Fresh off of an impressive run as Def Jam’s Executive VP of A&R, serving as the Executive Producer of BIG K.R.I.T.’s Live from the Underground and signing 2 Chainz, 2012 was full of moves for Sha Money. What else could we expect from this business minded individual who conducts his ventures like a composer, making all the hard work look effortless. It’s a new year with new plans and there is more left to conquer in the hip hop landscape. Sha Money XL is a heavyweight behind the scenes with an ample resume that speaks for itself. With so much on his plate, Sha Money XL took out some time to sit with us and talk about his new ventures within the game today.
You paved a lane with Money Management Group, what’s changed since then?
In G-Unit days, the 1st album sold 15, second sold 10, G-Unit sold 5, Banks sold 3, Buck sold 2, Game sold 5. There’s no record selling like that period. Nobody is selling even 5 Million, the whole landscape is different. The sales numbers are different and we’re talking about a time when internet was pretty much new too. Followers and twitter, it doesn’t really translate to me because it feels like you get to them faster but it’s not like more people are buying. It’s kind of weird it’s like the bedrock way actually works better. For me it’s a testament of history, I still respect vinyl so people just really respect the old style and how this music business was created. This digital age is something we got to catch up to and figure out, but I think its a way different game now.
In your opinion, what are the cons regarding the different methods new artists use to promote themselves?
There’s no groundwork. People say they’re grinding but they’re uploading. You know what I mean? They call grind some computer time, how much time you upload and get stuff out to the net instead of hand to hand physical combat, being at the venues, the promo CDs which are physical CDs not just sending someone a link. So it’s the grind hours, there’s not enough sweat equity where people put grind hours into the game and got to really pay those kind of dues they can pretty much sit there and throw a video up and see what the reaction is. It’s less intimate as far as hands on, you’re losing them like that. You have to be out there and be social, be in the shows, at the venues, be in the mix.
How do you think that affects the culture as a whole outside of music?
It affects the culture in so many different ways. Kids have computers, they have video games and all this access and they be like “I’m bored, I’m bored.” Back in the day, you could learn how to use some bottle caps and chalk and play Skelly. It’s like we have to have tutorials of how to stay up with the new age but keep the old things involved in a new way, there’s nothing wrong with that because we are tapping out of that. We’re trying to create something new because it’s a digital age but are we going to do talk through pictures? For me, I’m really about taking it back to the essence. Whether I got to teach that through content, speak more and be verbal on camera, and everywhere I go to let that light bulb go off and know that we got to keep the essence. We got to remember what we used to do to make fun with no money or how we got hot where we were affiliated and you got those co-signs, you still need all of that.
Tell us about the deal with Slowbucks.
Slowbucks entered a 50/50 venture with Ecko Unlimited. They’re in stores now all across the U.S. in over 200 doors, the distribution is crazy, seasons are starting to sell out now, I would love to go in further. This is something that started independently so it’s a real good success story.
What do you see in your sights for the brand?
I’ll say this. I’m behind the scenes handling the business and we have brand ambassadors such as Juelz and the owners Slow and Bucks. My whole vision is that you got to keep up. We’re moving, we’re young hungry brothers from the hood coming up in this world and in corporate America climbing up that success ladder. This culture is young, it’s a new and great generation – more peaceful less violent. Kids are skateboarding to school right now and it’s ok. It’s a combination of hood and non-hood and this brand is at the forefront of New York’s lifestyle.
How has enlisting Juelz Santana influenced the team?
Juelz is a professional. So much to learn from just watching him. He’s one of my favorite rappers, period. In New York City we love that Dipset movement, but him as his own individual you see his swag, he’s very fashionable and something to follow. With the guys coming up they caught a glimpse in the studio aspect, how he gets down on the road, they were able to see a professional. The best way to learn is by watching, paying attention and learning from history.
Are there any new ventures we can expect to see from Sha Money?
Absolutely. We’re entering a new age, everybody be calm but its about time to be epic. I’m getting ready to head to a new building taking my team and my talents over to L.A. Reid and Sony, getting ready to start that. I’m looking forward to it, it’s about to get turnt up you’re going to see us everywhere as always. I’m going to open the door and get in this game. I feel like a lot of people are not signing new talent and letting them in so I want to open more doors from all aspects in hip hop. I’m a hip hop dude, people send me pop lately, it’s cool I’ll check it out but this is what I do, I do rap.
Virgilio Mendez (@REGULARGUYV)