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Since you're speaking about your label, Strange Music, can you talk about the differences between having your own label and being on someone else's label, as you were earlier in your career?
It's a lot more work, but if you are willing, it's greater later. You will see artists flourish before your eyes. You see artists going from being waiters to working at T-Mobile to having their own home, having kids, buying their own car. It's so wonderful to build something and be a job creator.
How do you know when an artist is right for your label?
I go for people who are the same caliber as myself or better. I'm not the kind of guy who wants somebody not as good as me so that I can shine. When we go through our roster, it went from me to Krizz Kaliko to Kutt Calhoun -- just right there, those are all winners. I go seek people out that convey lyricism and those stories through the microphone. And if they can't do it live, then it's not going to work.
What is the key for a rapper to be able to do it live?
Rehearsal. Getting it perfect. I'm not saying everybody has to do what we do to put on a good show. I've been to a lot of shows; you have to respect those shows for what they are. But if you want to see a rapper who's holding his crotch for an hour and having a million people onstage, I don't mind it, but that ain't us.
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