Throughout the Hip-Hop realm, there are a growing number of artists trying to purposely remain independent. This phenomenon of the last five to 10 years has increased the need for independent labels to exist solely to accommodate these artists. However, there are a lot of misunderstandings about how easy it is to start and successfully run such a label.
AllHipHop.com sat down with a brand new label put together by a guy who is anything but brand new to the underground/independent Hip-Hop scene. Whether it's through his own blog - run with writing partner OC Supreme - or the writing and reviews he has done with various music publications, or his efforts with releasing mixtapes for several independent acts, Throat Chop U has proven that his ability for discerning what's pleasing to the eardrums is not just a fluke, it's a talent. Check out AllHipHop.com's interview with The Mad Blogger's and Throat Chop Music's own Throat Chop U:
AllHipHop.com: There seem to be a lot of myths about what it takes to start a new, independent label. How did you decide to put together a record label in the first place?
Throat Chop U: As cliche as it sounds, music is in my blood, flows through my veins. Besides the fact that I can't rap, sing or produce, I'm a trusted ally within many circles, because I'm not a yes man but rather or the critical ear as they say. If you ask me to listen and it's wack, I'll be like "nah n*gga, try again" [laughter]. Folks have come to respect that. In addition to being a music blogger and co-founder of TheMadBloggers.com, I’ve done some A&R work for a few independent artists, and through my site presented a ton of projects, many of which I was actively involved with, from artwork, to the PR and then final product. So, for me, the label was the next logical step. It’s hard work but like many things in my life, I just took the leap of faith.
AllHipHop.com: How many artists would you like to have on Throat Chop Records?
Throat Chop U: Less is more. Well, in most cases [laughter]. Remember when Jerry
McGuire wrote that mission statement, and he was like, "The secret to this job is personal relationships"? I didn't have any bad pizza last night, but that statement resonates with me. I wanna keep my roster manageable. Right now, it's Top $ Raz and longtime collaborator BLAX
on board, with a few guys waiting in the wings. We talk a lot during the week via e-mail, text or on the phone. That's important. Plus, quality over quantity is key to me. So, for now, no more than four or five.
AllHipHop.com: Are you actively seeking out artists at this time, or are you doing it a bit slower?
Throat Chop U: Slower. I'm always watching. I’m always listening. But I'm not actively seeking. It's like logging on to match.com to see if folks are out there, but you're not really trying to date anyone ... yet [laughter]. Like I mentioned, less is more and I don't want to overextend myself. Where I'm at is perfect, but if someone else comes along and it's a good fit, it would be hard for me to turn it down if it makes sense for that person and I, especially if it’s a talented female MC. Every label needs a first lady [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: Indeed, OK so what made you decide on Top $ Raz as your first signed artist?
Throat Chop U: Basically, it was my Suge Knight meets "Big Red" from The Five Heartbeats moment. Well, less all the shadiness, of course [laughter]. Raz didn't want an executive producer all up in his videos or all on his records, and besides my Diddy-bop is pretty damn rusty. I've known Raz for a while, too, and I'm truly a fan of his music. Even though our first conversation was an argument, our relationship has definitely grown. While working on his new project, he sent me a sneak peek of his track, "Race". It was around the same time I had made the decision that I wanted to do the label thing. Something about that track really hit me, and I wanted to be a part of his Reign on the Parade album. So, I reached out and things just came together organically. We have a great chemistry and a common vision. He's Throat Chop Music's Kevin Durant [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: [Laughter] I'll refrain from asking about backpacks! Alright, tell us, what will you use as a benchmark for success? How will you personally know if this has worked out for you?
Throat Chop U: Obviously, this is a numbers game, so I’ll keep my eye on that, but really, I want Throat Chop Music to become a destination for quality music by building our brand. We're doing that. In a year, I’ll probably have a better idea if this leap of faith worked out for me, for better or worse, if we're all still standing. And I mean all, considering the Mayan calendar and December 21 being around the corner [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: Wow, I have plans on the 22nd of December, so hopefully that will all work out OK! [Laughter] But seriously, in that same vein, what advice would you give to others hoping to start their own labels?
Throat Chop U: Be smart. Be selective. Be real. And whoever you get to represent the
label shouldn't be looking for a handout and actually down to do work and be actively involved, from promo to quality control. It's a team effort, and that's why this works for my team and me.
AllHipHop.com: Can you give me five words to describe the spirit of Throat Chop Records?
Throat Chop U: Oh, curve ball question. Uhhh ... A-Team meets Hip-Hop. Yes, we're soldiers of fortune. Yes, I'm Hannibal Smith [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: Truly didn't see the A-Team reference coming! [laughter] What's the next thing on the horizon for Throat Chop U?
Throat Chop U: What's next? Besides taking over the world, buying a yacht and figuring out if KFC or Popeye's chicken is better? Developing this label, pushing my folks, and delivering quality music. Raz has a few videos on deck. And we're wrapping up BLAX's Throat Chop debut, Everyday, which I believe is his best work to date. Really, a lot of cool stuff coming up, and if I were Birdman, I’d be doing the Birdman hand rub right now [laughter].
AllHipHop.com: Can you please tell the readers how to keep up with you?
Throat Chop U: Hit me on the skytel pager. Or if that doesn’t work for you, @ThroatChopU on Twitter.