Gryndfest is quickly becoming one of the more recognizable names in hip-hop, hosting showcases around the country featuring an eclectic mix of young rappers that aren’t afraid to work hard. DJ Bhrama Bull started organizing showcases as it became a growing demand among the artists he worked with. We caught up with DJ Bhrama Bull to discuss his career as a music curator, the relationships formed with the artists he works with and his upcoming A3C showcase.
Tell me how you got to this point where you are curating this event for A3C?
First, I went to school for audio engineering and that kind of took a backseat to promotions because all of the big studios were getting smaller. So I did internships to learn that side.
I got an associates degree from the Los Angeles School of Recording. But it led into promotion. I have a promotion background in my family. It kind of took center stage in how I got money. I didn’t get a business degree or anything. It’s just that’s where the industry was going. So I started with promotions and everybody started being like “do you got shows?” And I didn’t really know how to curate shows. I didn’t know how to get shows. I didn’t know what the process was. But that’s what everyone kept asking me to get. I eventually just helped other people to the point where it paid off. I worked with the Nerved DJs. I did a lot of behind the scenes concert internships. Then it led to me doing my own show at SXSW.
We linked up with a lot of other people. We had Alex Wiley, we had KR, we had GLC. That exposed me to curating. Then I got invited to A3C, which to me is better than SXSW because it’s targeted to hip-hop and that’s what I’m involved in. I feel like A3C they let me in and I’m kind of cherishing the opportunity.
You mentioned not knowing how to curate at first. Is there anything that got you to the point where you started feeling comfortable with it?
Over-organization. Everything that could go wrong, you have to try to handle that before. And building on relationships with bigger artists to drive the smaller artists that are looking for opportunities like networking with the bigger artists. When bigger artists started coming to my show it really steamrolled into having bigger connects that led into other things.
What’s been the most enjoyable aspect of your career?
It was just kind of fun working with the artists and embodying their energy on stage. And the promotions and connections behind it, because promotions is just about connecting people together. I really like the connecting people together aspect of it. And bringing different clothing sponsors and blogs. It gives the artists a bigger platform to showcase their stuff. And seeing them evolve. They might do the show then it leads them to other shows that are bigger. One of my artists just got signed. Another one got a clothing sponsorship. Some are working with bigger artists. It’s kind of cool that you kind of claim those artists in your show. It’s not just business. It’s not about just get them on the stage, then off. I work with my people all year long. I really try to give them opportunities to see them grow. The end point is just trying to get them paid. Or trying to get them in a better place then they were before. I’ve worked with people where it was there first time on stage. Now they are doing more shows. I like to see people evolve into being better.
If it’s a record deal, or a sponsorship. Now, some of my artists are curating their own shows. It’s about the evolution of the artists. It’s not just “oh, good. You did your ten minutes. Now, hit me when there is another show.” No. I don’t like doing that. I like seeing them evolve into something of their own. If they turn into another me, that is even better. Because now I can book people on your shows. I don’t like to put a glass ceiling on anybody’s ability. It’s really dope to see. From the Gryndfest, I have seen four artists get deals. One artists on the Smoker’s Club. Kap G is now doing his own thing. Everyone fits into their own category of evolution. And I take that sh*t seriously.
In your time doing this, which artist has evolved the most?
I would probably have to say ZayMaTIC. He is really persistent and really young. I’ve had a couple of people get deals but the way he’s evolved--he now has two clothing sponsors. He has distribution on his record, which is kind of common. Now he is curating his own shows. I guess I was kind of his mentor a bit but he just really came up. And I just feel like people are starting to see him and his value is going up. He has been in every one of my shows that I have ever done. And now he is going to be me in a second. Now he is building up his team. He always has videos. He has two clothing lines that are invested in him. His team is tight. He has always worked hard to get his team to believe in him.
I was built off of internships. I had to do an internship to graduate from the Los Angeles school of recording. I had to intern to graduate from Full Sail. I really like hustle. Call me for a week straight to pick my brain. I might not pick up every time but he was really persistent on his career and believing in himself. He was never down or anything no matter what happened. And now you can see. He is starting to get to the money. Other companies are saying “maybe I’ll help him with a contract.” Sometimes I might hop on the phone and front like I’m his manager. Whatever it took, he was down to do it. The travel and the networking behind shows. It’s starting to pay off now. I really feel like he is going to get an investor or a deal sooner than later and it’s really organic. It’s not like you know he just got picked out and he was Young Thug. He really earned his spot.
What’s Your Show at A3C going to be like?
It’s going to be the next and everyone’s going to be different. When I book shows, I try to get a bunch of artists that are different. I might have a lot female rappers on my lineup or a couple of trap rappers. I try to showcase each artist as a different entity. It’s gonna be like a family atmosphere. Everyone supporting everyone else but it’s going to be lit and you’re not going to see the same type of artists. You’re going to see a boom bap rapper, a trap rapper, a lyricist. A Chief Keef-type underground artist. You’re going to see a female boom bap, a female trap rapper. There are going to be DJ sets. You’re going to hear music that is not on the radio. So real progressive, next level. That’s what I strive for. The next level of everything.
What does Gryndfest mean to you?
I feel like the Gryndfest logo, the Gryndfest name it just signifies the next up, the hard working artist that I’ve worked with throughout the year that I believe in. And they are going to be the up and coming people that you’re going to see around for the long run. Because I don’t work with people that ain’t workin hard. I don’t work with anyone that is not doing this to end up doing it for their life. I don’t try to work with people that are halfa**. I know that every person that I put in the show has proven to me that they’re dedicated 100 percent. I claim everyone in the show forever. You’re a part of me when you are on this show. A name is like a brand. I want to brand you that you came from my show so you can’t be lacking.