Photo Credit: Harmony Gerber for FilmMagic
In a viral video, Q-Tip is speaking out about why he co-signed Megan Thee Stallion even when no major labels were interested in signing her.
In a clip from Math Hoffa’s My Expert Opinion that recently went viral the rapper shares his lived experiences setting up meetings with Megan and labels before she blew up. One point is made clear, social media statistics were mainly why labels decided to not sign her. Interestingly enough, Megan has gone on to be seen on countless magazine covers and also receive awards and acclaim despite the lack of interest from major labels.
According to Q-Tip, in 2018 when the Houston artist wasn’t a household name he attempted to get her a deal. “We call her house, her mom’s on the phone. I’m talking to her mom like, ‘Yo, I saw your daughter. She’s incredible.” He adds he had an “insignia deal” with Columbia Records and was open to signing new artists. This is what led him to bring Megan to New York where he set up a meeting with Columbia.
Here’s a bit more on the New York meeting:
“The head of the company wasn’t there, Ron Perry, I guess he was detained, but we took the meeting anyways. We sit at the meeting, it’s great. The dude comes back, ‘We saw the views, she’s good, we saw the views and everything, it was whatever. We could give her like $30,000.’ Just say you don’t wanna fucking sign her, B. Don’t fucking embarrass me like that.”
Def Jam was also a label that Q-Tip set up a meeting with for Megan, he was signed with them during that time period. He added Def Jam also was pushing the idea of metrics being why they weren’t interested. “I was like, ‘I can’t do it. I guess the co-sign is not working anymore. The co-sign is kinda flimsy now because they rely on data.”
The idea of a built-in social following is a slippery slope. Budgets for artist development appear to almost be nonexistent for many rising acts. Lasting impact years ago was created with a team equipped to take artists to heights they dreamed of. But, in this day and age, Instagram likes and followers (add TikTok too) are defining factors for talent who are hoping to become signed. It’s no secret that social media traction at times relies on algorithms and even hashtags. Also, who’s to say that something trending on social media platforms evokes emotions when listeners queue it up? Computers don’t have souls.
But where does that leave the co-sign? It might just leave the concept of putting on other artists flailing in the wind. Q-Tip also shared his track record on co-signs, he particularly was around for early periods of the careers of J Dilla, Nas, and Redman.
Before Megan’s mother passed, Q-Tip and the two of them rode around the streets of New York (she shared a clip of this moment). It’s also refreshing that even that early on he took her under his wings in an attempt to assist her with figuring out the logistics that eventually ended up working out in her favor.
2019 was also the year Megan received a Fader cover that pushed her into the forefront of the music industry. For that feature, the A Tribe Called Quest artist shared the following:
“She’s just an amazing MC. She’s barred out. Some people may think her stuff is just over-sexualized, but it is her approach to it. It’s her tact with it. It is very innovative to me — especially to see a young woman like herself being in a position of standing in her power, to stand in her royalty and never let that be shaken. It was just something in her that I really love.”
As time has passed Megan has morphed into one of the most regarded names in the rap space. Tina Snow (2018) led to major attention, and due to the timing, it pushed her high up in the female rap canon, mainly due to her sex-positive inclinations. It was bigger than “Big Ol Freak” though, it was about the momentum that became apparent swiftly after this mixtape took off. What followed were additional projects that went on to be widely listened to, and then she continued working strategically.
Good News, a Billboard chart-topping collaboration with Beyoncé (and Cardi B), and countless unsavory public moments have been Megan’s road to success. Even with all of the pushback years ago, it’s clear Q-Tip has always been a firm believer in Megan Thee Stallion.
Watch Q-Tip’s entire interview below.