Rapper Yung Joc has landed the first major label situation for his new imprint, Swagg Team Entertainment.
The Atlanta-based artist, born Jasiel Robinson, has inked a deal with Jive Records to release the debut album by Chicago trio Hotstylz, who created an online sensation with a satirical track that has since been renamed “Lookin’ Boy.”
“I wanted to put together a team of artists and opportunists to change the pace of music as we know it right now, as far as Hip-Hop and R&B is concerned,” Joc said. “So I went through a lot of different mediums as far as open mics in Atlanta, I went through mediums as far as getting on the radio and telling people to bring their CDs to certain places. All types of efforts to find new talent.”
All concerted efforts aside, Joc discovered Hotstylz quite accidentally, when he was introduced to them by radio and club DJ Hershey, who had downloaded the audio from the group’s YouTube video.
“He gave me a copy of it,” recounts the Block Entertainment/Bad Boy South artist. “My assistant got on the internet, she found them, got in touch with them, flew ‘em down three days after that. I talked to them, we re-did the record. Three days after we re-did the record, we had a deal on the table from Jive.”
The more radio and consumer-friendly version of “Lookin’ Boy,” which features Joc himself, created a bit of a bidding war, the artist says.
He is counting on the interest generated by the song to not only help him garner a larger label situation for Swagg Team, but to also establish the imprint as a front runner for a new wave in urban music.
“With a group like Hot Stylz, there isn’t a lane for what they do,” Joc says. “They’re creating their own lane right now. It’s like taking [Comedian] ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic and putting him in the hood. These cats are from the Southside of Chicago. Don’t get it twisted: although they make funny ass records and they silly, these ni**as is still from the hood.”
The new video for “Lookin’ Boy,” which Joc says closely follows Hotstylz’ original clip, is set to hit airwaves on May 12.
In an effort to let the group’s popularity develop organically, a release date has not been set for their debut album.
“I talked to the label,” Joc explains, “and I said, ‘Look, if possible, don’t hit me with the standard. Don’t give me a album date and make me work towards that date. Let’s look at the growth of their record and their brand, and then let’s put a date.”
Yung Joc’s entrepreneurial aspirations go well beyond the world of entertainment.
The 25-year-old rapper also owns two automobile related businesses and is in the process of launching a new line of sunglasses called Claudio St. James.
Joc is partnering with his father to release the new collection of shades independently of any existing fashion or eyewear line.