Thugger and
When we first met, he looked me straight in the eyes and said “If you want to sign a rapper, go listen to Jay-Z and Nas. If you want to sign an entertainer, watch and listen to Dexter.”
How’d you come across OMB Peezy?
I was at an UnoTheActivist show when my boss called me, complaining about something I had said to one of our artist managers. He basically told me to stop fucking around and to go do something useful and find a fucking hit. He wanted me to stop worrying about people we were already in business with and go sign something new instead. That made me fall kinda hard on myself, and I ended up leaving the show at like 9 o’clock.
I went home and went on Twitter, and saw Naomi‘s article on The FADER called ‘The Future of Rap.’ I was like “Oh, this is the kid I saw on the web three days ago.” I listened to his voice and re-watched the ‘Lay Down’ video, but what really got me was when I went to Peezy‘s SoundCloud and heard ‘Interracial Relations.’ That song made me realize he was actually picking topics to rap about; it wasn’t just the “murder murder, kill kill” that we heard on ‘Lay Down.’ He’s really rapping, there’s substance, he has a point and he’s articulate.
When I found out that I already knew his management, it was a no-brainer. The jury is still out of course, but we really believe in Peezy as an artist. It’s not about a song, it’s about an artist. We’re working together to achieve his vision, and want to help pour gasoline on the fire rather than try to ignite it ourselves. Peezy is driving the car, we are next to him with the google maps.