Who can you trust, when love is not enough? – “Four 20”
Meeting with label suitors, management teams, DJs, publicist, photographers and other various players in the entertainment industry on a daily basis can get redundant, especially when you have been doing it for as long as I have. The fake daps and the “call my phone my brother” from people who never answer their phones’ is enough to drive a sane person over the edge, but I’ve come to learn, that it’s part of playing the game. Now with every major record company courting me, people are offering advice on how to play the game. The thing is I stopped playing the game a long time ago.
I’m still in the street everyday, and the main parallel between the street and the entertainment industry is that it’s extremely rare to meet someone that you can trust. My faith in people is almost nonexistent and I’ve come to realize that’s not a bad thing.
I’ve always found a way to get a check out of helping other artist get their career on track, but eventually I grew tired of giving other’s the recipe and decided it was time to solely focus on SPOT. It’s a common misconception that Jimmy Henchmen funded my career early on. While he certainly played a major role in introducing me to the entertainment industry, and gave me a lot of priceless advice over the years, SPOT has spearheaded the SPOT campaign since the beginning. All those trips, studio sessions, photo shoots, events, tens of thousands of CDs being pressed up etc all came out of my pocket. When I dropped my 1st mixtapes I wasn’t yet savvy enough to deal with the sharks in those corner offices so I had Jimmy handle all of my meetings when the majors came calling. At the time (06-07) Jimmy was busy with various Hollywood ventures, so he had members of his management team take the meetings on our behalf. In retrospect, that was a big mistake.
A member of Czar’s management team took a meeting with the President of Atlantic Records on my behalf and completely sabotaged a pretty good situation. With less than glowing endorsements (“SPOT isn’t ready yet” “he’s still in the street”, “he doesn’t listen to anyone”, “he needs time to mature”) coming from the mouth of my management to a major label could not have helped my chances. The thing was, the exec on my team had an artist that he was pushing at that time and decided to turn my meeting into a pitch for his artist. The artist was subsequently signed to Capitol Records, but was dropped a few weeks into his deal and was murdered shortly thereafter. Now, years later, a few of the Czar execs that attempted to sabotage my progress are now cooperating witnesses against Jimmy in his federal conspiracy case. Now isn’t that some shit?
After hearing about similar sabotage from a different people at a few majors, I decided to fall back on letting them handle my business. I began handling everything myself. I took my girlfriend, Tay, with me as I met with an upper level executive at Sony, who informed me that he previously met with a friend of mine (unbeknownst to me) who informed him that I was only interested in signing to Interscope. Tay and I looked at each other with like “wtf?”
Soon after I met with Warner and they seemed really excited to do a deal with me. The 2nd time we met, he had dinner and I met most of the staff. On the day that Tay graduated from Howard University, an exec from Warner called her cell phone to congratulate her and to have her to encourage me to stay out of trouble until we completed the deal. Before we could finish the deal there was a staff overhaul and most of the executive staff was let go. The executive stopped returning phone calls and faded to Bolivia in the words of Mike Tyson.
Last year, I decided to make music again, and spent the year getting comfortable in the studio, building my sound and working with new artist and producers. This year I dropped a mixtape with DJ Drama (The Price Iz Right) , started killing stages across the country and once again all of the majors started calling. As this was going on, I had a few “friends” call my phone while allowing the feds to secretly tape our conversations. Thankfully there was nothing incriminating said but all I can think is what if there was? How can you watch me put so much time into my dream and try to destroy my life? How selfish can a person be? Who can you trust?
Trust is a luxury that I cannot afford. People are selfish, envious and insecure and those three traits lead to jealousy. The sense of entitlement in some people have defies logic. When you are a go-getter you quickly grow frustrated with slackers. I only work with people that I can trust at this point. We do everything in-house and my fan base seems to appreciate the DIY nature of our movement. I turn down features all of the time because I only want to work with people that I like. It’s a not an easy road, but I’m doing exactly what I want to do with minimal outside interference.
I give people very little room for error now. I don’t bad mouth anyone; I just cut them off once I see chinks in their armor. I avoid dealing with suckers. As the houses get bigger, the circle gets smaller. I understand how some artist become reclusive now. I will NOT let the pressure from the big wigs have me go awol on some Dave Chappelle shit, I’m just going to keep my career in my hands all the way thru by only dealing with the people that I choose to. I’m no angel, but I have never betrayed the trust of a friend. And I certainly can’t betray my own trust. Everyone you meet should have to earn your trust. Trust comes with time. It’s hard to trust people. It’s much easier to trust your instincts.