Quality Control's new UK signee should be Afro B, Mazi Chukz, Sona, Mista Silva or Maleek Berry
Best described by Quavo as the new Cash Money, QC is probably one of the fastest growing successful Hip Hop labels at this present time. Starting out with Migos they’ve expanded their empire and signed artist such as PreMadonna, Lil Baby, City Girls, Lil Marlo, Rich the kid, Lil Yachty and Stefflon don.
Recently Coach K (label CEO) did an interview in London with Tim Westwood and expressed his interest in wanting to build the UK leg of Quality Control.
I found this interesting, but expecting of Coach K, for years both Pee and Coach have expressed their interest in wanting QC to be a global leader, to be honest any label who isn’t looking to expand is missing out.
Drake is the perfect case study to look at, aside from his undeniable talent his ability to merge into new markets has helped him maintain his relevance. Drake has watched the mistakes his idols have made and successfully had one of the longest peaks in Hip Hop to date.
Drake has worked with UK rappers, Afrobeats artist,Spanish artist and also US artist who are on the cusp of success - the internet has made the world more globally aware and Drake understands and is a fan of this.
If Coach and Pee do go forward with their pursuit of British talent what I want to know is will they set up a UK base and work to penetrate the UK market or will they go for the big bag and integrate a UK artist into the American market.
In my opinion I think it’s more lucrative to take a UK artist and integrate them into the US market, once an artist becomes big in the US they automatically become a star in the UK.
Take Ella Mai for example she is a British born singer but she understands the game, if Ella Mai had released her single ‘Boo’d Up’ in the UK it wouldn’t have gone anywhere. DJ Mustard had the foresight to develop her in the states and let her do her thing there.
[ Right now, Ella Mai's Boo'd Up is number four on the American Top Songs chart on YouTube and is also sitting comfortably at number seven on the Billboard charts.
But Ella Mai, from south London, is not on the UK YouTube charts or the UK Singles Chart. BBC Newsbeat, July 2018 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-44412115 ]
If Coach and Pee do lean in the way I think they will, I think there first signing should be with a UK based Afrobeats artist, this may come as a shock to some as that sound isn’t doing too great in the UK at the moment.
Although I think it’s a great strategic move, Afrobeats is growing internationally everyday with the forerunners being Burna Boy, Wizkid and Davido, they've created a great window of opportunity.
Take Afro B for example his single ‘Joanna’ is on heavy rotation at the moment in New York on mainstream radio stations and clubs. Afro B is steadily building a strong US fan base and selling out large capacity shows.
The fact that ‘Joanna’ was able to organically cross the waters, penetrate in the US market by getting play listed shows that there is a market to be explored. Afro B was able to obtain this success despite the single not charting in the UK or having a great marketing campaign or video.
Imagine if he had a US label backing him with a strong understanding of culture backing him, making sure he’s at the right shows/events, doing relative press, going on the university tours and just standing with him as there own? He would be unstoppable.
Afro B isn’t the only UK based artist whose been able to gain success in America artist such as Maleek Berry and Julz have had singles which have taken them into market. After Maleek Berry released his single ‘Kontrol’ he actually went on a US tour.
Although Mazi Chukz, Sona and Mista Silva haven’t had a song yet which has fully reached the American market they do have a strong global presence and are attaining a large amount of streams. Mazi Chukz was recently awarded by Ditto (music distributer) for amassing over 100,000 streams independently.
Each of these artist have been able to create a footprint at points in their career in the UK and outside of the UK. Often I’ve seen dancers and fans from Europe and Africa outreach to them to express their gratitude for their music.
Coach K is a marketing genius, he understands the art of story telling and he pays attention to culture, sharing the story of a Black British African male is perfect for this era of Black Excellence.
Most importantly Coach actually has an interest in African music, he shared his interest in Burna Boy’s music on Instagram and has said countless times how much he loves Fela’s music.
As much as Coach is a marketing genius, Pee understands and knows the streets, to get an Afrobeats artist buzzing long term in America is no easy task.
Pee’s awareness of Atlanta and his network in the A is crucial to full integration, the clubs need to be hailing the artist as next up.
I’m not opposed to QC signing a Drill/Grime or UK rap artist but I think it’s a much more complex task, the Black British story is not one that’s often told on a mainstream level so relate ability is a major barrier. If their rapping about their culture and upbringing about the UK street life, to a certain degree the fans can’t ‘fact check your gangsta’ which may make it come across as authentic.
When Drake had Giggs on his album, US fans didn’t understand or quite like it and that’s not so much a reflection of Giggs. The street culture and the story of the Black British male and female is just not told.
In a weird way Stefflon Don is great practice for QC to work with a UK rapper, Steff doesn’t sell the gangsta narrative. Her flow and style is easier to digest for the average American, they’ve heard her sound and seen her look before.
Steff mixes Jamaican Patois with English which is what artist like Foxy Brown and Nicki Minaj have been doing for years. Steff also represents the average woman well, she’s a curvy woman and she keeps it real in her music.
To conclude I think QC should sign a UK based Afrobeats artist, develop Stefflon Don further, create narrative around Steff being from the UK and then sign a UK rapper.