Skip to main content




Breaking into Hip-Hop with Rapper R.I.P | #11

We’re chatting with R.I.P about the current state of hip-hop, subgenres and his experience as an up-and-coming hip-hop artist. We’re also covering new releases from Tobi Lou, DaniLeigh, Too $hort, Wifisfuneral, DP Beats and Wiz Khalifa.

For details and tickets to R.I.P’s Decide and Conquer Fashion Show/Mansion Party on March 7, 2020, click here.





Jeff Sloan: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome to this edition of Play the Music. I’m Jeff Sloan. We’ve got Rich Sloan on as well. We’re going to bring on Mick Brege in a second. Hey Rich, how are you man?

Rich Sloan: [00:00:09] Doing great. I’m looking forward to a great podcast today.

Jeff Sloan: [00:00:12] You know, we’re closing out the year with this Play the Music episode, and you know what’s really interesting?

The end of the year is always a chance to pause, take a look at where you are, where you’ve come from. Man. What a cool year it’s been for FanLabel, huh? I would say so.

Rich Sloan: [00:00:26] And many new artists are on the scene and dominating as you’ll read in your FanLabel newsletter this week, and it has been a year where it’s been just really extraordinary seeing what’s happening in the industry and just how dominant streaming has become as the driver of what’s happening in the industry.

With magic-making platforms like Tik Tok out there that are driving virality and driving artists to the forefront that even the best in the A&R world at these record labels could never have predicted. So it’s really a dynamic time and an exciting time to be building your fantasy label on FanLabel.

Jeff Sloan: [00:01:05] Absolutely. And for us personally, you know, having a vision for FanLabel, seeing it really come to life now across 2019, being poised now for an exciting year of growth with lots of new features coming out. I know Mick’s gonna inform us later about some of the new stuff coming out, but we’re teed up for a really exciting year ahead and God, what a gratifying year.

You know, music experiences now there’s lots of technology, lots of new platforms, lots of ways to experience music in new ways, lots of ways to engage more deeply and FanLabel’s offering that kind of thing to our audience in the sense of being able to form a fantasy record label of your own, show the world you know music by picking the artists that you think are going to perform the best and winning great prizes, getting those virtual royalties, rising up the leaderboard, and buying cool stuff in the marketplace.

We’re excited. We really are. And lots of cool features coming out. And I know Mick’s going to get to that in a second, but Rich, with no further ado, let’s get Mick in here.

Mick Brege: [00:01:57] What’s going on, guys? How are you doing? And also, will this be the last podcast of 2019 of the year? My God. What are our, resolutions for FanLabel going into 2020?

Rich Sloan: [00:02:20] Leagues, leagues, leagues, leagues. I’d like to get into a league and kick my friends’ butts.

Mick Brege: [00:02:26] Yes.

You know what? It’ll be really easy to kick your butt in a league judging by your past history.

Jeff Sloan: [00:02:32] I think for me, you know, uh, seeing people really get cool stuff out of the marketplace – that’s going to be thrilling cause that gives them a reason to play. Play and rack up those royalties, rise on the leaderboard, you know, and then buy cool stuff that you’d otherwise pay cash for.

That’s important. And I think, one more thing – artist engagement – we want to see artists start to embrace the platform. We’re seeing it. We’ve actually been asked by a few, we’re holding back on that, but in 2020, we want to see really cool new artists emerging and being broken on FanLabel. And then, you know, bigger name artists, really using it as a way to get the word out to their fans.

Mick Brege: [00:03:09] Two things on my end too, as well. Jumping off of the artist engagement, I would love to see, you know, I’m picking this artist. I’m engaging with them. I want to see them interacting with me as a player as well. I’ve been signing them to my label every single week I want, you know, any artists that I’m most crazy about to come back and be like, “Hey, thanks for being a fan and picking the songs and, and signing me to your label.” That’s what, that’s what I’m interested in.

Jeff Sloan: [00:03:35] So listen, Rich, you know what I’m most thrilled about? We just went on the record with Mick Brege.

He would put our wishlist together. He’s nodding his head to all of it. It’s going to be busy We’re excited. Okay. You’ve got your work cut out for you. There’s going to be an exciting year. All right, great guys. Listen. You guys have an interview to do with a really exciting emerging artist.

This show is going to be largely themed around hip hop and rap. I know our contest this week, the FanLabel Five, will be that Rich. You ready?

Rich Sloan: [00:04:03] Yeah, I’m ready. We’ll let you go. Listen to your John Denver music while we cover hip hop and rap. We’ll take it from here, man

Jeff Sloan: [00:04:07] I’m into it. I’m going to let you take it from here guys, do your interview and then I’ll be back for the song picking just in time to get out in front of my brother.

One more time. Another time. All right. Take it away guys.

Mick Brege: [00:04:20] So we’ve been talking about what’s happening in the hip hop scene here and what’s new and what’s next. So we’re going to take it over to Renaldo Powell, who they call R.I.P., who’s a Detroit-based artist who has been breaking into the scene and has a lot of new stuff to share.

So Renaldo welcome to the show. Thanks so much for joining us on Play the Music today.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:04:38] Thank you. Thank you.

Mick Brege: [00:04:41] Yeah, absolutely. We’re really excited about having you on today because there is so much to talk about, especially you just released a new track earlier this month and we’re really, really digging “Just Venting”, which was just released.

I just listened to it this morning, oddly enough, and it is super solid and there’s a lot to unpack out of it, so I definitely want to talk about that first. But I really want to know, and I know you’ve talked about this before, but first and foremost, can you talk about R.I.P., how you got your name?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:05:05] Yeah, absolutely.

So a lot of times people think R.I.P. is like my initials, like my middle name’s Isaiah or something, but fun fact that don’t have a middle name at all. So that’s not it. But it’s really just a reminder that any day can be your last. And I think a lot of people, they don’t like to think about death.

They think it’s scary. They think it’s something to be afraid of, but it’s literally something that everybody is going to experience. So why not just come to terms with it and realize that? You have a certain amount of time to accomplish everything you want to do in life. So I just keep that front and center in my mind.

Rich Sloan: [00:05:40] Carpe Diem, as they say. Seize the day. Love it.

Rich Sloan: [00:05:45] And is the, you know, mixed question about R.I.P. as your name and really kind of as a brand that has meaning, does that flow through to your songs to your music as well?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:05:57] Oh, absolutely. All of my music. You will hear me pretty much pushing people to do what they want to do in life, or talking about how I made a jump to do what I want to do in life.

And a lot of times people get stuck in the rat race where it’s like, “Oh, I’ve got to have a job, and then I just have to work until I can retire. And then once I retire, I’ll try to live.” At that point, and I just feel like that’s the wrong way to do it because tomorrow’s not promised. So why put all your fun stuff off until tomorrow?

Rich Sloan: [00:06:25] And Mick, you know what I love about what we’re hearing from R.I.P. or Renaldo is this idea of just going after your dreams. I mean, you’re living it. You’re, you’re doing what your message is, which is beautiful. You know, people might say, it’d be incredible to be a hip hop artist and to live that dream and so on, but it’s tough living a dream.

You gotta work at it, right? You got to hustle.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:06:50] Oh yeah. It’s really tough, especially in today’s age, just because everybody and their grandma raps nowadays or sings or they’re pushing something online, so there’s a lot of clutter.

Mick Brege: [00:07:00] How are you,

Rich Sloan: [00:07:01] Our players who are building their fantasy record labels are always looking for what certain artists are doing and what not only their product.

But how they get that product in front of the listeners and ramp up those coveted streams on, you know, Apple Music or Spotify or wherever it may be? So how do you break out of that noise, man? Do you have a strategy to make that happen?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:07:31] I have a strategy. I am still learning. It’s a lot to learn, so I don’t feel like I’ve figured it out.

But one thing that is helping a lot is just being more interactive on social media. I’m going to similar artists in the same city, or maybe the same genre of music and actually listening to their stuff, giving them feedback or you know, telling them what you think about it, and you don’t even have to ask people to listen to your music at that point.

They automatically do it back, so you kind of pay it forward. And yeah,

Rich Sloan: [00:08:03] What about the strategy of doing collabs with those artists where you know, their fan bases now become your fan bases and their social graph becomes your social graph?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:08:14] Exactly. That’s what I was going to say next. Um, I actually just got a message from a guy earlier today who listened to “Just Venting” and now we’re going to do a collab and we don’t have any mutual friends, so it’s going to be all new people on both sides.

Mick Brege: [00:08:29] What I’m noticing too is what you have in your message is really, really different than what you’re getting from a lot of different hip hop artists and kind of what we were talking about earlier with the parallels between, you know, living and dying is creating the music that you want to hear.

And I think, you know, “Just Venting”, it’s resonating with people and it resonates with me. I think there’s an urgency and a lot of your music, and it’s definitely good, this driving urgency and like this anxiousness to walk between, you know, whether it’s like light and dark sides of doing what you’re doing or being anxious and career-focused and getting something to hit and work.

Rich Sloan: [00:09:01] You know, one thing that occurs to me, it’s funny, but history has a tendency to repeat itself and as I’m listening to this music, you know, I. I grew up in a, in an earlier generation than both of you guys on this podcast and you know, the singer songwriter era when I was a little kid in the 70s, did such amazing storytelling.

And then I think really country music kind of inherited that space. But when I listen to hip hop now, and when I listen to your lyrics. I am hearing some serious storytelling, like real life stuff. The stuff that’s on the street and in reality, I think it’s a very powerful medium in general – hip hop right now.

I think that’s where the storytelling is happening.

Mick Brege: [00:09:50] Yup. And Renaldo in your storytelling, where do you think these kind of underlying messages of this drive comes from and with this pressure to move fast? Because I mean, you’re hearing it in these tracks and not everybody has that same sort of drive.

Sometimes it isn’t so story focused.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:10:08] Yeah, absolutely. It’s mostly coming from just where I came from. So, the first few years of my life we were in Detroit, super, super poor. And after that, I ended up being adopted out to Wayne, still to a family that didn’t have much, and you just see a lot of people struggling.

And I was always thinking like, “There has to be a way out of this. It’s been going on for generation after generation or there has to be some sort of change.” So literally since I was a kid, I’ve been thinking like, “What can I do to help not only myself, but my family and the city as a whole?”

So I just never stopped thinking, and because of that, I never stopped working.

Mick Brege: [00:10:49] So cool, man.

Rich Sloan: [00:10:50] I love you, man.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:10:52] Love you too!

Rich Sloan: [00:10:55] Yeah. That was beautiful. I love that fight and that, um, you know, it’s just the American story of like digging your way out and taking your life and your livelihood to the next level and that struggle coming to life in your art form is just very cool.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:11:10] Absolutely is. And I think that’s like the main thing that I want to do. I want to show people that, I came from this and you know, I’m going to reach some great heights, but even if you’re not super famous or super rich or whatever, you might be setting it up to inspire the next guy to do that, or inspire your son and your daughter to chase their dream.

So even if I don’t make it to the heights, I know that my legacy is going to inspire somebody else to do it.

Mick Brege: [00:11:39] Right. And you have the saying on your website and you say it a lot, “As long as you have breath, you have opportunity.” And I think this is something that I, when I was talking a little bit earlier about your music, it seems like this has been like the undercurrent of what you do.

Has this evolved or changed now that you’re in it? You’re making music, you’re really grinding to produce these tracks. Is it still maintained true to you that you have this opportunity and you’re going for it?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:12:07] Absolutely, and it’s actually solidified it even more, because I see that so many different people, they just give up.

It’s kind of like – I don’t know if you saw that picture where it’s two guys digging for a diamond and then one guy turns around right before he has one foot to go. And I feel like that’s how life is. My whole life I’ve been just getting beat up and beat up and beat up by light. But I feel like the next step could be that one where I reach that diamond.

So even if it’s not though, like I said, the opportunity is there and you always have a chance to make it. And the only time you won’t make it if you don’t put that shot in the air.

Mick Brege: [00:12:49] And it does resonate the life or death attitude of you making your art. So that’s a great thing to live by too.

I really liked that quote.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:12:56] Absolutely. Yeah. I’ve put it on my wall in my room is literally like, if I had one sentence to sum up how I think, that’s literally how I think. And sometimes it gets extreme where people are like, “That’s impossible.” And I’m like, “No, it’s not.” And it might actually be right to me.

Nothing’s impossible as long as I’m living.

Mick Brege: [00:13:16] So how has this year changed for you? Has this been your pinnacle year, would you say? And moving into into music and keeping that in the back of your mind to remembering that it’s almost like there’s a trap of thinking that you have something to lose and so now you’re giving it all you’ve got. Has this been your pinnacle year?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:13:33] This year has been, it’s been the toughest year, the most challenging year of my life. I had a job that I didn’t like that was taking up all my time and I wasn’t making music, and this was the opposite of what I’m supposed to be doing.

So I left that, moved to Texas, ended up not getting any income for four months. So you can imagine how that’s tough, but I just didn’t want to settle for anything that I wouldn’t be happy with.

Mick Brege: [00:14:03] Right.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:14:03] And I just bet a lot on myself this year and it seems like all year, you know, I’ve been losing everything, but now, especially since “Just Venting” came out, it seems like everything’s turning around.

So sometimes it’s good to gamble on yourself. And like I said, just hang in there. Like that’s the biggest thing. Hang in there.

Mick Brege: [00:14:23] And now that you’re in Texas, do you still consider yourself a Detroit-based artist, but has moving to Texas, given you a different kind of frame of reference, or is making music different for you now?

What are the differences between the two cities and where you’re at or to two States?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:14:40] One of the major differences is just the job opportunities. In Detroit, it’s not as easy to get a job as it is in Texas. Like literally where I am, you can apply for a job and work the next day. Like people are just looking for people cause it’s one of the fastest growing areas in the United States.

So my company that I work for, they’re building seven new houses every week, and we sell them like it’s nothing. And in Detroit, you know, it’s old houses. Nobody’s really building new because we just have so many little houses vacant. So it’s just a different vibe. And I liked that. It made me a little bit more well-rounded because there’s a lot of oil money out here – huge mansions like 20,000 square foot mansions, like right down the street, and in Detroit, you see the opposite of that.

Rich Sloan: [00:15:30] Do you think that is going to impact how you create music? Like is that going to impact the content or the style or you know, lyrics or storylines in your music now that you have a different experience there in Texas?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:15:43] I don’t think so because I’m, I’m a Detroit artist to the core and I’ll come back to Detroit any chance I get, and my mission is to help out the city of Detroit. I want to help the whole world of course, but Detroit is my home. That’s where I’m going to start. So I have a lot of plans for Detroit.

My biggest show that I’m doing next year is in Detroit, so that’s where my heart is. Those are the people that I really resonate with the most.

Mick Brege: [00:16:11] That’s great. What else are you doing? What else are you planning on moving into 2020? Where are you taking R.I.P. and really what’s next for you?

You say you have this show coming up. When is that?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:16:19] It’s on my birthday, March 7th. So I did a show a year ago on my birthday, maybe two years ago, and it was a great turnout and everything was good, and I told my friend, “Hey, I’m going to double it next year.” He was like, “What? That’s it?” And I was like, “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s just go all out.” So decided to rent a mansion and make it a fashion show/rap concert/party.

Mick Brege: [00:16:45] Wow.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:16:45] Yeah. So the show costs a lot. Like I’m literally maxing out my buying power, but I’m like, “let’s just go hard” because whatever,

Rich Sloan: [00:17:00] Very cool. We’ll, make sure that we put all of the information associated with how people can participate in that event at the landing page, on the website, right Mick? People will be able to get to his website, but also learn about that event.

Mick Brege: [00:17:14] Yeah, absolutely. And if it’s open, going to the mansion party. That sounds awesome. So you know, kind of talking about maxing out with these ideas and really just going for it, I think we’re seeing a lot of artists and what we’re hearing a lot, you know, on the show, is that really the secret sauce is just pushing yourself into a place that makes you uncomfortable. And I think that has made a lot of artists, kind of up-and-coming hip hop artists, take the spot for, you know, the world’s most popular genre and right now it’s trying different things and experimenting and really putting yourself on the line and being out there.

So now that hip hop is in the forefront of the scene, and it’s the most popular genre we have right now, how long do you think it’s going to maintain its spot for?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:18:02] Oh, this is going to be around forever.

Mick Brege: [00:18:04] You think so?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:18:05] Because there’s always going to be popular waves where it’s like, you know, the auto tune and catchy music and that’s more of a phase, I think.

Um, but story telling is never going to go away. People have been telling the stories ever since they could sit around a campfire so that that’s not going to go away. And that’s the core of hip hop. So yeah, that’s going to be around forever.

Mick Brege: [00:18:27] That’s fantastic. I wholeheartedly believe that too. Tt’s coming from this place of passion where it does seem it’s coming from you, then it’s just going to maintain and have that staying power.

Rich Sloan: [00:18:41] We want to see and hear more of your music in the FanLabel app and hope that people can find you when they are setting up and signing artists to their fantasy label.

And we hope we can be part of what really gets you on the radar. And importantly, I think just gets your life message out there with the mission that you have. It would be great if we could be part of the magic for you.

Mick Brege: [00:19:02] Yeah, and something I wanted to know too, really quick, if you could speak on this Renaldo, is where do you think you have expressed yourself to the fullest on any of your tracks so far?

What do you think is like your penultimate track that you point to and say like, this is a reflection of where I’m at right now? Is it “Just Venting”? Is it that release that you were able to kind of capture the essence of what you’re going for and like what you’re trying to do?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:19:24] I would say definitely “Just Venting” because that, you know, I poured my heart into that and I have a lot of wordplay, a lot of punchlines.

I show my talent, but also my passion all at one track. Um, and also my song, “It’s the Green Button,” which is about my upbringing, my brothers, and you know how we were separated and all of that, but those are the two most emotional songs and I feel like that’s more music I’m going to make in the future.

It’s just tapping into that emotion a little bit more.

Mick Brege: [00:19:56] Is your writing process more driven from things that are absolutely current in your life or your past? And how does that look now that you’ve moved?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:20:04] So it’s mostly things I’m going through or things that I’ve been through. Um, but what I wanna do is since I’ve moved it, it does change things because in Detroit, I used to walk outside and see my inspiration.

Now I walk outside and I just see fields of just dust and dirt. So you don’t really get that outside inspiration. But I’ll just tap into more of my emotions, my feelings, what makes me feel happy, what makes me feel sad? Am I making a happy song or a sad song? And then does it go off of memory?

Mick Brege: [00:20:37] Great. And we would love to see you back getting that inspiration from the city of Detroit at some point. And we’re excited you’re going to be back for your show in March, so we’ll definitely link that to Play the Music. And Renaldo, what would you say the scene is in Detroit and how hip hop kind of is broken down and diversified?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:20:58] Oh man, you get some of everything. I would stay the main thing is more along the lines of like trap music or closer to like gangster rap, but with, you know, Detroit has its own. That’s the base for it, but a lot of people are trying to make a switch now because what’s popular isn’t exactly gangster rap right now.

So you get a lot of diversity.

Mick Brege: [00:21:21] Yeah. What would you say is, is dominating aside from gangster rap?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:21:26] I would say melodic rap. So if you can rap with it, sometimes people don’t care what you say, they just turn it on when they’re in the shower or at the club and they don’t care about the lyrics. So that’s what’s popping right now.

Mick Brege: [00:21:39] Something more like Kendrick aligned following more of like a interesting rhythmic structure and things like that. Melodic.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:21:48] Like J Cole “Middle Child,” he still has a lot of substance in it, but he does it with a melody. So that one just went and four times platinum. And that’s exactly you like what is popular right now.

Mick Brege: [00:21:59] So do you see yourself kind of aligning with those two, and I think we’ve talked, we might’ve talked about this a little bit during the interview. Are you kind of aligning yourself within more of the melodic structure? Where do you sit in terms of like your subset of the genre?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:22:12] Yeah, I would say I’m just more of lyricist.

I try to incorporate a more melodic structure when I can, but I’m never gonna sacrifice lyrics for it. So I have some songs that have like just no melody or straight bars and yeah, if you don’t like that, then you can kick rocks. I have other songs where you can tell that I’m trying to be a little bit more, uh, hip with the melody, but still give you some lyrics.

Mick Brege: [00:22:41] I want to bring this up too: “Successful in Their Eyes,” the end of that track, is that the one that I’m thinking of like the last 20 seconds are just really, really driving and you’re just really going for it.

Renaldo, your music and where you come from and honestly where you’re heading.

It’s really good stuff.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:23:14] Appreciate it a lot. I really do.

Mick Brege: [00:23:16] All right, Renaldo

Rich Sloan: [00:23:17] Renaldo, we look forward to hearing you.

Mick Brege: [00:23:18] It’s R.I.P. If you wanna hear more R.I.P., head to slash Play the Music and check out R.I.P’s Work right on our website. You can hear more. Listen to some of these tracks.

Mick Brege: [00:23:36] All right Jeff, you were saying with Renaldo today, we have some really great tracks and we had a great conversation and now it’s time for Renaldo to join us for our FanLabel Five this week.

Jeff Sloan: [00:23:47] This is the part everybody loves. I’m loving it, especially cause I’m on a roll of about, I think six or seven shows now, picking the number one song.

Rich, you’re fully aware of that, aren’t you?

Rich Sloan: [00:23:59] It’s grinding me, man.

Jeff Sloan: [00:24:00] All right, good. That’s just the way it should be. I like it that way. Okay, well more grinding ahead for you, Rich, but who knows? Hey, maybe you’ll pull a rabbit out of the hat this week and get back on a roll.

Rich Sloan: [00:24:16] I started strong and then I started going crazy and taking risks and actually picking favorite songs rather than picking strategically.

Jeff Sloan: [00:24:23] So I think actually this, this is an opportunity to illustrate a point. Of course, we want various listeners tuning into this show, some of which are serious FanLabel players, and they want to pick up tips on how to play better and how to win.

You know, Rich, you really illustrate an important point, I think. And that’s this: you were staying very disciplined in the beginning when you weren’t going with the song you necessarily liked the best or the genre that you were most familiar with or gravitated toward.

You were disciplined and, again, these songs are the songs that are going to have the most commercial success. And there’s a lot that goes into that, and it may or may not be the song you liked the best. Right? And that’s the discipline. That’s the challenge. So just like in fantasy football, you know, you may pick a player that you may not relate to or from a team you may not love.

But if that’s the best player, that’s the player you pick.

Mick Brege: [00:25:11] Exactly.

Jeff Sloan: [00:25:12] So rich, get back to that. Get some discipline, man.

Rich Sloan: [00:25:15] Yeah, exactly. Well, I’ll, uh,

Jeff Sloan: [00:25:17] I’ll get it together.

Rich Sloan: [00:25:18] I’ll see you on the leaderboards, man.

Mick Brege: [00:25:22] Yeah. And you know, today, cause we’re talking about hip hop and rap, these are some of the hardest, well I’ve heard from some players that the hip hop and rap contest are some of the hardest to predict because they all kind of level out in a certain stream count.

And some of them come in and last second hop into the number one spot. So it is the most divisive genre to pick a track from. So this is a pretty hard category going in blind and talking about some of these tracks going off of the artists alone and looking at the collaborators and seeing who’s on the track with them, it seems like that is the best way to play, but the formula of like, Oh, of course it’s going to be the Jonas Brothers or something like that that’s going to be number one. That’s kind of thrown out the window when it comes to hip hop. Everyone is in the same pool. It’s tricky.

Jeff Sloan: [00:26:05] This is going to be tough.

Rich Sloan: [00:26:06] Which contest in the app will people be playing so that they can play along with us?

Jeff Sloan: [00:26:11] Yeah. So this is going to be a “hot new music” style contest themed for the hip hop genre.

So all the songs will be in that hip hop rap genre. And the idea here is again, to pick the song out of the five that we’re going to present today as the one that you think will stream the most. Over the next week. That’s the deal, guys. All right, so let’s dive right into it. Let’s hear some music. How about if we tick it off with a song named “Uncle Iroh” by Tobi Lou. That’s a cool tune. This is from a Chicago-based singer, rapper, songwriter. He’s originally from Nigeria, and cites Kanye West, and Common as early inspirations. So that’s cool. That song’s number one, guys. Ready for song number two?

Rich Sloan: [00:27:06] Let’s do it.

Jeff Sloan: [00:27:07] Alright, this is “Usually” by DaniLeigh, let’s hear it.

Guys doing hip hop and rap on’t hold back. The guys or gals, you know, that’s their feeling, you know? Got to let it fly, right? I mean, it’s in the lyrics. It is what it is. Expressing themselves genuinely, authentically.

Rich Sloan: [00:27:35] Yeah. It is raw and real. And that’s part of the you way to tell a story like we were talking about earlier.

So what’s the backstory on this artist?

Jeff Sloan: [00:27:44] This is a singer, dancer, rapper, choreographer gotten a lot of attention with her “In My Feelings” dance challenge video, which was based on a Drake song and it went viral. I mean, she’s happening.

Mick Brege: [00:27:57] It has the Tik Tok traction. So I’m looking at that first and foremost.

Rich Sloan: [00:28:01] I’m totally digging her sound too. I was impressed. Let’s continue

Jeff Sloan: [00:28:07] Song number three, moving right along this song is called “Information” by Too Short. Let’s take a listen.

All right.This is a rapper, producer, also an actor. He’s been recording music since 1983 or so known for being one of the real pioneering rappers of West Coast hip hop. You guys familiar with that?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:28:38] Too Short is a legend

Jeff Sloan: [00:28:39] Too Short, a legend. You heard it right from Renaldo.

Why is he a legend? Tell me.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:28:43] If you can remain relevant in hip hop for 20 years, you’re automatically a legend in my eyes. Even if I don’t like the music.

Jeff Sloan: [00:28:50] That’s a good point.

Rich Sloan: [00:28:53] That’s a factor, by the way. Strategically, I just want to say the fact that – and I’ve had some success with this strategy in the past, and I’m sorry, I don’t mean to, you know, guide anyone voting for one versus the other here – but I would just say.

When you kind of cross over in listening generations, it could be a winner for you. And it has been a winner for me in the past when I’ve had options like that. So just to note.

Jeff Sloan: [00:29:16] Okay, that’s a good point, Rich. Now I’m moving on to song number four. It’s called “Go Far.” The artists behind this particular song, DP Beats and Wiz Khalifa.

Listen to those names, that’s incredible. I mean, that gets your attention. Let’s hear the song.

Mick Brege: [00:29:44] Wiz is on this track, so now my attention has been turned back to, uh, his year, his 2019 and back to this track. So this is, this is what’s up in my mind so far. I know I’m not allowed to make predictions yet, but I’m thinking about this track.

Jeff Sloan: [00:29:59] Are you familiar with Wiz’s music?

Mick Brege: [00:30:00] Yeah, absolutely.

Jeff Sloan: [00:30:03] You like the genre? You listened to it? Like when do you find yourself listening to this? When do you put it on?

Mick Brege: [00:30:10] So I was excited to talk to Renaldo too, because I think there, in Detroit specifically, you do have like a really, really wide palette for hip hop, and it comes in these different pools and different scenes, and there’s a lot to listen to. And I think there’s like, there’s like the underground styles, which I think I’m more aligned with. you know, like up-and-coming artists who just moved to LA., and then Ronaldo is an entirely different subset of that genre, which is super solid.

Jeff Sloan: [00:30:42] So our song number five is “Split” by wifisfuneral. Let’s hear it.

All right, so there’s our five. This is a rapper songwriter from the Florida rap scene that wrote his first rap at six years old, knew he wanted to be a rapper. He’s making it happen, right Renaldo? That’s the key. So look, those are our five songs, guys. Now our job is to put our ear to work, put our sensibilities about the music business, and what should emerge and why, and you know, which songs should break out the most and have the most commercial success.

Let’s start with Mick.

Mick Brege: [00:31:46] I’m thrown off now. I dunno.

Jeff Sloan: [00:31:53] First of all, it’s good that you’re struggling. I mean, that means the music’s good and the choices are good and it’s a tough decision.

Mick Brege: [00:31:58] Um, so I’ve heard “Usually” before a few times, and I think it just is because it’s like a, it’s, I don’t want to say it’s a viral track, but I do think that she has that Tik Tok audience behind her.

Jeff Sloan: [00:32:13] So you’re going exactly where I’m going. I have to tell you. You’re going with “Usually.”

Mick Brege: [00:32:17] Yeah, I’m going with “Usually.”

Jeff Sloan: [00:32:18] That’s interesting.

Rich Sloan: [00:32:18] DaniLeigh -I am too.

Jeff Sloan: [00:32:21] Rich is going with that too. What do you got, Ronaldo?

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:32:34] Oh man. I’m split between two. I’m split between the Too Short track and the final one. That one that’s more sound that’s popular right now, but Too Short – he has the audience and they’re loyal.

Mick Brege: They’re super loyal.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:32:56] I don’t know if they stream, they might still buy CDs.

Because of that,I’ll go with the last track.

Jeff Sloan: [00:33:06] “Split” by wifisfuneral.

Mick Brege: [00:33:10] Okay. So I’ve got to ask you, Renaldo, do you think we’re thinking along the right lines for picking the most popular song by picking DaniLeigh?

Jeff Sloan: [00:33:26] Is the logic sound? I’m not that familiar with hip hop. I appreciate it certainly, a cool art. But I went with it cause I actually, in this case. Cause I really liked it the most. I thought it sounded the most “pop.”

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:33:46] With streaming, it all comes down to who’s online.

And Tik Tok’s really popular and a lot of, I mean that’s a younger crowd. They’re going to stream all day long, they don’t have to go to work and come back. Do the dishes and all that.

Jeff Sloan: [00:34:04] My 14 year old daughter’s made that perfectly clear, “Don’t bother me doing the dishes, Dad, I’m doing Tik Tok.”

Mick Brege: [00:34:12] So yeah, it was between “Usually” and “Go Far” would be my number two.

Jeff Sloan: [00:34:29] You’re in. You’re on the record. All right. Guys. It’s really cool. It’s great music. Hey, that interview was incredible, Renaldo. Every now and then we get an interesting interview Mick and Rich, you guys did a great job in the interview.

More than that, what comes out of an interview like that is much more than something about the music business. It’s, you know, about humanity, about the person, the quality of the human being, the quality of the character, and man, Renaldo, if anybody deserves great success, it’s you.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:35:02] I appreciate that.

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:03] Just don’t beat us in the FanLabel Five contest though. As long as you steer clear.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:35:10] One thing I wanted to do also, I hate ties, so anytime I thought you would choose a track, I was like “I gotta choose something different.” That is just pride kicking in where logic should property override.

Mick Brege: [00:35:23] I want to say thank you to, you know, in this genre, it’s really, really cool to see, kind of piggybacking off what Jeff said, living by a mantra that follows, you know, kind of the chase after it. See what happens. You have this period of time between, you know, living and dying to just go for it. So, you know, throwing the pride out the window and just, you know, diving in headfirst.

You don’t see that too often. So it’s really cool to have a guest who, who fully embraces that. Thanks so much for sharing and coming onto the show.

Jeff Sloan: [00:35:55] All right, Renaldo, thanks so much for being on Play the Music! We’re going to be following you closely.

R.I.P. [Renaldo Powell]: [00:36:02] Enjoy the rest of your day and a Merry Christmas and all that stuff.

Jeff Sloan: [00:36:04] Happy holidays and moving right along. Now let’s the three of us take a look at how we did last week on the FanLabel Five. You know, Rich did not participate in last week’s FanLabel Five. So Rich, we’ll ask you to sit on the sidelines for this one and just take a listen. Mick, you and I were participants. We did go on the record and pick songs as was Gary trust. Who I mean, man, talk about someone who understands what it means to have a hit song and how you put that in context. Gary is the senior director of the Billboard Hot 100. He’s got, I don’t know, five or six other titles at billboard. That guy’s amazing. He knows his stuff. And speaking of knowing stuff, Courtney Smith, who is an editor and music critic at Refinery29 also joined us the last show and also did some picking in the FanLabel Five.

Mick Brege: [00:36:52] Gary and Courtney were both like these wise gurus of the industry that made me anxious about picking songs with.

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:02] It was nerve wracking, but, uh, let’s review the songs really quickly if we can. The first song was “Like it’s Christmas” by the Jonas Brothers.

Here’s the thing about the Jonas Brothers… We talked about this. You can almost just like put the Jonas Brothers on anything. They’re like a hit machine.

Mick Brege: [00:37:28] This song in particular has haunted me after we did the last episode cause I hear it everywhere I go.

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:41] That might be indicative of something relevant here. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Maddie and Tae. That was the second song that we had in the FanLabel Five.

Mick Brege: [00:37:49] This is the country one, right?

Jeff Sloan: [00:37:51] It is indeed. Yup.

Song number three was “A Hand for Mrs. Claus” by Idina Menzel and Ariana Grande’s. Mick, you and I really took to this song. I mean, just we liked it.

Mick Brege: [00:38:15] Yeah. And it was the “Frozen” thing.

Jeff Sloan: [00:38:18] It was the “Frozen” thing, and you know, it’s got that jazzy pop sound that we liked. But again, our job is to pick the one that has the most commercial success. Song number four was “Holiday-ish” by The Regrettes featuring Dylan Minette – an alternative punk kind of thing. Song number five: “Christmas All Over Again” by Puss ’n’ Boots – a little bit of country in here.

Mick Brege: [00:38:48] Nora Jones!

Jeff Sloan: [00:38:50] Okay. All right, so and with no further ado, here we are. Song number one blew away the competition Mick. You picked it. I did and so did Gary Trust, the song is “Like it’s Christmas” Jonas Brothers at 1.5 million streams.


Mick Brege: [00:39:12] We knew, I mean, it’s obvious it had to be this way. And like I’m saying, it is, it has been, uh, absolutely no surprise considering the radio play that this has gotten. And that’s indicative of something that’s probably streaming well. And yeah, this was interesting that we, on the last episode, in case you’re just joining in for this episode so far on the last episode of Play the Music, we got a chance to talk about with Courtney, a little bit about the story behind this track and how it came to be for the holidays. And that was kind of interesting to see from a production standpoint, their thought process going in. “Okay, we need another hit for the holidays,” but in general, and just another Jonas brothers hit, that’s going to reach, you know, number one, according to Nick Jonas’s, uh, aspirations.

So this was the result of that. Very, very interesting. And also very predictable. So if Rich was on, he definitely wouldn’t have picked this.

Jeff Sloan: [00:39:58] That’s exactly right. That’s the song Rich wouldn’t have to picked. But you and I and Gary Trust did. So that was a winner. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Maddie and Tae, the interesting thing here is that it’s about a 15th of the streams of the Jonas Brothers song getting 113,000 streams. So, great number, but look at difference. It’s incredible. Unbelievable. If you’re going to be in the music business sign the Jonas brothers man, right? There you go. Song number three, “A Hand for Mrs. Claus,” 70,000 streams and Courtney Smith, editor, music critic at Refinery29, she went on the record and made that pick.

That song’s good. Pick number three, not bad.

Mick Brege: [00:40:39] I would have guessed it at number two, just because of the sheer volume of people probably tuning into the album for the holidays, especially coming off of “Frozen 2,” like we talked about. Idina Menzel regardless, just put out a really solid record.

So I’m shocked.

Jeff Sloan: [00:40:54] Yeah. I get that. That’s makes sense. Now again, remember, one of the little tricks here is that, you know, it’s for the period of time in which the contest is going on. So sometimes songs come out a little faster and harder, and depending on where they are in their trajectory, it’s part of the research you have to do.

If you’re going to be a song picker, if you’re gonna play FanLabel, you’re going to win, you got to know your business. All right. Song number four, “Holiday-ish,” The Regrettes and Dylan Minette had 11,000 streams, and song number five, “Christmas All Over Again” Puss ’n’ Boots. 733 streams over the contest period.

Mick Brege: [00:41:25] That’s tough. It’s a bummer too, cause I would’ve picked Puss ’n’ Boots if I was just like, what I would like to listen to – my taste – the jazzier country maybe a little bit. Really it’s just because of my, longterm love of Nora Jones.

Jeff Sloan: [00:41:42] Well, I can’t argue with that. All right, so there you have it. That’s last week’s results. Mick, we’re pretty neck and neck. Are we?

Mick Brege: [00:41:49] Yeah, we’ve been doing pretty good.

Jeff Sloan: [00:41:51] It’s pretty competitive.

Mick Brege: [00:41:53] I’m waiting for us to switch it up and see, you know, I’m going to go on the record at some point in time and do something completely different and we’ll see.

Jeff Sloan: [00:42:02] Careful there. That’s where Rich got himself. All right. Well listen, there you have it. Great interview today. Amazing hearing about what Renaldo’s up to his career, his budding career and where he’s headed and all that great stuff. And then great songs on the FanLabel Five, the hip hop selections that we had to pick from today. That was fun. And hearing about last week’s contest. There you have it. Big wrap up. Before we go, anything we need to be watching for?

Mick Brege: [00:42:26] Yeah, so you know, I was talking about the last episode that we had the marketplace update rolling out, which is great news and we had some changes made to it.

We had new items in the marketplace, and in this next update that we’re going to be launching sometime next week. We are adding even more marketplace updates and we’re changing the way that your label looks. We’re setting the ground for customization to come in the future. So what you’re going to be seeing is new ways to keep track of the contest and challenges that you’ve participated in.

So you can see how much time is remaining, how you’re doing, how you’re charting within the contest and challenges that you’ve played. That includes the challenges, quick picks, and any draft picks that you’ve made, and you can see how much time’s left and jump in and swap those picks out too if you want to spend a draft pass.

But really what we’re trying to do is allowing users to keep track of how they’re playing and give them a great snapshot of what they’re looking at and how they participated and how they can do better in the future so they can earn the most royalties possible. So you’re going to be seeing a lot of changes.

Oh, and I can’t forget about this too. One big thing that we’re adding, which is indicative of more things to come, which is very exciting for us. You’re going to be able to follow other people and get followers now, so other people, your friends can keep track of how you’ve been playing or you can follow their profile or their label and see how they’ve been trending on the feed.

So keep track of your friends. We can keep track of how you’re doing, I could watch your picks. I can see how Rich is doing. Anyone of your friends setting the groundwork. As we’re saying these little incremental updates leading to bigger things, what we have coming up leagues, leagues will be very exciting.

Jeff Sloan: [00:44:05] You know what? It’s like Christmas. It can’t happen fast enough. You know, all these new features. It’s such exciting stuff. We’ve got a roadmap. All of these things are mapped out every day. We’re pushing you as hard as we can, and you and the team, so you get these features out and a really fun stuff.

It’s great. Hey, speaking of Christmas, well, it is indeed. The season is the season. Merry Christmas, man. What an amazing year for me and Rich to have met you, brought, you on the team, worked together, had this vision, put it, made it a reality together. It’s been really thrilling and working with you is thrilling.

I’ll tell you that right now.

Mick Brege: [00:44:41] Thank you both as well. I was actually, I get a, I got a TimeHop notification that I was in the office. Uh, for the first time, like a year ago, on Friday of last week. Amazing. So that’s crazy.

Jeff Sloan: [00:44:56] I remember you came in for the interview.

We were talking, presented you with the vision. Of course, you already know what product you’re going to be talking about. You got about five minutes into your presentation to me, if you will, and what you’re all about. And I interrupted you at that point. I said. You are the guy. I mean, I just didn’t even need to hear anymore.

That’s great.

Mick Brege: [00:45:15] Yeah. Well, I feel the same about you guys, the team family, but we’ve, we’ve really had something special here. And you know what? It also is about the audience that we’ve accumulated in about the year period that this has been rolling, right? Like since we’ve launched in may, we have a ton of new players who are dedicated to FanLabel and watching it grow.

So it is as much owed to them. Of course, in this year as it is to what’s going into 2020 is, is really, we can’t think our users enough so far. So we’re really appreciative of them and we can’t wait to, you know, take their feedback and take their suggestions and listen to them and also present them with new stuff.

Jeff Sloan: [00:45:52] There we go. And I think on that, let’s take it out. Hey, how about a little Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” after 25 years now, the new number one song after 25 years. This song is the song that took the longest to make it to number one in music history. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” Let’s take it away. Happy Holidays out there, everybody. Merry Christmas. Before we sign off, we want to thank our production team, Cara O’Blenness, Kristin Kujawa, Andrea Garcia, Daman Nallamothu, Ryan O’Blenness, and our engineer with Mark Pastoria. Download the FanLabel app from the Apple store or the Google play store and play FanLabel today.

Hey, Rich, I’ll see you next week.

Rich Sloan: [00:46:38] See you on the leaderboard!


Play the Music is powered and distributed by Simplecast.

Tune in next week for an all-new episode of Play the Music™!


FanLabel Staff

FanLabel Staff

Enjoy great music and fun contests as you operate your own fantasy record label in the FanLabel app! Pick the songs you think will rise on the contest charts. Compete for the top spot and become a music mogul!