Yung Joc is Free — Rapper Talks Departure From Block Ent., Lessons Learned & The Future
Being in business with someone is hard. It's even more difficult when the person you're doing business with just happens to be someone you have a personal relationship, because in the business world, somebody has to get burned. That's just the way it is. Yung Joc learned this time tried lesson the hard way when his relationship with Block Entertainment began disintegrating back in 2008.
The man, who could once be considered the flagship artist for Block Ent. -- due to his rapid ascension in the rap scene -- found himself at odds with his former home. After a long, drawn out battle, Yung Joc finds himself with an opportunity that many artists in his position wish they could have, a second chance, and he plans on using the knowledge he gained to make the most of it.
BallerStatus.com: So what's going on with the whole label situation for you?
Yung Joc: I just got my release and one of the terms of the release was a defamation clause, so honestly, I can't really talk about it too much. I've been released, severed the business ties. May God bless them and their regime, but I'm doing my own thing now.
BallerStatus.com: So what's in the future for you as far as labels and future releases?
Yung Joc: I'm actually in negotiations right now with a few labels. I just choose not to call out the different entities. Things are looking very good, God is very good. When I was going through this whole thing with the Bad Boy/Block situation, I didn't know what the other side was going to be. I didn't know if there was going to be light on the other end. I was hopeful, but it's actually working out for the best. I ain't mad, nobody's mad right now, everything is good.
BallerStatus.com: How do you feel about the Grind Flu album and the success from that?
Yung Joc: It came out good. I never stopped doing shows, but of course, I was only doing weekend dates before I dropped my album. We dropped the album and we did 300,000 downloads the first week. We're consistently going 15 here, 20,000 there. To move forward for the next situation everything has been good. I'm picking up more dates, so that just let's me know that it's been received well. I'm in a very good space at the moment.
BallerStatus.com: Because there wasn't any label involvement with Grind Flu and you were doing everything by yourself, do you feel that allowed you to have more creative freedom to make a better album for your fans?
Yung Joc: Totally. I totally feel that way. Also, it was a good experience for me as a business man to think of an idea and it actually be tangible. For it to manifest and do well like originally planned out, that makes me feel good and it's an accomplishment to myself. Some people still try to call it a mixtape, but it's not a mixtape, it's an album.
BallerStatus.com: So with that new deal that you're working on, are you trying to make sure that you're allowed more creative freedom this time around, so you can do more projects like Grind Flu?
Yung Joc: The type of deal that I'm doing, gives me all the freedom I need. I have control, leverage on budgets and everything just to say the least.
BallerStatus.com: It's been awhile since we heard an official studio album from you, but since then, you have been making a name for your label Swagg Team Ent. Can you talk about that for a minute?
Yung Joc: That's my label. I'm actually working on deals for that as well. Jive is actually the first to put a deal on the table, but there are some other competitors in the marketplace for the label. I'm just trying to make it work and hopefully it will all make sense.
BallerStatus.com: How long have you actually been working on building up Swagg Team Entertainment?
Yung Joc: January of 2008. Well actually, more like the end of 2007, October 2007, when I choose to step away from Block Ent. That's really when I officially parted ways with Block Ent., as far as not wanting to do business with them anymore.
BallerStatus.com: Would you say what happened with you and Block Ent. is something that commonly happens to artists, or was that more of an isolated incident?
Yung Joc: It commonly happens because one thing about human nature is as long as you're living, you're going to grow and as long as you're growing, your going to mature and as you mature, you're going to start to view life differently. People grow apart, business ventures grow apart, that's just human nature. It's nothing new, it's not like this is the first time it ever happened. This is some sh** that has been going on since music first started. Music business, entertainment business, please believe anytime the word "business" is involved, there are going to be some ties severed in the future.
BallerStatus.com: What would you say learned from that whole situation?
Yung Joc: I learned a lot to be honest. I learned to be a better artist. I learned how to be a better man. I learned how to conduct business in a positive manner, but I also learned it's ok to get irrate in certain situations to get your point across. You can use that as a last resort, or you can start off with that just to let people know that you're not playing. Respect is definitely a major factor and is key in this. Those are just a few of the fundamentals that I learned throughout this whole situation.
BallerStatus.com: So what are you going to make sure you different this time around?
Yung Joc: Well I'll be in charge of a lot of my stuff this time around, from my marketing to pretty much everything. So this is going to be one of those situations where I just got to put my best foot forward and make sure that I don't make the same mistakes that I've seen made and that I've made myself in the past.
BallerStatus.com: Could you see yourself working with those guys again sometime in the future?
Yung Joc: Definitely. That's what the game is about man. You join forces, you disperse and somewhere down the line, it happens again. Either you bump heads or you join heads. You really just never know with it. I'm not going to yes, but I'm not going to say no. There could come a time when we all get over this and say "haha" and get a drink or two. It's all about how you go into things sometimes too; the level of respect is different. I felt as I grew as an artist, the level of respect for me as an artist dropped some between me and that regime. As a businessman and CEO, when I started becoming more successful, either I was seen as a threat or it just wasn't respected.
BallerStatus.com: Speaking on working with people, are there any other artists that you would like to work with that you haven't been able to get a hold of?
Yung Joc: I would like to maybe do something with Wayne. That's something that's in talks amongst some other things. There's some business with Wayne as well, so I'm keeping it on the low for now.