Highlighting Key People in Hip-Hop

The business of music can get messy. This is why it always helps for an artist to have a solid team in tow. In 2011, alongside his partner V, Manuel “Debo” Reynoso formed their management company, DC 1135. Though the company is fairly new, Debo and their main client, Washington, DC’s Fat Trel, have known each other since 2004. They met when Debo was still pursuing a career as a rapper. While growing up in Harlem, New York, he shadowed his older cousins who were in a rap group. As he watched them maneuver through their career, he took an interest in writing rhymes and building his craft. For years, he worked towards a career as an artist but after moving to DC, he soon realized the audience there would be hard to win over with his New York sound. With Fat Trel’s previous management falling through, Debo‘s business side kicked in. Now, in this new role, his mind is locked on one thing: Winning. Here Debo goes through his duties as a manager and give some great advice. Take notes.

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What sparked your interest in pursuing management?
I actually started out rapping but once I moved to DC, I saw that they don’t really take to someone rapping that’s not from DC so I fell back. I met Fat Trel after dealing with some mutual acquaintances. Everything I wanted in my career, I saw lacking in his so I decided to help him out. With my connections, we pushed forward.

Which qualities drew you into Fat Trel as an artist?
The realness of his raps is what got me. He talks about the life he lives and the things he goes through. The fact that I’m from Harlem and he’s from DC yet I can still relate to his music speaks volumes. Then, the aggression in his delivery and his ability at story telling, it all makes him a good artist. I think that’s what all managers should be looking for: someone authentic with something to say.


How did you guys formulate a game plan when it comes to gaining exposure?
During the time I was rapping, I was dealing with the managers that were club promoters. In DC, the club is where people can get their face out there. So being that I already had that buzz at the club and on the radio, I transferred everything over to Fat Trel. He has good product that’s easy for me to push to the people.

He’s featured on a lot of tracks. How do you guys select features?
I’ll listen to a song first and see if he should be on it. So far, the people we’ve featured had some decent music. I’ll have him listen to it, he vibes out. If he likes it, then we’ll make it happen. So far, the biggest feature would be Master P. It was a fairly easy and quick process because once Trel goes in the studio he goes to work.

Working with Fat Trel, what’s your biggest accomplishment thus far?
The nationwide Smokers Club Tour with Juicy J, Tabi Bonney “Time of Her Life” featuring Fat Trel, which made it to MTV Jams, hooking up with Master P & ALLEYBOY to form Louie V Mob and getting recognition from magazines.

What advice do you have for other managers?

I advise that you take the time to know the product you’re pushing. Next, just stay on top of everything. You have to keep your relationships open. Never burn any bridges. You never know who you’ll run into and if they might be beneficial in expanding your career.

What’s next for you?

My main focus is taking Fat Trel to that next level. I haven’t taken on any new artist but I’m always consulting some here and there. I’m also working on DC 1135 with my partner V. He’s hands on with the Slutty Boyz. We’re over here working.

Follow Debo on Twitter @Debo155
-Danitha (@LifeLikeJones)

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