Introducing the new indie label out of Miami, Florida: Grateful Records. With Six artists on the label — Kvon (also the President), Nolo Proud, Malik Davage, Mulan Vuitton, Quinn, and KT — the group of individuals all started out as students at the Institute of Technology Miami studying music and sound audio engineering.
With a background and education in music, the si artists came together three years ago after realizing the uniqueness and diversity in their sounds. Everyone part of Grateful is hard-working, and creative, with everything done in-house. With their own photographers, videographers, producers, and mix engineers, everything carries a family vibe.
The logo of Grateful Records is reminiscent of the mafia, because that’s how they move. A group of guys who came up from the mud, off the muscle created a castle. When they walk in the room, you’ll feel their presence. From the classiness in the way they dress to the fire music they have in the vault, the artists can’t wait to unleash their forthcoming compilation album. The project is meant to tell the story behind the mafia, describing their lifestyles behind-the-scenes and the reality of being a part of the Grateful mafia.
AllHipHop caught up with the President of the label, Kvon, and their latest signee, Nolo, the latter of whom just released his new single titled “On Yah” featuring Malik and Kvon. The crew recently celebrated with a release party in Atlanta.
AllHipHop: Nolo, where are you from & how’d you get your start in all this?
Nolo: I’m from Florida, Broward County to be exact. I got my start in music at the young age of 11, being obsessed with it. When I finally got to college (SAE), that’s when I met up with everyone else who had a similar drive to mine. From then on I was working as a writer, writing music for other artists. I signed with Grateful and it’s been a lit time since then.
AllHipHop: What sets your guy’s music apart from the rest?
Nolo: The uniqueness in it. What we have going on right now is very diverse. It’s almost hard to put a label on the genre.
Kvon: It transcends, everything‘s done in-house so all our music goes through a pipeline. We have specific people in place to do specific things and specific jobs. Because of that, every sound we make goes through certain hands. When it reaches the end of the tunnel, it’s something you can’t get anywhere else.
Nolo: A masterpiece.
AllHipHop: How many hands does it go through?
Kvon: It depends on the project and what we’re working on. It can go through 2 or 3 hands but everything’s in-house. It goes through our hands, that’s what makes it unique. In order to even come close to the sound we’re pumping out, you’d have to get inside the family somehow,
AllHipHop: Talk about being independent, and the grind behind starting your own label.
Kvon: There’s always going to be ups and downs. We made sure we covered that in the compilation coming up. A lot of the songs are about that. Some are love stories, some are about conflicts within our group. Brother stuff, real close family stuff, it’s a part of coming up and running a label. We’re a family, so the typical issues arise. Sometimes it’s even worse because it’s business. Not everyone can do it, that’s why we remind you of a mafia. We move as a family and we handle business.
AllHipHop: How tight-knit it are you guys?
Kvon: Very tight-knit. [laughs] You’ll see in the compilation and behind-the-scenes how tight we are.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from the “On Yah” music video?
Nolo: A good show. The video quality is impeccable. The story behind a video is a tale of betrayal and business. You’re going to see what happens in that world, how quick things can turn.
Kvon: It involves women and temptation. Plugs new opportunities, big opportunities. Those are the characters of all this.
AllHipHop: Kvon, talk about being both the president and an artist yourself?
Kvon: Sometimes it gets rough but for the most part, I get the best of both worlds. As an artist, my music is more on a lyrical tip. My sound appeals to the new generation, but still holds that traditional hip-hop value. Me being an artist and creative allows me to relate a little more to all the artists. I see the business aspect, I have to buckle down and handle business when it comes time to do that. But I also understand an artist’s perspective better than my colleagues. It’s an interesting dynamic. It gets rough when I have to make certain decisions or tough calls, but I handle it well. That’s why it’s working.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourselves at this point?
Kvon: We’re trying to flood the industry, make sure everyone across the whole globe knows who Grateful Records is. We’re hitting billboards hard this year and next year, from every angle. To maintain and stay true to the Grateful sound, and the Grateful model which is CQC. Consistent, quality, content. We want to push out as much content as possible, but we want to maintain quality and consistency.
Nolo: To really explore the realm of music and frequency. I really want to get more into myself as an artist, because you can better yourself every day. Make sure the family eats, that’s the most important. Be the best that I can be, achieve the greatest I can achieve as long as it can feed the pipeline.
AllHipHop: Who’s in your Top 5?
Kvon: Eminem, André 3000, Lil Wayne, J. Cole, DMX.
Nolo: That’s so hard. Andre 3000 because he’s the goat. Lil Wayne, old school Kanye West (classic Kanye), J.Cole, Drake. Smino has my attention right now too.
AllHipHop: What’s one thing fans may not know about you?
Nolo: I’m very active. I’m really into martial arts. I love anything exhilarating that involves adrenaline.
AllHipHop: How long have you been doing martial arts?
Nolo: Since I was 18, I was into dojo. Before that, I was teaching myself. I never had the funds for it until I was 18. I wanted to do tournaments around the world because they have these underground matches. I wanted to do stuff in movies, like Michael Jai White.
AllHipHop: Why are you throwing the release party in Atlanta, and not your hometown in Florida?
Kvon: We want Atlanta to be the first place to have it because Atlanta’s popping right now. The song caters to that kind of sound. It’s a club banger, something you could bang in the whip. The video is going to turn it into something you could bang anywhere. We want to give it to Atlanta, get that love. We have a lot of pull in Atlanta, we know a lot of people out there. Everyone’s been showing lot of love.
AllHipHop: How’s your hometown fanbase compared to elsewhere?
Kvon: Our hometown fanbase is crazy. We get love all over the place. By the end of the year, we’ll have the city on lock.
Nolo: They show love in my city. Broward County shows mad love when I’m there. Always show out to events, no matter what it is. A lot of the times people don’t get that, especially where we’re from.
Kvon: Because it’s so many people coming up. Atlanta’s different, everyone shows love out there. Miami and South West Florida is a little…
Nolo: Everyone is to their clique.
AllHipHop: Kodak’s from Broward right?
Nolo: Yes. Kodak, XXX, Jackboy. I knew XXX too.
AllHipHop: What was your relationship with XXX?
Nolo: That was my dawg. He and I would get into fades with n*ggas after school. He was a big hothead. He dropped out because he said “I’ma be a rapper bruh.” He really dropped out and boom, did his thing.
AllHipHop: What was it like seeing his career skyrocket!?
Nolo: That was amazing. For me, I like to see the pipeline eat. Whenever people I f### with make it, it makes me feel happy. It gives me inspiration because we’re here together.