Issa Rae calls the music industry “the worst industry I have encountered”

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Issa Rae, whose five seasons with HBO’s “Insecure” ended in a finale this weekend, has plunged more than one toe into the music business. She’s started her own record label, Raedio, and is producing a new show about budding rappers, using her existing career to help kickstart music. But rather than be thrilled to jump into another industry, Rae makes it seem like she’s stepped into a viper’s lair.

When asked if the music business is “a place where great ideas flourish,” Rae replied, “Absolutely not. It’s probably the worst industry I’ve ever encountered, ”she told Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times in a Q&A about her personal and professional experiences with music.

“I thought Hollywood was crazy,” Rae continued. “The music industry has to start all over again. There are a lot of conflicts of interest. Archaic mindsets. Wicked and criminals! It’s an addictive industry, and I really feel for the artists who need to get into it. … It was something shocking “to find out,” she said.

Rae did not express his dismay at the music industry beyond generalities, but did indicate that his feelings were based on a combination of his own experiences creating soundtracks and hearing artists talk about it. that they treat regularly. “I don’t want to be too specific, but even making our own appointments [for soundtracks] with labels or artists, it would be so complicated. And to know how the artists were treated on other labels… When I myself am a creator and I know what I want in relation to a relationship with a production company or a producer, I like to think that we’re more artist-friendly than a lot of other brands and companies out there. I want to renew things.

Rae also hit the Grammys in the interview and singled out one particular record that she believed was unfairly snubbed. “What really depresses me – and it fits Hollywood – is the way music is rewarded. When I think of the Grammys and those other systems designed to reward artistic creativity and uplift artists, I think to myself simply, “You don’t all understand. What are you rewarding?” It’s silly, but I say it anyway: a song like [Wizkid’s] “Essence” – absolutely a powerhouse, and yet couldn’t be properly recognized by the institution that’s supposed to celebrate the best in music – which trips me up. Seeing black people and our contributions to music not being celebrated the way they should be – I mean, these aren’t institutions for us. “

Wizkid’s “Essence” was nominated for a Grammy for World’s Best Musical Performance, but not for Record of the Year. Asked about the omission in a recent interview with Billboard, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “It’s a great record. He’s a very talented artist. I can’t explain why it didn’t succeed, but I really like the record.

Rae had many kind words for the individual artists in the interview, pointing out, naturally, the 2021 hits of Jazmine Sullivan, who recorded a title song for “Insecure” in Season 2 with Bryson Tiller, saying: ” She’s literally pure talent. ”Rae also cited Don Toliver and Cleo Sol as this year’s personal music favorites.

Thinking back on the series, Rae said, “We highlighted female singers and rappers in a distinct way while others weren’t – I’m thinking of TT the Artist and Kari Faux in season 1. … It was one of the mandates – artists of LA. , independent artists. Kier (Lehman, the show’s music supervisor) introduced me to so many new artists that I felt like I got the sound of the show. And then, of course, I do my own research for the people I love. As a music lover, nothing turns me on more than feeling like an artist first.

In a separate interview with the newspaper, Rae opened up about the HBO Max series she just finished filming, “Rap Sh * t”. The new series, in which she does not appear on camera, has the two members of hip-hop duo City Girls as executive producers.

“It’s happening in the world of independent music and it’s a whole different world, a very different story of still being friendship, but trying to make it an industry that doesn’t see it for you,” Rae said. at the Times. “So in some ways there are parallels to my own background, but the world of music is so different, twisted and crazy, as I learn it myself.”

Rae announced his partnership with Atlantic Records for the Raedio label in October 2019. The first artists on the list included TeaMarrr and Yung Baby Tate (who later shortened his name to Baby Tate and moved on to programming at Warner Records) . Raedio’s most recent version, “Insecure: Music From The HBO Original Series, Season 5,” was released on December 5th. The soundtrack of the final season included a new track from TeaMarrr and a new single from Saweetie, “Get It Girl”, as well as contributions from Thundercat, They, Nnena, Josh Levi, BK Habermehl, Mereba and others.


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