An Interview With Wack 100: Kanye, Game, and an Independent Empire (2024)

An Interview With Wack 100: Kanye, Game, and an Independent Empire (1)

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Image via Getty/Prince Williams

The Game and Kanye West’s “Eazy” collaboration became an independently released Spotify exclusive through Wack 100’s ingenuity.

The polarizing manager, label owner, and ever-present pop culture figure uploaded the song—released by his independent label 100 ENT—through TuneCore, and blocked it from every DSP but Spotify for 24 hours. He says that without so much as an email, someone at Spotify caught wind of this, and it made headlines as a Spotify exclusive for a day, giving the already anticipated record even more buzz. In the process, he pulled off the impressive feat of independently releasing a Kanye West song with his artist The Game.

Managers and label heads get sh*t done, and Wack assumes those roles for artists like Game and Blueface. But Wack’s controversial comments, like his recent thoughts on Master P’s finances and Bobby Shmurda’s dancing, have taken precedence in the news cycle, often overshadowing his work. Wack believes the media’s focus on the controversy is par for the course for him, a 43-year-old formerly incarcerated Pacoima, CA native who says he was the first minor in the California State Prison system at just 16. He came home in 1999, learned about the music game through working security for industry figures like Suge Knight, and propelled himself into an increasingly important position in the music industry.

These days, Wack has a lot of plans for independent artists, including an Indie Life app which will amplify unsigned acts and offer them resources, like educational tools about contract splits. Wack is also in the midst of expanding 100 ENT beyond music into film, including an upcoming Larry Hoover project. But Wack won’t be doing these things for long—he says he’s going to be falling back from music in the next two years to focus on ventures like his Ncredible diaper line. He’s also about to drop a 100 Show podcast series, which is geared toward highlighting independent acts. Clubhouse users will be implemented into those live conservations through a partnership with the app.

Wack is a frequent user of Clubhouse, where he’s single-handedly birthed an ecosystem of YouTube pages that screen-record the arguments he has with everyone from 21 Savage to random gang members. The blogosphere thrives off negativity, and his most fiery moments feed that hunger, which fuels a perception that he’s naturally contentious. He’s been condemned by some for moments like his livestreamed argument with former Blueface artist Chrisean, or his taboo opinions of artists like Tupac and Nipsey Hussle.

Beyond the drama, though, Wack says he’s had productive conversations with fellow Clubhouse users about the music game and how to get started in the trucking industry (he owns a successful truck company). He’s also had open forums with members of the LGBTQ community, which he orchestrated because he wants people to be able to “co-exist” respectfully, regardless of identity.

He has a knack for helping to connect worlds. The rap world, especially in his native LA, has become a place where (too many) rappers and the streets seem to be clamoring for what the other side can offer. He, more than most in the entertainment world, embodies the nexus explored in documentaries like Hip-Hop Uncovered.

Wack says coming from Pacoima and surviving the streets and prison informs his outspokenness, noting in our conversation that he “comes from a culture [where] they cast us out a long time ago.” As he explains, “I’m rooted in cancellation.” Speaking over the phone, we talked about how he feels about the controversy, Game’s Drillmatic album, his dealings with Kanye, and more. The interview, lightly edited for clarity, is below.

An Interview With Wack 100: Kanye, Game, and an Independent Empire (2)

Image via Getty/Keipher McKennie

How are you feeling about the response to Game and Kanye’s “Eazy”?

Great, man. It’s streaming well. I’m going to work that project independently. I uploaded it through my TuneCore. That’s a 100 ENT single as of now, and I just wanted to show people that I’ve been behind a lot of sh*t. I’ve been on the independent level. I’ve got my own marketing teams, digital teams, and I put together a lot of my own rollouts. So with this one, I just wanted to put it out myself, work with myself, and open up a few eyes. Stop hiding behind the walls and the labels.

How did the Spotify exclusive come about?

I actually uploaded it through my TuneCore account, at maybe 6:30 that morning. Hoping that it got their attention, I blocked it to everybody but Spotify. I called TuneCore, and for 24 hours, I made it available to Spotify and Spotify only. They must have seen that [and thought,] “Oh, sh*t, we’re the only ones that could snatch this.” Maybe Spotify saw that as a gesture of appreciation. They gave me some positions on some of their playlists, but it was just what I did when I uploaded it. Maybe them talking back to me was [by] giving me some editorial placement.

What made you want to have that exclusive on Spotify specifically?

I rock with the people that rock with us, and I see the Spotify execs out at the events. They walk up to you, shake your hand, and say, “How are you doing with such and such and Spotify? We see what you’re doing with your artists.” So I felt like I had more of a connection with them. They’re out here on the ground with us. I don’t really see the other people. Actually, I’ve got to correct myself, Ebro is over there [at] Apple. He’s definitely going to bring support. I can’t take that from people. Ebro has definitely been a great support of anything I’ve done or my artists have done since day one. So that’s probably what it was. I’ve been running into the Spotify execs out here in the field a lot lately.

Have they talked to you about doing that more formally in the future?

One thing I learned about Spotify, they’re going to go off the vibe of the music. I did make it exclusive to them, but at the same time, you can’t take away from the fact that it’s a great song.

So Def Jam wasn’t involved in this at all? This was 100 percent 100 ENT?

No, Game’s job was done once he passed me the record. Once Game and Kanye passed me the record, Mike Dean touched it. DJ Premier touched it. Duke, our in-house producer, is the one who had created the body of the beat. Premier put the scratches in there, Hit-Boy touched it. I’m in the studio, they’re working on it, and I stay in a creative space. Once he passed me the mixed and mastered version, Game’s on to the next one.

I asked because I know Kanye has said that Donda was his last release with Def Jam, and he’s going to be independent. Has that already started?

He’s definitely independent. He’s definitely watching what I’m doing and he’s up in the air. He’s been working on Donda 2. He’s got a great team in there with him. He’s been up in the air on which direction he’s going with it. He’s seeing some of the things I can do. Along with Gee Roberson, he’s got a nice team around him, so I’m looking forward to that. I’m all in for it. I’m definitely going to join forces, and Voltron with everybody else around it. We could definitely get it done, or whatever way he goes with it. He has my full support.

“I just texted [Kanye] the other day and put it on the table that I would really like to see a Game-Kanye collab album. He responded back with the thumbs-up.”

What’s it like being around him? Did you get any new insight into who he is beyond the headlines?

Me and Kanye have been moving together for the last couple months. We’ve been on jets. We went down there to see Elon Musk together. The studio thing came to be because of our movement with one another. We’ve been to about five different states, doing different things from his basketball team to tech sh*t, to developing things for the homeless, to developing communities around SpaceX. So the Wack and Kanye thing has been evolving.

I saw a report about you and Elon Musk working together on a project to create self-sustaining communities. Can you talk about that?

Elon and Kanye, they look to the future. They figure the only way the future’s going to be built is if they begin to design it now. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to Elon with the chip to go on your brain, and sh*t like that. Or the rocket that can go around the world in 90 minutes now. He’s building a rocket in 20 days.

So they’re looking at the homeless [from] a point of, well, you can’t provide shelter. How about we provide something that the homeless could wear that is sheltered and keeps you warm? Something you can zip up in and be safe in, where it’s bullet-proof and knife-proof, so you can’t be stabbed.

They know there’s people throwing gas on people that are sleeping and lighting them on fire. These things are happening. So he’s trying to come up with things to prevent things like that from happening. When you get guys like Ye and Elon together, the fact that I can chime in and add to the ideas is really the position I play. The fact that they hear me out to some extent, that’s a plus to me.

Getting back to the music, how many songs have Kanye and Game made in the past couple months?

A couple songs. I just texted him the other day and put it on the table that I would really like to see a Game-Kanye collab album. He responded back with the thumbs-up, so that could very well be in the bank for the future. One thing about Ye, [if] he ain’t f*cking with it, he going to tell you. If he f*cking with it, he going to tell you. So there’s no in-between with us.

They work great together. Their chemistry is great together. They respect each other. They’re like two brothers, man, in the backyard throwing the football. There’s no tension. They’re open with each other, and they bounce ideas off of each other. The chemistry’s there.

Big Boi and G Herbo have said good things about Drillmatic, and I saw that Game had played it for Dr. Dre and Diddy. How involved were they on the conception of the album?

Nah, that’s all Game. My job is to provide the workspace, and I had to push a few little buttons to make sure they were smooth. Roddy Ricch dropped by Thursday and gave me a banger that I believe will be the next single. Game’s not scared to step into other people’s worlds. Fivio came in there with some drill sh*t. I didn’t know how Game was going to react to that. He killed it. Moneybagg Yo’s [also been in the studio]. And we got a big surprise.

We got people who’ve been working with us for years. Eric Bellinger has been in there. Pusha-T. It’s people pulling up, demanding to get on the album. We got Hit-Boy in the studio. Him and Chuck are cooking. It just goes from there. A lot of these rappers have been around. They’re recording four or five songs a night. So it’s definitely happening there. The tracklist looks like it’s going to be anywhere between 15 and 18 [songs]. That’s what’s happening this week, [as well as] doing sample clearances. Everything we do is in-house: sample clearances, mixing and mastering, producer agreements, songwriting agreements. Everything.

Do you know what timeframe it might be out?

Some time around late March or April. I’ve got to work two or three songs. [Get the] videos shot and rollout done. Maybe go on tour in Europe sometime in May or June.

Will it be dropped on 100 ENT?

It’s definitely going to be 100 ENT, whether or not I do a collab with MNRK, who bought out eOne. They’re always in my number one position, because I’ve been doing business with them for so long. “Sexy Can I” was one of my first projects. Back then I was still hiding behind Shaq, trying to clean up. So everything from Year of the Wolf to Documentary 2 and 2.5 and the Drake “100” song has all been me, through my relationship with eOne. eOne was like [me] sitting in the management role and letting everything else happen. I’ve always been on the label side of it, but I was letting other things grow.

How long has 100 ENT been in effect?

I birthed that like, two years ago. I was operating under 5th Amendment Entertainment. If you go back to “Thotiana,” Year of the Wolf, Documentary 2, Documentary 2.5, all those, you’ll see 5th Amendment Entertainment, which is me. I just curved and went the 100 ENT route because I got mobile apps, I got podcasts, things coming out. It’s all brand-new with the 100 thing, the 100 show, I got rooms on Clubhouse. So I’m just starting to cross promote that. It’s been like two years in the making.

“I don’t let the media dictate how I move. I think I’m the only spokesperson for our people. I’m going to be real with you. Everybody else is hiding.”

What are your aspirations for 100 ENT? Are you going to expand into ventures beyond music?

Labels, merch, film. I have an app coming out that’s artist development called Indie life, which is tied directly to 100 ENT. We lost [artist development] about a decade ago. There’s no more artist development at labels. [Artists will be] doing numbers and popping and the bidding war starts. But grabbing talent that might not have the following, because they don’t know how to do that, is not there anymore. So I want to venture back to that.

We’ve got big film projects coming up, Larry Hoover projects, movies with Game, management situations with 6ix9ine, which is already in the making, getting a lot of his music done. A lot of feature work done, a lot of touring done. I’m doing all of that. It’s going to be a blanket effect, for sure.

I was going to ask if you were 6ix9ine’s official manager, but you just clarified that.

I got full control and say. It started off as a business partner situation, but I’m over his next project. He’s still signed to Create [Music Group] and 10K, that’s his label. I’m taking the reins on the management side to make sure everything is right, and the rollout is right. What he gets with me is a guy answering his phone calls and emails. He gets a guy that makes sure his marketing is right, his radio is right, his pub is right, his splits are right. And he gets the resources I have to open those doors up that may have been closed on him.

You’re planning to put out a podcast. Can you share some information about that?

The 100 Show will be formulated at my studio in north Hollywood. I’m targeting independent artists, independent producers, and underground filmmakers. I’m doing a partnership with Clubhouse, and we’re talking with them now. I have a virtual audience that will be able to listen and chime in during the interview from the different Clubhouse rooms. So it just won’t be me. I got my co-host CEO Reek the Sneak, somebody I discovered on Clubhouse. He runs my 100 Show room.

[We’ll be] dealing with people all around the world onstage. So the room will know: “Hey, Tru Carr’s going to be up next Wednesday. So get your questions ready, whether good, bad, whatever it may be. And we’re going to let you guys chime in while we’re interviewing.” I’m running a four-camera system. My guy Lewis, who does all our studios, set me up with that. It’s coming together. We’re looking to launch the first or second week of February.

“6ix9ine’s got something coming with NBA YoungBoy that I’m putting together, so y’all look out for that. 2022, we coming.”

You said it’s going to be highlighting up-and-coming artists. How much is that going to intersect with the vision for your label and your app? It seems you’re gearing towards…

Yeah, you see it. [Laughs.] The app is called Indie Life. So quite naturally, if I got independent artists and underground artists coming through the podcast, I can channel those people to the Indie Life mobile app. It’s the artist development app. I have a page on there called the radar page. Guys like you, program directors, managers, A&Rs, VPs, presidents, top dogs, whoever, they’re on the radar page.

Let’s say you’ve got a guy that’s doing 50,000 views on the big platforms, that ain’t sh*t. But on my platform, I’m not competing with Apple and Spotify. I’m like the grade school to get them ready to graduate to play on Apple and Spotify, and build their following. So if a guy has 50,000 views on my platform, the radar page is alerted: “Tru Carr just hit 50,000 views. Check his video out now.” Now I’m putting him in front of all the execs who wouldn’t necessarily pay him any attention. In turn, it’s giving the execs and the labels and everybody else a chance to watch the initial growth of other independent artists and do business with them in earlier stages. I have a marketing page, where if artists have music or merch or whatever they’ve got going on, they can create a banner for $5, $50, $1,500, or $5,000.

If you’re doing business with a producer or another artist, you can go on the contract page. You can press these lines. It’ll tell you the artist’s name, producer name, splits. It’ll give you a breakdown on what the norm is, and how you should format it. Boom. Now they’ve all got their paperwork. Everything that’s in my mind—all the resources that I have and things I know how to do—I put it in the coding.

What is it about indie artists, specifically, that makes you want to help them?

When you look up, and you are reaching out towards somebody that’s hot, people are already talking about it. Right? You know what that takes—it takes millions of dollars to persuade that artist. So even if I can’t sign that artist, at least now I have a relationship with that artist. When that artist becomes a Cardi B or a Drake or a Lil Baby, to a Blueface or a Game, I now have the relationship to pick that phone up and do business with these artists. But it’s my app. I can see the backend analytics of who’s grown and at what rate, and now I’m in a position to go and offer these guys a deal before anybody else.

It’s an independent-artist only thing. Period. That’s all I’m catering to. A mainstream artist, he can be on the radar page, comment, and maybe try to do business with this artist, but that’s all they can do. So it’s like pop warner football—getting them ready to go to the next level.

I want to pay differently. I want to pay on the quarter million and half a million instead of the 1 million. A lot of these artists have a song out that did 600,000 or 700,000 [dollars], but they don’t never see nothing. So I want to bring the stakes down, so they can really start seeing the check a little earlier. It’s motivation. I also want to turn around and do things for him when I see somebody hustling. I want to sponsor a feature, sponsor a radio run, sponsor a video with a guy like Cole Bennett, or somebody that I’ve got a relationship with. Indie Life’s bringing that to you. Before I give it to Uncle Sam, I’d rather turn around and give it back to the artist that’s supplying themselves and working.

The reason why I’m doing it over the next two years is I’m going to make my exit out of the music game. Because I got a diaper company that’s going on called Ncredible Diapers. I did a license deal with Nick Cannon to use Ncredible in the logo. It’s the only minority Black diaper company in the world that I just didn’t want to exit knowing that I was blessed for a lot of opportunity. So I wanted to leave something behind for the artists to have so they can work themselves.

What are your reasons for wanting to leave the game in two years?

I’m grooming my daughter, Devyn Jones, to step into my shoes. Ultimately she’s who I send the music to anyway and [she’ll] let me know. She’s 17. It really ain’t my world no more. It’s theirs.

But my diaper company, I know it’s going to pull at me. That’s going to be something that I’ll never live to see how big it gets. And there’s other things that I’m growing that I know I’m going to have to be there. You know what I mean? Sometime 2023ish, you’ll start seeing me in more suits and ties, stuff like that, because it’s just a transitioning, bro. But I don’t want to [completely] leave this, because I’m probably the only guy like me that’s running with these people out here.

So that’s why I created that app. That’s like me still being there. Because people, they don’t get out here in the mud with these kids to understand them, and help them. So that’s really what it is. Other businesses that I’m venturing on to, that’s for generational wealth, that’s for what I’m going to leave behind for my legacy, my children, my grandchildren, my loved ones.

“[Kanye] is definitely independent.”

You’re more public facing than the average manager or label owner. Are you looking to parlay your visibility into more of a following that draws attention to your business ventures?

Nah, bro. I come from the the mud. I come from Pacoima, California. So I don’t care about how much money I got or my position in this game. I want to be visible, bro. Where you can come to Clubhouse and come talk to me, you could get to me, I answer DMs, or if I’m at the gas station, you could pull up, have a conversation with me. I come from them. So I’m never going to run from them. I’m gonna stay where my people can have a conversation with me, and can come to me just like a regular human being. Whatever I can do for them, they can do for me, they can make it happen. I’m not changing that aspect ever. I ain’t never running from my people.

How much do you care about the online perception that you’re only involved in controversy?

Controversy’s just what they report. I done saved people’s lives. I stopped a man from committing suicide about two weeks ago on Clubhouse. So I done helped a lot of people, gave people features, flew people out, bought people wheelchairs that didn’t have them… I do a lot of sh*t, but the controversy is always going to be the better sell for them. I promote that I don’t gang bang. I bring Crips and Bloods together. I signed the dude that called himself “the famous Crip.” Everybody knows who I am, what I’m from. So people are going to perceive it how they want to perceive it. I can’t feed off any of that. I just keep doing what I’m doing to stay my course.

Do you ever feel like controversy and backlash will affect your reputation or your artists’ reputation?

The reputation of my artists comes from their skills and what they do. I’ve been me before I signed a lot of my artists. Game’s been controversial since before there was a Wack 100. So we’re going to always support each other, and we’re going to check each other when we need checking. I don’t let the media dictate how I move. I think I’m the only spokesperson for our people. Keeping it real. I’m going to be real with you. Everybody else is hiding. I respect that about Dame Dash. Dame is Dame. He’s going to speak his mind. Kanye’s Kanye. He’s going to keep speaking his mind. I think people are scared of the cancel culture. I come from a culture, they cast us out a long time ago. I’m rooted in cancellation. So I’m immune to it.

Yeah, I feel like a lot of people who follow hip-hop don’t really understand that you come from an environment where the way you’re perceived could be tied to violence against you. I don’t think people register that.

Yeah. But yet, I’ve stopped the violence. I’ve stopped all kinds of situations. They just don’t report those things. They don’t report that there was a dude on Clubhouse who was contemplating suicide because he lost his newborn child. He felt he didn’t have nothing to live for. They don’t report that Wack sent him a psychiatrist to talk to this dude on his dime and stayed on the phone. And I had 50 people calling this dude every 10, 15 minutes to keep him right. I brought him to California, was able to bond with him, to get him back on track. They don’t report those types of things. And that’s cool because I don’t do it to be reported. I do it because it’s the right thing to do. But the minute I have a fight or the minute I’m in a situation where I got to protect my artists, it’s everywhere. Every blog site in America, you know what I’m saying? So that’s just what it is, man. I guess that’s the world, bro.

An Interview With Wack 100: Kanye, Game, and an Independent Empire (5)

Image via Getty/Johnny Nunez

What would you say to somebody who admires your business sense but doesn’t understand why you’re still willing to fight with people and such, when you’re doing so well in life? I’m referring to the stuff that goes viral on Clubhouse with you arguing and wanting to fight people.

Well, you got to understand that I’m very protective of my people. Nobody ever really approaches me [to fight] for me. I’m always in the middle of something because I’m protecting my people. I’ve never been out with somebody who’s like, “Hey, I’m here for you.” They’re trying to get at Game or they’re trying to get at Blueface and rage at one of the artists. And unfortunately, I’m fortunate enough to come [from a place where] I was security. I was there to keep Suge safe.

I played many positions before I got to the position I’m at, and I haven’t lost anybody on my watch. I haven’t had anybody robbed on my watch, any of those things. So at the end of the day, that’s just who I am. I’m a manager that’s in the building. I’m a manager where, when my artist is at a club, I’m there with them because my presence has stopped something from happening. I’m not going to get the phone call, “This happened last night,” you know?

You have a heavy presence on Clubhouse. What is it that you like about being on there?

People could get to me. I’ve helped a lot of people. I’ve helped people start businesses and get their credit right. I’ve helped artists. I’ve put artists together. I’ve had artists come out here to my studio and worked with them. I’ve helped people get music rooms together. We gave out a couple hundred thousand. $5,000 here, $30,000 here, $10,000 here, doing things. I’ve helped discover new talent. And people that’s listening, they tell me in my messages, “Hey bro, I was ready to give up until you gave me your story.” So I’m going to make myself visible and accessible to these people. Because if I’m not, I’m not keeping it real with myself.

You got people that are struggling, and they see me, and they think it’s always been this way. They don’t know, like, “Yo, listen, man, I drove a ’95 Honda to work. I had a job paying me $6.50 an hour, bro.” Nope. “I drove trucks. I did this. I did that. I kept at it. I used to park my diesel to catch a flight and catch a meeting. I was doing music and trucking at the same time.” Don’t stop. “I lived here. I lived there. I did this to where I’m at now.” Don’t stop. Keep going. As long as you’re in the race, right? You’ve got to actually be getting to your finish line. People hearing that from me gives them something to look forward to. If I wasn’t on that platform for people to hear me, it wouldn’t have never helped them. I ain’t better than nobody. I’m just like them. I come from where they come from. I tell people, “Bro, don’t be like me. Be better than me. Take what I’m saying, add it to what you’re doing, and enhance it.”

“It’s coming out of my mouth, this isWack 100 to the youth: screw the streets. Don’t make it a priority. Put positive people around you.”

Can you clarify rumors that you have some kind of partnership or financial stake in Clubhouse? I’ve heard a lot of people speculate about that.

No, no. [I just participate in rooms like] The 100 Show, Sleepless in LA, Jason Lee’s room, I do a lot with him. Death of the Clout Chaser, another one with my man called Eban Films. And then as of [two weeks ago], I started doing some cross marketing with Touching Bases, with the queer community on there and the gay community. We’re mixing rooms and they’re educating us on terminologies that’s respectful and disrespectful, how they do things, and how we see things. Because honestly, look: I’m a straight man. But the reality of the world we live in is going that way. So I feel people need to learn how to interact with one another. Whatever a man’s sexual preference is in his free time, it is what that is.

But as we’re dealing with each other in business and just being able to co-exist, I said, let me bring all these street dudes and all these straight dudes, and then let me get invite the gay community over. And then let’s mix the room. We had a four-hour [conversation], and there was no disrespectful terminology and sh*t like that. So I use my following to shed light on other things. I’m like this: I’m not looking for no problems. I just ain’t running from nothing. I don’t advocate gang banging. I don’t care if you’re a Crip, Blood, or whatever. I’m going to meet you. I’m going to greet you first as a person, a human being, and a man. I’m from where I’m from.

I don’t wake up looking to do something to the dude across the street or the Crip. But I got Crip comrade partners. I got gay people I do business with, Asian people, all walks of life. People in the Middle East. I have a situation going on with the royal family of Iran as we speak, with the diaper company, where they’re doing distribution for me throughout the 10 different countries in their area. So I’m just like an octopus, bro. I’m all around. I don’t want to be in a box with it. I’m bicoastal. So I live on the west, and I live on the east. I’m pushing to buy some real estate over in the UK. And I really want to pass the reins of 100 ENT down to my daughter. She’s my protege and my A&R.

Whose idea was it to start those conversations with the LGBTQ community?

It was mine. I was educated. I thought queer was disrespectful terminology and they’re like, “No, we want to be called queer, but don’t call us ‘tranny.’” We thought “tranny” was cool. “Tranny’s” disrespectful terminology. So we got educated on our side: “out the closet, in the closet.” They took that some way, but it was like, “Hey, look, that’s our figure of speech on the street, on the heterosexual side.” So it was cool. Everybody got a chance to feel each other out and get an understanding where each other stood. Since then, the room’s been mixing. They’ve been over in our rooms and we’ve been going over to their rooms. Because they also talk about business situations. They talk about things going on in the world and, hey, it’s entertaining and it’s educational. And they get over to our side where we have the music rooms and now they feel comfortable that we’re not going to say, “Hey, get out of here because you’re this or you’re that.”

My whole goal is to ultimately bring everybody together. Somehow some way, Crip, Blood, East, West, heterosexual, queer. We can do business and we can assist each other in any way. We need to be able to do that. Information is key, bro. You know, they may know some things we need to know. We may know some things they need to know. So that’s really my, my ultimate goal.

You recently clarified your comments about Bobby Shmurda and why you feel the way you do about his dancing. What would you say to somebody who doesn’t understand why his dancing should bother anybody?

Well, you got to understand, his dancing has nothing to do with his music. His music is his music, his dancing has nothing to do with who he is, and to his block or his neighborhood. I’m simply telling you, he came in as a street dude. We respect you in that. He did a few stand-up moves. Took some time for your man. Walked off your time. Cool. But when we over in the streets, we probably like, “Yo, what’s going on with that [dancing], bro? That’s not normal.” Maybe starting a new trend, maybe he’s not. I’m just a guy that’s going to say what everybody else is thinking. So I’m looking at that like, “Yo bro, if he was around me, I’d have asked, what’s happening with that? That ain’t cool. What you doing?” You know what I’m saying?

What’s that about? Let’s put some women around him when he’s doing that. What got my attention was when he was [dancing] on Gillie and Wallo’s show Million Dollaz Worth of Game, and there were no women around. And it just doesn’t… If Game start doing that sh*t, if Blueface start doing that sh*t, you going, “Yo, what’s up? That’s a little different.” So it ain’t got nothing to do with who he is as an individual. It was just a little different from what we’re used to seeing in that urban lane of music.

Do you feel music consumers have irrational restrictions on street rappers, in terms of having to watch what they wear, watch what they say, and watch how they dance, or they’re going to alienate themselves? Do you think that’s unfair?

Nah, I don’t think he’s alienating himself, because the streets are a minute factor when it comes to streaming anyway. Now, we’re talking business. You ask, “Wack, do you want to appeal to the streets or do you want to appeal to the other side of it?” I’m going to tell you the other side of it, because that’s where the money is at. I advise him to go do some songs with some of these Latin artists, because that’s their vibe. If I saw Bobby Shmurda [in a] Latin song, a Latin video doing that, I go, “OK, that’s the crossover sh*t.” But in our lane, it didn’t add up to me, but I’m just one person. Who knows? Let’s see the growth for [“Shmoney”]. I’m watching the numbers. I know what the numbers are. I don’t know if it’s helping him any, but just me personally, coming from the streets, coming from this urban music side, that was a little different to me.

Being somebody from LA who really came from a certain lifestyle, how do you feel about the prevalence of artists who didn’t grow up in gangs trying to align themselves with gangs, once their career starts?

You don’t need the streets, even if you are in a gang. I advise you to not go that route. You don’t need the streets, bro. You got digital platforms that put you in front of the world. If you are part of a gang, I strongly advise you to not fraternize with those people. If you got brothers and family where that’s what they do, cool, deal with them on that. But don’t make that a part of your movement. We’ll tell you, we hustled on the block to get off the block. These dudes is getting the money and trying to break onto the block. Don’t make sense to us. I’m going to tell you straight up, I feel that’s the wrong move. Don’t need street certification no more. You need fan certification. I’m going to tell you, chase a TikTok certification before you chase the street certification. Just being real. We talking business. When I saw Blueface, the first thing I did was move him away. He’s behind the gate with a bunch of people that don’t look like him immediately.

“My whole goal is to ultimately bring everybody together. Somehow some way, Crip, Blood, East, West, heterosexual, queer. We can do business and we can assist each other in any way.”

It seems exhausting being a street rapper. People are so attentive with how they perceive you. If something happens to you, you’re “dumb” if you do something back, and you’re “weak” if you don’t do something back. It just seems difficult to manage.

It’s coming out of my mouth, this isWack 100 to the youth: screw the streets. Don’t make it a priority. Put positive people around you. Don’t put nobody around you that feels you owe him something. And if you’re a civilian, maintain that position. If the streets come at you as a civilian, exercise the rights of a civilian and call your big homies. You know who them people are. Nobody cares, bro.

Don’t put yourself in that politic. 6ix9ine put itself in that politic and seen what happened. He learned from it. It’s real sh*t, bro. Civilians ain’t privy to following the rules of the streets. And I tell street dudes that. Go over there messing with those dudes that ain’t part of this, and they call the police and the FBI on you, that’s their big homie. They not snitches. They doing what the civilians supposed to do. Can’t make them abide by the rules of the streets and they ain’t from that.

I had to be groomed in this bro, this stuff was extended to me from a kid—10, 11, 12 years old on up. I’m a product of my environment. My daughter has never had a sidewalk in front of her house in her whole existence of living. My kids are the opposite of me. My son is 27 years old. He’s not a gang member. He has legal firearms. He’s taught to tell the truth. You try to harm him, he’s going to do what he has to do. Call 911, hand over his firearm and tell them what he was doing, and the reason why he had to do what he did to you. What he’s taught to.

What are some of the biggest changes you’d like to see in the music industry?

Artist development. There’s a lot of talent out there, but they just don’t know how to put themselves in front of the masses. I would like to see those artist development divisions come back to the labels. These days, people have a dude that can’t rap it all. They’re going to look at your numbers. “Oh, sh*t. He got a following. Let’s sign him.” Then you can have a dude over here that’s talented as f*ck, makes his own beats, makes great music, but maybe he doesn’t have a tattoo on his face or he’s not on social media banging his head through a window, so he doesn’t have a following. Some of these artists have followings through sh*t that has nothing to do with music.

One guy that it worked for, that I think was an equal balance, was DaBaby. DaBaby had been around. When he killed that dude at Walmart, all the light was on it. But what does the murder at Walmart have to do with the music he already had out? He actually had great music. So this is a guy I can say where it worked for him both ways. He’s not an industry plant. He got that light over there, but he has great music. A lot of dudes that have a light on them, the music is garbage, but people are talking about him and following him because he went over here and went head to head with a donkey or some dumb sh*t.

[Laughs.] In theory, labels should want to invest in artists more. But there are so many artists that labels will just get rid of you once they don’t see a return. On to the next one. So that’s unfortunate.

I can speak from this, because I know this firsthand. Kendrick Lamar was Jay Rock’s hype man for six, seven years. He didn’t happen overnight. It took six, seven, eight years for the birth of Kendrick Lamar as you see him today. Artist development. Imagine if Top Dawg would’ve gave up on K.Dot, who turned into Kendrick Lamar, a year or two into it, because he hadn’t made any money. We would never be blessed with his talent and skills today.

Yeah. A different rap world.

You understand what I’m saying? This is real talk. How many times did Jay-Z get denied walking in the labels? All the different people were developing themselves. Kanye West, same sh*t. Dre developed a lot of artists. So I just want to [bring back] the artist development. YG was probably the last one. Remember YG’s initial contract? He was Def Jam YG. He had an artist development deal before he had his deal today. So it’ll give more of the youngsters a fair shot at it. I find myself doing it. [Asking] “What’s your stage name?” Then I’m going straight to the numbers. I’m looking at the numbers before I hear the music, and I check myself on it. That’s why I’ve been doing the things I’ve been doing.

At what point did you realize you needed to check yourself on doing that?

I think it was Bankrol Hayden from Modesto, an artist that my guy brought to me. He’s now signed to Atlantic, I believe. But I went to his numbers instead of hearing him out, and I missed my opportunity on it. One of the songs that went big is a song he texted me that I never f*cking listened to because I went to look at his numbers.

So he called me [last week]. He wanted to do something with Blueface and I told him to send it over. And he asked me, “How much would I charge him?” I say, “Bro, just the fact that I disrespected you round one, I ain’t going to charge you nothing. We’ll get it done for free.”

Do you have any other young and aspiring managers or people under your wing that you’re trying to show the game?

I got producers. DJ Mackey. Actually one of my daughter’s friends came to the studio and plugged up. I ran him out the studio. I said, “Yo, man, you stinking up the place, plugging up with that sh*t.” He disappeared. I didn’t know that my daughter led him into the smaller room at the studio. Then he comes back maybe a month or two later, he got placements with Swae Lee. He got Blueface placements. So I’m grooming him.

I’m tapped into the TikTok community, a little youngster named Qpricee. He’s been developing content houses, so he’s part of the team. They have a room on Clubhouse called the Young CEOs, with any manager that’s up-and-coming. They know they all can call me. And if it’s a missing link, like, “I’m trying to get my artists to Europe. I don’t have a plug. Or how do I do this? Clearances?” I make all my teams available to all of them. The same people that’s there on your way up, are going to be there when you are on your way back down. Depending on how you handled and treated these people, it’s going to determine how far out they let you go before they reach their arm out and say, “Come on back up here with us.”

Is there anything else that you want to express to the readers?

Yeah, I’ve got a few artists signed to 100 ENT, Tru Carr out of Watts. I got my Hispanic group, Coyote. They coming. Blueface. He has a single workin’ with Blxst right now, called “Chosen.” Blueface and DDG are also doing a collab album that’s going to come out. And I got artists out of St. Louis named Flash Gotti. So be looking out for those people in 2022. Mozzy, Saweetie, Kevin Gates, 24hrs, they’re all on Tru Carr’s next project. 6ix9ine’s got something coming with NBA YoungBoy that I’m putting together, so y’all look out for that. 2022, we coming.

An Interview With Wack 100: Kanye, Game, and an Independent Empire (2024)
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