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Young Sav
Highlighting Key People in Hip-Hop

Kendell “Young Sav” Freeman’s come up is every intern’s dream. He literally started from the bottom when it comes to his successful career. Because of his passion for music, he held internships at Payday Records and Razor Sharp Records while in high school. Afterwards, he met Theo Brown, the man who would change his life forever. After interning at TVT under Brown, he was brought over to Def Jam as an intern. From there, he landed a job at the label as the mixshow manager. Over the years, Sav has had the opportunity to work with a number of high profile artists including Jay-Z, Big Sean, Trinidad James and more. After 8 years, he’s recently been appointed Vice President of Maybach Music. His come up is real. Read on to find out more about Young Sav’s journey in the industry and how he plans to continue his reign. Take notes.

-Danitha Jones (@LifeLikeJones)

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What inspired you to pursue a career in the music industry?
I love music. Also, wanting to learn the ins and outs of the music business was important to me. When I was a kid, I can remember listening to the radio and hearing LL Cool J and A Tribe Called Quest and wondering ‘Okay, they put the record out but what was the process behind it.’ I see that these artists shoot videos but I know it didn’t happen overnight. How did it get on the network? How did the track get on the radio? That’s when I really decided to learn what the industry is really about.

You started out as an intern, what was that like?
It was a grind. I started when I was in high school. My brother hooked me up with an internship at Payday Records and Razor Sharp Records. After sometime, I met Theo Brown. He worked at TVT Records, which houses Lil Jon, Pitbull, Teedra Moss and a bunch of other great artists. I was constantly letting him know that I wanted to come down and talk to him about an internship. One day, he told me that his intern went back to school and needed me to start right then and there. It was either me saying I could do it or start right then. I decided to start right away. He explained what he did and gave me an assignment to contact stations. I had to call them up and make sure they had our record and also get feedback, tell them we needed them playing and supporting our records. I decided to pick up a phone and contact everybody on the list. I didn’t call once. I called 7, 8, 9 times until they picked up. I came up with different strategies on how to really get in touch with these people. I was grinding. It worked.

Grinding is all good but how important is execution?
Execution is everything. You can grind all day but if you can’t execute, what you’re working on will be for nothing. Sometimes, the hardest part is to execute because it’s so many moving parts. If you’re good at what you do and you stay on it, execution is going to happen.

How did you get to Def Jam?
I moved over there when Theo got a position. He said he could bring me over if I wanted to go. Def Jam for any executive is the place you want to be at some point in your career. That’s the house that Russell built. I started out interning but now, I wasn’t only doing what he wanted me to do, I started doing a bunch of different things. Like, I was doing radio but I also started learning the Internet game, especially with all of the bloggers coming up. I interned for another 4-5 months there. That internship turned into a temp position, which turned into an actual job. I spent the last 8 years of my career there. That experience will definitely help me in the next phase in my career.

Did you ever imagine being the VP of Maybach Music?
I really didn’t. I knew that I would have a come up one day because I work so hard. I was grinding for year so I knew I was going to come up someway, somehow. During my tenor at Def Jam, I created a remarkable relationship with Rick Ross. I’ve seen the growth in him. Now, he’s Maybach Music’s CEO. I helped him along the way and that’s something that he never forgot. I went on every promo tour with him. I showed him my worth ethic. He finally decided one day to say, “You know what? You put your grind in. I’ve watched you create your relationships. I’m going to give you an opportunity.” When he told me what it was, I was like “What?” I was flabbergasted but this is a remarkable opportunity. He’s putting me in a position to help run an empire, to help run his label. This is definitely a come up.

Sean “Pecas” Costner said you vision helped redefine the lifestyle approach to marketing and promotions. What’s unique about your approach?
That’s the homie. I’ve learned a lot from him over the past 8 years. My approach is unique because I look at it different. Some executives go to work and look at it as a 9-5, for me it’s not like that. I may come in at 11 am everyday but I don’t go back to my house sometimes til 6 am-7 am because I’m in the office all day. Then, I’ll go out in the streets and hit an industry event. Then, I’ll go to club to see what’s being played. After that, I might go to the studio and meet with the artists to help create their vision and help get that out to the world. For me, my approach is 24 hours of the day. It don’t stop. That’s the only way you’re going to win. That’s what I’ve done for years.

What’s your advice to interns?
While you’re doing that, you should have one ear open to what’s going on in the office. That’s the way you learn.

What are your plans for Maybach Music?
To help execute Rozay’s and Pucci’s visions. To help them, to help the new artists like Rockie Freh, Stalley,Scream, Gunplay, Bay Bay and continue to brand and keep Wale, Meek Mill and Rick Ross moving. My goal is just to keep these artists moving. We have a bunch of other people that we’re looking at to help make the empire bigger. It doesn’t stop here. It’s all about expansion.

Follow Young Sav on Twitter: @YoungSavv

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