In case you didn’t catch the exclusive Strange Music podcast interview with Travis O’Guin, here’s one of the highlights that you can’t miss as he talks about his expectations for Stevie Stone and his debut Strange Music album Rollin’ Stone. As it turns out, Strange Music co-owners Travis O’Guin and Tech N9ne expect Stevie Stone to be bigger than Tech N9ne!
Along the way Travis also shared his thoughts on Rollin’ Stone and his favorite songs on the album and also revealed the next music video to come from Rollin’ Stone.
Read the interview below to find out more…
How long have you wanted Stevie on Strange music and why?
Honestly man it goes all the way back to Fulton, Missouri. It goes all the way back to to Columbia, Missouri. The idea was always there to work with Stevie. Everytime we would do a show anywhere in a region in the Missouri or what have you, Stevie Stone was normally the opener. He opened up for us I want to say at least 10 times in Columbia, Missouri. I also really like him as an artist and a person because he’s a cool dude. He’s a really good person. We wanted to work with him for years. We were actually excited and bummed out when he got the deal with Ruthless. We were excited because man this is an opportunity. Stevie finally got an opprotunity. When he couldn’t do it, he’s going to go – man, he’s going to go. Then we found a way to play a part. We did that song with him “Midwest Explosion”, we did the video with him, we put him on tour with us. We were doing everything we could to support him even though it wasn’t on our label. Now when that deal expired and kind of ran its course and Stevie was available, no brainer. Let’s get it done! There’s nothing to talk about. What the hell? Now we’re established enough, we were signing new artists. We actually signed Stevie over a year ago. His record is just now coming out, we signed him over a year ago and kept it quiet for quite a little while, but I’m gassed all the way.
Tech and I were just recently up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and we were having a meeting with a major, major music buyer –matter of fact, the biggest music buyer in the country for physical goods, the lady that runs all the buying for Best Buy. We’re all at a dinner: it’s Tech, myself, Brian, Ben and her and one other person. She asked us “What are your expectations for Stevie?” and Tech, very honestly said “I think he can be bigger than me.” Like and meant it, “I expect him to be bigger than me someday.” That’s a bold statement but that’s how he feels about it: “I think he’s going to do better than me.” I think that’s Tech acknowledging that he’s a little bit off-center, a little bit in the left and that Stevie very well might be able to ride that mainstream line a little better than he can I guess – but without compromise. The buyer damn near choked on her food like “Wait a minute, what!?” and I had to jump in and clarify “This is the first release but we have huge expectations for Stevie. We think that he can be very, very big. Honestly, you just heard Tech say it himself, we think he’s going to be huge. If he can hold on to the wheel.” Which I know he can. He’s already calling me like “Trav, what I’ma do after this tour? We got another tour lined up? Who am I going out with? What are you thinking?” Like I gotta call him back tomorrow because I have a call later on today with the agent, but I gotta call him back tomorrow to outline what the next tour is because he’s like “Man, I don’t want to sit at home, let’s go!” I love that mentality. He’s already ready for another tour and he’s been out on this tour so he’s raring to go. So I think the expectations that Tech and I have for Stevie are massive.
We want all the artists to get as big as they can, we really do. I’ve heard this and I want to address this because we’re in the middle of talking about Stevie and how big we think he can be. A lot of folks out there, especially artists that may want to sign the label or approach the label, but there’s this stigma that “We ain’t never going to let anybody get bigger than Tech is.” Are you fucking kidding me? Are you retarded? So we have an artist that’s blowing up but we’re going to dampen that and try to slow it down?
And cock-block him.
Yeah! So it doesn’t exceed what Tech accomplished? Are you fucking retarded? Tech owns half the label! What are you talking about? Kutt Calhoun could be the next multi-platinum act and we would be fucking applauding it. I would be happy as shit! Krizz Kaliko could go out and sell five million records and we would fucking smile, you know what I’m saying? We would applaud, smile, support and do anything we could to push it as far as possible. Tech doesn’t have that mentality. He doesn’t have the ideology “I don’t want nobody to be bigger than me at my label.” In fact I think he wants several people to be bigger than him so that he might be able to sit down and take a break! That is ridiculous. So what do we hope for Stevie? We hope that he blows the fuck up.
I’ve got a big radio campaign behind Stevie. It’s a little bit later than I wanted it to be but it’s gaining traction. We’re gaining a ton of traction. He had the number one record on college radio. We’re pushing it to urban, CMHR Rhythmic, we also have the video that’s been accepted on all the MTV channels now. You’re going to start seeing it more frequently with “808 Bendin”. There’s a lot of stuff going on with Stevie that we think we can take further than with some of the other artists. So we have huge expectations.
What do you think about Rollin’ Stone? You have the record right in front of you.
I love it. I’ve been listening to the album for probably. Well I’ve been listening to it all year but I’ve been listening to it in it’s final form for about three months. It’s in the player. In every car that I drive there’s a copy of it in there. Again, I’m the type of dude. I dunno, there’s so much on this that I love. I love the way we started out the album because “Get Buck” is aggressive, loud, and rowdy. “808 Bendin” – I love that entire song and I think Tech did a really cool, clever, switched-up-style verse on there. I dig it a lot. Going to “Oneness”. A lot of people don’t know who Peetah Morgan is or who the Morgan Heritage is but that’s a big fucking song. That’s huge. Peetah Morgan. I don’t even know if you’re up on Morgan’s Heritage but it’s big. Look up Morgan’s Heritage. They are to reggae what Pink Floyd is to rock. They’re big dude. That’s a big deal. A lot of people don’t realize that Peetah Morgan is the shit and that Morgan’s Heritage is the shit and people who do their research realize “Holy shit! Okay…I know this dude now.” They probably heard a lot of their songs and never even realized who it is.
“My Remedy” is probably one of my favorite songs on the record just because I like that kind of shit. I like the storytelling. The songs that give you a certain feeling, that’s the kind of shit that I love. “Dollar General” is dope as hell. That’s actually a track that Richie, our publicist and A&R guy, really wanted Tech to do and Tech didn’t have time to do it. Yelawolf did the hook and WillPower sent us the beat and Stevie was like “Hell yeah! I want to do that!” “Dollar General” is actually turning into one of my top songs too. That might be the one we’re shooting a video for in Atlanta. You never know.
You never know. But songs like “2 Far”, “My Life” I love that kind of shit. The song “The Road” talking about the big tour we did, the All 6’s and 7’s Tour in which we lost EMJ. There’s just a lot of good music here man. There’s just a lot of really good music. You don’t have to skip any songs. You let it play all the way through and that’s what I’m trying to accomplish. We’re really trying to only focus on albums and artists that we truly love and that we get great product out of. We’ve even backed away from distribution deals or putting our logo on projects that we might not have normally done. We’re being very, very careful with that Snake and Bat logo and what it can go on. You’re never going to see us do what Master P did in the No Limit days. I don’t know if you know this but back in those days they used to pay him 500,000 dollars if they would be allowed to put that tank logo on the back of a CD. Even if it wasn’t his product they would actually give him 500 Gs to put that tank on the back of a project. It laced him up for a minute but at the same time it diluted his label and his product so much that eventually it fell apart and went away. We are not going to go away. We have to be very careful with what that Snake and Bat logo touches.
– Interview conducted by Jeffrey Nelson, Senior Blog Editor
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