What's it like to work with and manage some of the biggest artists in hip hop? What is a manager's job? What exactly is artist development? All of these questions and more were answered by a few of those respected as some of the top managers in hip hop today. Beestroh Manteca spoke with Justice Baiden, Amina Diop, and Henny Yegezu about some of the most important aspects of their careers.
In a room with a solid mix of artists and managers, the key takeaway was that artist development isn't really thing anymore, at least not at labels. Amina Diop, most known for her work with Gucci Mane said that, "Nowadays, labels want you to be the full package." Because the A&R department at labels has effectively been removed, artists are expected to come ready. "There was an emphasis, once upon a time at lables, on artist development. Now you need a hot song already," said Diop.
A lot of what most would consider "artist development" is now happening on social media. Justice Baiden who has worked with 6lack and others said, "I love social media right now more than ever because it deletes the middle man (labels)." Henny Yegezu added that while there are so many positive things that can come from social media, you shouldn't necessarily put so much stock into it. "Social media is not an indicator of your fanbase, record sales, or ticket sales," said Yegezu. You still have to get out and connect with individual people to make sure that what you're seeing on social media is real.
The panel wrapped up with the managers discussing personal attachment to artists and their music. Baiden explained that it's easier to work with an artists if they're authentic and you really connect with their music. Before Henny Yegezu agreed with Baiden, he made all in the room aware thar "it's entertertainment...sometimes you have to remove some of the personal attachment."
In a final "mic drop" moment, Amina Diop kept it real with everyone. "Be real with yourselves. Some of you aren't going to make it. But you can run a fortune 500 company or a food truck...If you're a boss, be a boss."