In hip-hop’s 40 year history, few have been as vilified and demonized as the record executive. With the culture of the four elements seemingly always at odds with “the industry,” one executive is finally taking to wax to strike back. This week sees Anyextee, the CEO of Amalgam Digital, put out Executive Decisions, his debut album where he not only discusses the ins-and-outs of his life, but the stresses that come with running the label home of Max B and, at one point, Lil B and Joe Budden. We spoke to Anyextee about making the transition from the boardroom to the booth.
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You’ve been handling the business side of things within the hip-hop culture for many years now, when did you begin rapping?
I just started rapping seriously a few months ago. I’ve been around the culture forever and I used to DJ. It’s been a mainstay my entire life. But taking it seriously and recording it professionally just started a few months ago.
Do you recall your first exposure to hip-hop?
Absolutely. It would have been in the mid-80s when my older brother would be playing Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys, Grandmaster Flash, and Melle Mel. The sound was very distinct and stuck with me. The first cassette that I purchased was the DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince’s He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. The second thing I purchased, my first piece of vinyl, was the Gang Starr single “Just to Get a Rep.” In ’89, my brother passed his turntables down to me and his records, so I just organically began being a DJ.
What made now seem like the right time to put out an album?
That just kind of happened organically. I think it was just a culmination of things. After spending so many years behind a desk as an executive, it got to a point where I needed to channel my creative energy, and being a rapper I got to voice that a bit more. Also, I’ve managed a lot of different artists, I’ve been through a lot of business relationships and it got to the point where if I’m going to invest money and go in, why not invest in myself?
You know, it gets to a point where you can do everything for an artist. You can put them in a studio, you can hook them up with producers, you can bring them to all these music festivals, you can bring them up to BET and MTV, get them on the blogs, get them in the magazine and find a lot of value in them. But I’ve found, especially in the younger generation, there’s a lot of self-entitlement where they’ll [feel] if they don’t reach the levels of success of others on the label like Max B or Curren$y, they get stagnant and discouraged. And who’s the first person they’re going to blame? It’s always going to be the label or the manager. It got to the point where I kept going in these same cycles, who am I going to invest in? Why not invest in myself? The business acumen is already there. And as far as the creativity and so forth.
Did you always foresee the project being you giving the executive side of hip-hop business, and do you think that might be a conflict of interest?
In terms of a conflict of interest, the biggest artist I was managing was Max B, who is now incarcerated. Right now, things have kind of opened up that allows me the flexibility to perform as an artist myself without an effect on anyone that I’m dealing with. As far as approaching it, it wasn’t like I set out to make an album about the executive lifestyle, I’m going to make an album about my life, so in that sense it’s genuine. I have a very unique perspective to bring to the table, and beyond that I’m not the average record executive. I’m someone who grew up in the culture collecting records. I got a lot of things going on, so it’s not just about being an executive. It’s about me and my life as an executive, what it’s like as a daily operation and the personal aspects of my life and personal growth.
Your album was also made with your interest in Cymantics, the science of generating feelings through music. How did you get involved with that?
It’s an experiment, there’s not a whole lot of artist who have done it. I wanted to bring in the healing treatments used in tones that have been scientifically proven to help psychologically, mentally, spiritually and physically. For instance, at 836 mHz, that helps activate your penal gland, which is responsible for your imagination and creativity. There’s tones like the Reich tones that have been proven to kill E. Coli and kill cancel cells. It’s deep and there’s a lot to it.