Admit it: We all like an underdog story.
Yes you do!
Let’s see: 50 Cent being shot nine times and later becoming a successful rapper and businessman, Jeremy Lin—an Asian American point guard kicking butt as a Knick and later signing a huge deal with the Houston Rockets. Then of course there’s both Jay-Z and Master P pushing mixtapes in the pre-digital era to build their brands.
Yup you like those stories. With that said, here’s another group of players in the game that you should pay attention to: SMH Records. A Charlotte, North Carolina-area based record company; SMH Records is gaining attention. Led by founders Mike Smith and Jonathan Hay, the record label is distributed though Caroline.
Both bring a unique body of work to the table. Smith, comes from the medical and software field and Hay a media pundit has been involved in the center of scandals in the past involving the Kardashian’s, Rihanna, Ariel Winter of ABC’s Modern Family, Days of the New, and the New York Jets’ Chris Johnson.
SMH Records first raised eyebrows within the industry when they appeared online claiming to have raised $30 million in capital. Their company appeared to come out of nowhere, with no previous mention to be found anywhere online. It was reported on HipHopDX that Mike Smith and Jonathan Hay made an offer of $15 million to Jay-Z to produce an entire album. Neither Smith nor Hay would comment on it.
Last month, Jonathan Hay was on his own press run of sorts involving Jay-Z. First was his theory that Jay-Z and Beyoncé staged the infamous elevator fight to boost ticket sales for their On The Run summer tour. Hay’s theory appeared in Billboard Magazine, igniting a flurry of rumors that spread to virtually every major news outlet across the world. After his Billboard story, Hay followed up with an interview in The Sun, one of the largest publications in the United Kingdom. Hay’s theory was somewhat validated soon after, when Beyoncé’s father and long-time manager, Matthew Knowles stated in an interview that he also believed the elevator fight to be a publicity stunt. He even admitted to helping his daughter pull off similar situations in the past.
Over the weekend, Jonathan Hay and Mike Smith spent their time producing a song for Slaughterhouse MC Crooked I and his engineer, Isaac “Iceman” Romero for Crook’s forthcoming album. Smith, who produced instrumentals for several songs on the album described the sessions as one of the most rewarding times ever experienced: “Crook is the ultimate professional [while recording],” Smith tells The Source from his home office. “He goes into beast mode. His focus is unbreakable and the stuff he’s able to come up with in a matter of minutes is unbelievable.”
With songs featuring Royce da 5’9, Dizzy Wright and Troy Ave, the label’s new act Pink Grenade has been buzzing online. “Pink Grenade is a producer based group formed by myself and Jonathan, inspired by producers Quincy Jones and Dr. Dre. We have a DVD released scheduled for later this year,” says Mike Smith. “We’ve publicly called Pink Grenade a social experiment. We will reveal at a later time what the experiment is. For the next Pink Grenade album, there will be a new cast of unknown artists who try to make it through the social experiment.” DJ Whoo Kid first broke the single “5th Ave (NWA)” featuring Pink Grenade on Shade 45. The single is now part of iHeartRadio’s On The Verge Program. For the record, On The Verge, is the same programming that broke Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith, Lucy Hale. “We produced an upcoming retail mixtape release hosted by DJ Whoo Kid called The Famous as F*ck Tape that features Pink Grenade and other artists affiliated with SMH Records,” said Hay.
Hay told The Source that their SMH Records project with Whoo Kid that was produced by Smith and Hay will be officially released on October 21. Features on the mixtape include: Inspecta Deck from Wu Tang Clan, Crooked I and Royce da 5’9, Twista, Horseshoe Gang, Troy Ave, Kool G Rap, Cyhi the Prynce, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, Dizzy Wright, Vito Banga from Nappy Roots, Wordsworth, Bigfoot from Parliament Funkadelic and newcomers Billionaire heiress Bim Fernandez and The Hailstorm. The mixtape album was produced by Jonathan Hay and Mike Smith.
So what’s in their future? According to published reports, the label also appeared to be on the hunt to sign Lindsay Lohan, “I don’t know how serious LiLo is about music right now,” said Hay. “We’d love to do something with her still at least produce a song. To be honest, I’d rather our label work with Hilary Duff. I’d like a second chance at a project with Duff because I felt like I failed spectacularly when I worked on her Dignity album, through one of her producers Vada [Nobles].That was almost 10 years ago. I’d like to give it another shot.”