On the latest episode of ItsTheReal’s “A Waste Of Time” podcast, Jeff and Eric welcomed the legendary mixtape DJ and A&R Sickamore, formerly at Def Jam and now at Epic Records. Their conversation is peppered with names of some of the top brass in the music biz, like Joie Manda and Craig Kallman, as Sickamore traces his journey from working with Snoop Dogg and Tru Life as a mixtape DJ to working with Lil Durk, YG, and Lil Reese as a major label A&R.
Sickamore A&R’d YG’s My Krazy Life and he’s still working with the Cali rapper on his follow-up, Still Krazy. In a recent Fader interview, it was revealed that YG isn’t working with his go-to producer DJ Mustard much on the next project. Sickamore says Def Jam didn’t really want YG working that closely with DJ Mustard in the first place.
When asked how Sickamore managed to convince a New York-based label like Def Jam to believe in a West Coast artist, Sickamore had this to say: “Well at first it was like, ‘Well you know, he’s doing too much work with DJ Mustard. We should get him in with DJ Premier or something.’ That was a real thing. I was just like, you want me to just leave the hottest producer to go with Premo? I kind of blacked in the meeting. I went too hard.”
He goes on to talk about how “My Nigga” was the straw that broke Def Jam’s back and convinced them to support it. What helped break that record was putting two Atlanta artists (Rich Homie Quan and Jeezy) on the record, allowing it to blow up in Atlanta first and L.A. second. They originally wanted 2 Chainz on it, and then Lil Wayne, but neither happened.
Listen to the entire interview above. It’s an essential discussion for anyone who loves the music industry.