“I’m already a CEO to be honest, but I want to keep learning about all of the other areas of the entertainment industry. Music is just the beginning. I want to take our brand into film, television, interactive, and digital as well.”
Check out the interview with Mr. Palmer exclusively on Skilly Magazine Online.
Skilly: Tell us where this all began. What is your history in the music scene?
Mr. Palmer: I was raised on the Southside of Chicago, IL and began at a young age writing lyrics and performing and gained a loyal local following. I broke into the industry as Black Majik with the group Soldierz of War. After we broke up I changed my stage name and became Black Kadafi™.
After being a regular opener for a lot of major acts like Pitbull, Ice Cube, Yo Gotti, and E-40 over the past 5 years, I decided to start my own label. Right after I graduated from college I incorporated Do4Self Records with my manager and business partner Ehren Muhammad.
The first release of the label was Mr. Palmer’s The Palmer House in 2013. We wanted to change the image of the independent label owner that people got used to seeing. I was the hustler trying to break into the industry, but grew into The Self-Made CEO™ and made my place in the industry. That is the movement we are kicking off.
What are the best ways to promote yourself as an artist? Any tips you can give us?
Make connections. Go to other artists shows and show some support that really pays off. Also I got this from my manager, Muhammad, who is now the label president. He was always getting peoples’ emails, phone numbers, and finding out if they owned a business. We would send them t-shirts and promo materials and place their logos on our event flyers or sites. They would actually donate and became sponsors.
We actually started selling more shirts and apparel than music and the sponsors started selling our apparel as well. It keeps our names out there between music projects and helps our business supporters to bring in more business to their locations.
What do you ultimately want to become in your career?
I’m already a CEO to be honest, but I want to keep learning about all of the other areas of the entertainment industry. Music is just the beginning. I want to take our brand into film, television, interactive, and digital as well.
What is the hardest thing about being in the music business?
Building the right network. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and that is the truth with any field. Honestly, it wasn’t until that I started working Muhammad that we made more connections and built the right relationships. He’s the marketing and branding guy. We take our vision and continuously link up with people who share that vision. That’s the only way to make it in this business. You have to have the right team in order to get anything accomplished.
What is it like in your city? What is the music scene like, and how is it like living there overall?
Chicago is tough for couple of reasons. We are the big city of the Midwest so a lot of people forget that we make major moves here sometimes. When people think music they think New York and L.A. but jump over Chicago and it’s our fault. We don’t promote and push our own artists enough. So other cities either adopt our artists or the artists leave and just stop reppin’ Chicago.
We need to collectively support Chicago artists, no Westside, Southside, or Northside – just Chicago artists getting love from the whole city. That will put us back on the map in a major way.
What are some of advice you can give and share to other artists who are still trying to come up?
It’s pretty simple. Learn the business first in order to protect your art and your money, learn who the key people are and their roles in the industry, and learn how to network with diverse business people.
Promote yourself. There is a reason why guys like Diddy, Khaled, and others go so hard publicly. They don’t need others to promote them because they do for self. Don’t wait for a label or a club to promote you, you go out there and make sure the world knows who you are and what you do.
Build a team. I was out there for years before I linked up with Muhammad. He takes care of the business, marketing, and he focuses on the movement of our brand. I’m in the studio, grooming artists, producing and writing. Then we merge the art to the business and progress from there. That’s what a team does. Align with people who are masters at what they do so you can focus on what you need to do that way collectively you guys can win.
What is the best thing that’s ever happened in your career?
So far it’s the day I incorporated the label but that was just the beginning. Every year I want to have a new “best thing ever.”
What is your inspiration?
Just to use music as a way to vent. I was inspired by Scarface and Too Short and I enjoyed just how real they were on each track. I wanted to be the same type of artist.
Do you feel anyone can be successful now in today’s world of music?
Yes. Anyone can, they just have to believe in themselves and find what works for them.
Where can we find you on social media?
Official Website: www.do4selfrecords.com