YG is looking to take his 4Hunnid Records imprint to the next level after inking a multi-million dollar joint venture with Interscope Records.
The 26-year old Compton native, born Keenon Jackson, told Billboard that he and his label’s president, Brandon Moore, felt comfortable hammering out the deal with Joie Manda, the president of urban music at Interscope Geffen A&M, because of their previous relationship.
Manda was an executive at Def Jam Records when YG released his debut album “My Krazy Life” in 2014. The rapper says Manda was a big supporter of his from the beginning.
“After the album came out and had its success, Joie was really behind our whole movement and everything we had going on,” YG told Billboard. “[Joie] knew what I did, who I had something to do with. With the album being a classic, [DJ] Mustard popping off, Ty [Dolla $ign] popping off ’cause we all from the same camp, he felt like I could have my own label and do the same things that we did for ourselves and other artists.” Manda adds, “I’ve gotten to know YG and his team over the past few years and have full belief in their vision to build a label that moves the culture.”
4Hunnid Records President Brandon Moore, Interscope President Of Urban Music Joie Manda, 4Hunnid Records CEO YG and Interscope CEO John Janick
YG spoke to Billboard in detail about how the deal came about, his vision for the label, the kind of artist’s he’s looking for and more.
What do you think Joie saw in you as a potential label boss?
Joie just knew about my success [and 4Hunnid’s] success story. He knew all the people that was moving with me. He brought Sickamore up under him and you know Sick is a whole part of my situation so he just seen that it’s not too many people from the streets that made it out the West Coast — the new West Coast. He saw that we knew what to do like attack the Internet and the streets, make hit records, touring — we was covering all bases. There’s a lot of artists that don’t really know everything about the music business like they’re all just scrapping through to get on but Joie knew we knew that because we did it for ourselves. It’s just the whole camp — me, Ty and Mustard — really was homies before everybody had their success. Just three motherf–kers who popped off and became successful from nothing — that’s big.
What’s the significance of the 4Hunnid name?
I mean it’s something I’ve just been pushing since I started rapping. I been yelling out “4hunnid.” That’s just like my lucky number. There’s so many ways to get rich and it means “forever one hunnid.” That’s something we real big on — just being real, authentic, being yourself, not letting this lifestyle change you. That’s something we’ve been real good at.
Who are some of the signees you have now? I’ve heard Sad Boy was in the mix.
We ain’t really got none of that locked in yet but we working on it. We got a couple of artists we looking at and trying to figure it out. With Sad Boy, I was trying to bridge the situation between Spanish and blacks [on the song “Blacks & Browns”] and the relationship that we got. I wanted to put out the positive side like, ‘We f*ck with Hispanics.’ We grow up with them, we share the same culture basically.
Do you envision 4Hunnid Records being a predominantly West Coast roster?
Starting off, we for sure gonna have West Coast artists because we’re West Coast-based label. Before the world believes in you, you gon’ have to pop some sh!t off from your section and your culture. Then when that happens, we gon’ be able to go get who we want from where ever and see where they from but I’m really trying to pop off someone from my side first.
What would you say your day-to-day duties are?
I’m the CEO and creative director so my sh!t I do on a daily basis is I get on n!ggas’ bumpers about sh!t. [Laughs] I get on everybody a$$ like I just oversee everybody’s marketing plan, rollout plan, the goals we trying to accomplish, the touring, all that type of sh!t. I’m making sure it happen in a timely fashion and I’m doing my thing as an artist.
What do you think is the key difference between 4Hunnid Records and other artist-owned labels?
We different. We 4Hunnid, you know. We like red. [Laughs] We from the West Coast. Like I don’t think nobody could get it how we tryna do it on the West Coast. Ain’t nobody did especially in artist relations. We ain’t f*ckin with you if we feel like you can’t be around for 20-plus years. It’s a lotta other artist-owned labels who want artists with hot singles like for right now and that’s cool because that’s the easy money but we getting brands. We teach artists how to build brand and be businessmen and business ladies. It’s just bigger than being an artist and putting out an album. I know there’s a lot of motherf*ckers who ain’t taking the time out to spend with their peoples and break sh!t down from the bottom with them about all of this type of sh!t. In the record business, if you sign an artist that don’t really know too much about the business, you can really get over on them in a lot of different ways so it’s a lot of people that don’t give artist the game because they’re trying to make the most money in the fastest way off their artists. They ain’t trying to be business partners with their artists. We bring that to the table.
How do you go about looking for artists?
It all starts with the music. I got homies that’s trying to be artists so we do certain things with the homies ‘cause that’s how we rock — from the ground up. I put my people in situations like if that work out, that work out but we out looking for superstars so it all start with the music. You gotta have the music and then you gotta have potential star power. Then you gotta represent something different that YG don’t represent because we all can’t be doing the exact same sh!t.
What do you hope your label represents?
It’s real family-oriented. We giving our people opportunities to be something. We not just pulling a regular homie that don’t know nothing about music or don’t got no potential to be successful in the music industry. We not bringing ’em along and giving them job titles like, ‘Here, bro, you gon’ run this.’ It’s certain people that’s been around since we came in the game. They been around from that time doing certain little things, watching how we move, watching how we do things and they learned so we bringing them along with us. We about the people so we’re trying to uplift one another ‘cause that’s really how you gon’ have some real sh!t. We trying to do it like we on some Roc-A-Fella sh!t.