What aspects of companies teaming up with artists to sell products have changed since you started?

 

When I started in this business, it was very early on. I worked with a couple guys. I worked with Beyoncé, Jay, 50 Cent, Pharrell. Beyonce and Puffy. They’re very discerning. They don’t do anything that didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do and that was cool.

 

When I started in this business, it was very early on. I worked with a couple guys. I worked with Beyoncé, Jay, 50 Cent, Pharrell. Beyonce and Puffy. They’re very discerning. They don’t do anything that didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do and that was cool.

I think the music business has hit the reset button. I think now, for the first time ever, it’s hit rock bottom and you’re going to start seeing the business go up again—artists, managers, record companies, and even brands started saying, “You know what? I don’t have to get the best and the brightest to create an authentic relationship, I just want to be next to them so their cool rubs off on me, and I’m fine.”

Artists were just like, “What can I do to get some extra money to pay for my video? Who can I get to pay for a piece of my tour? How can I get extra income by being involved with a corporation that’s gonna put me on television and get people to know me more?”

And when that aspect of the business started to become popular in the last five years, I kind of pulled back from doing artist deals because they just started feeling wack. The last big artist deal I did that I’m proud of was Lady Gaga and Mac. That made sense. And that was three years ago and still feels perfect.

So you haven’t done an artist deal in three years?

Well, I did some sports stuff. I did some stuff with LeBron and State Farm and LeBron and McDonald’s. I did some of that kind of stuff. But I moved away from some of the artist deals because it just started becoming, “I’ll just take the money,” and brands was starting to do it with them. I’m not an agent, I’m a brand architect. Agents do deals that take money, get 10%, and go, The outcome is what the outcome is. I’ve never subscribed to that.

You don’t want your name on a wack commercial...

I don’t want my name involved with wack relationships. If the commercial doesn’t come out great, for whatever reasons, that’s fine. The art is not necessarily going to come out the way you want it to be all of the time. But when a relationship looks forced and it doesn’t capture the moment and isn’t honest, I don’t want to be associated with any of that. Ever.

Have you ever seen the Memphis Bleek shampoo commercial?

I heard about that. It came out years ago. I like Bleek, so I don’t want to get into that.

Are there any commercials you did where you’re like, “Damn, I wish that would’ve come out better.”

 

I kind of pulled back from doing artist deals because they just started feeling wack. The last big artist deal I did that I’m proud of was Lady Gaga and Mac. That made sense. And that was three years ago and still feels perfect.

 

I did some spots for Chevy. We did a spot where I put T.I. and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a spot together. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was driving the Impala and T.I. was driving his race car but you didn’t know that until the end when they got out of the cars.

I felt like I could have done a better job on that spot of capturing Dale Earnhardt, Jr. driving through the area—he was driving through an area that didn’t feel like Atlanta.

It would’ve rocked more like T.I.’s pushing that Impala, so when he got out the car you would have been like, “Shit, Dale Earnhardt was driving through that area, doing that run?” But I didn’t capture the run right so it didn’t come across right. Little things like that.

Do companies ever come back and blame you when artists you’ve brought to them, such as T.I. and Chris Brown, have legal issues after a campaign?

The companies always come back to me. I’ve been involved in a couple big ones like that. Like Justin Timberlake, who’s a class act, and what he went through with Janet. It just doesn’t come back right. It could be perfect and it just doesn’t come back. T.I. with the guns, or Chris Brown with the shit with Rihanna when he did Wrigley’s.

I mean, when you are a brand architect­—how would you know? Human error or circumstances, you can’t predict those. You’ve just got to be responsible in the way you handle them.

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