Discovering unique hip-hop artistry among a flood of music’s new era is proving to be a far easier task than discovering actual hip-hop talent in 2018.
In an era of aggressive music-streaming prioritization and social media propagation, industry groundwork becomes obsolete and Hollywood’s ceiling becomes more readily penetrable by just about anyone with a cellphone. Virginia’s self-made rap veteran Pusha T wouldn’t have been able to relate some odd 20 years ago.
Then a Clipse member with his brother, Pusha grounded his industry roots in an Elektra Records label deal to secure his spot in hip-hop. Now the GOOD Music commander in chief, respected name of hip-hop and 1800 Tequila’s newest partner, King Push is paving a new route for young, rap talents to trail into success on their terms and time with 1800 Seconds (:1800).
In conjunction with 1800 Tequila, the artist discovery platform is giving 10 Pusha T-handpicked artists (Ant White, Cartel Count Up, Don Zio P, Hass Irv, Monalyse, Nita Jonez, Sam Austins, T Got Bank, Trevor Lanier and Tyler Thomas) and opportunity to cook up a three-minute track each for a 30-minute 1800 Seconds compilation album. Each talent will write and record their contributions to the project in a personal in-studio session with the Daytona rapper in L.A. before the full project is organized, mixed, mastered, then released on all streaming platforms including 1800Seconds.com. To give fans a fresh preview of what’s to come from the album, 1800 rounded up the 10 artists and Pusha in New York City for live performances of their respective records, closed out with a set from their 1800 Seconds mentor himself.
BET Digital stopped through and chopped it up with Pusha where the magic took place at Sony Hall to gain more insight into the new collaboration and what its implications hold for the future of hip-hop:
BET Digital: The objective of ths :1800 project for the current era of hip-hop is pretty elaborative. In your own words, can you explain what this project will do for young, emerging rap talents?
Pusha T: Basically, the project as a whole is just exposing true talent to the true fan and bringing artists out to let them get their full, creative vision out in a real studio setting. They also get to chop it up with me a little bit and just give them a little bit of direction that they already have because these people are all self-contained and ill, ill, ill artists.
What does this do for hip-hop heads and fan bases? Why should they care about something like this?
At the end of the day, you have to remember that hip-hop is still the youngest genre. Ultimately, it's just about giving new artists a platform to be seen and heard and so forth. We have the internet, we have social media, but everybody is taking advantage of that. It's sometimes hard to find good talent through all those different mediums. This is a cheat-sheet for those looking.
As a seasoned hip-hop artist yourself and GOOD Music’s president, what do you admire most about the newest wave of young rappers?
I like that the new acts are true free-spirits. They do everything their way, they're so self-contained and they're nothing like I was. I was coming up here trying to find a deal for myself and run it up to labels asking them to put me on. When I run into these kids, they have videos already shot, they're producing, they're mixing and they're mastering themselves. Some of them even have followings.
They can do shows and little club gigs in their area, and I think that's all commendable.
Should emerging rappers focus more on translating their artistry into the mainstream masses or focus more on building a loyal fan base?
I think developing your own fan base is always going to be more important. You get your fan base following you, hopefully they'll be as loud as they need to be and then guys like myself and others will hear about it. They'll go searching for it.
If you could give new artists any guidance for their first year in the rap business, what would you advise? What would you advise against?
Save everything, and work. Just keep working. Don't even look at the money. Just stack it. Just stack it, and keep creating. Against-- just stay away from the dumb sh**. Just stay creative.
(Photo: Shareif Ziyadat / Getty Images)