(AllHipHop Features) Any true Hip Hop buff who was deep into the culture at the turn of the 2010s decade will tell you that there was just as much anticipation for free mixtapes as there was for commercial studio LPs. For example, Lil Wayne‘s Sorry 4 the Wait shook the internet when it hit the world wide web in 2011.
Tapes such as S4TW were not made available on iTunes - the most popular music digital store at the time - so fans needed another outlet to download Weezy’s pre-Tha Carter IV project. Thankfully, that same year saw the arrival of a new rap-focused application.
My Mixtapez has since sealed its place in Hip Hop history. The app exclusively launched highly-anticipated projects such as Wayne’s Sorry 4 the Wait 2 as well as Meek Mill’s Meekend Music and Meekend Music 2. Mixtapes by Future, Kevin Gates, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Moneybagg Yo, YFN Lucci, and numerous other rappers contributed to the over 100 million downloads on the platform.
After running a cellphone store owned by their parents, Danny, Ricky, and Juan Carlos Dueñas founded My Mixtapez in 2011 with no outside funding. My Mixtapez now also manages the King Stays King (KSK) label which is home to Project Youngin, eLVy The God, Carmen Mena, and Y&R Mookey. In addition, the Dueñas brothers have also consulted for Atlantic Records, Think It’s A Game Records, Quality Control Music, and 300 Entertainment.
On December 13, My Mixtapez is expanding its brand by hosting the inaugural Most Wanted Festival. Megan Thee Stallion, Moneybagg Yo, Boosie Badazz, Polo G, NoCap, and Black Fortune are among the names that are part of the Dallas-set line-up. Find out more about the Most Wanted Festival and the My Mixtapez execs in this exclusive interview with AllHipHop.
AllHipHop: Why did you decide to put together a festival now?
Ricky Dueñas: We’ve always been involved in live shows but at a smaller capacity. For the past six years, we’ve hosted our own stage and put on amazing shows with the biggest acts at SXSW and A3C Festival. It was a no brainer when AEG approached us for a potential partnership. Our biggest goal has always been to break artists and elevate them to the next level. Having an annual festival gives us another platform to offer artists that will help them take that next step into stardom.
AllHipHop: Why was Dallas selected as the site for the festival?
Ricky Dueñas: We were able to use My Mixtapez’s analytics to see where our users stream from and Dallas was among the top five cities. We also have a huge turnout at our SXSW stage every year so Texas is a great market for us.
AllHipHop: What was the process for choosing which acts will perform?
Ricky Dueñas: For any of our shows, the process always starts by looking at the app and seeing what artists are trending. By going through some of the analytics and doing some quick polls on our social media platforms, we were able to see Megan Thee Stallion’s growth early on and how important she is to Hip Hop right now. Each of the acts on the lineup are largely based on who’s trending on the app.
AllHipHop: How has My Mixtapez navigated in the Hip Hop space as the industry transitioned from the Blog Era to the Streaming Era?
Danny Dueñas: We actually started in the streaming era. My Mixtapez was one of the first mobile apps to start streaming services.
AllHipHop: Are there any particular exclusive My Mixtapez releases over the years that stand out for you?
Danny Dueñas: For me, it’s Lil Wayne’s No Ceilings 2. He was one of my favorite artists growing up. I went from selling his CDs in high school to premiering one of his mixtapes on the app, which was huge for me.
AllHipHop: What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of being part of Hip Hop culture for the last eight years?
Danny Dueñas: The most challenging was coming into the industry with no mentors. The most rewarding has been taking what I’ve learned throughout the years to mentor artists, independent labels, managers, and others in the industry.
AllHipHop: What’s next for My Mixtapez and King Stays King label?
Danny Dueñas: We hope to expand on the technology side of My Mixtapez and find new ways to create revenue streams for artists. The King Stays King label will continue to find untapped raw music talent in markets that aren’t common. We always look at cities that don’t give artists access to A&R teams or where they don’t have a platform to showcase their talent.