Watts, Calif. rapper Jay Rock has just inked a new deal with indie powerhouse Strange Music, the rising label built by Kansas City’s Tech N9ne.
The 24-year-old rapper was previously signed to Warner Bros. Records, but despite dropping the popular Lil Wayne-assisted “All My Life” single, he sat on the shelf. Fortunately, he was able to get a release from his contract and has signed a deal for a joint venture between Strange Music and his own Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).
“The opportunity to be a part of bringing the next wave of west coast hip-hop to the forefront is exciting to me,” Strange Music CEO, Travis O’Guin, said in a statement. “I immersed myself in that music growing up and it is definitely a part of who I am. I feel like Jay Rock is one of the artists really reviving that west coast scene and I’m ecstatic that he, along with Top Dawg Entertainment, are a part of the Strange Music family.”
“As a label, Strange has more to offer than most majors out there,” adds Top Dawg Entertainment’s CEO, Dude Dawg. “Together, Strange and TDE joining forces will mean the best of both worlds for Jay Rock and other artists to come. With their top-to-bottom label machine and our street expertise, there’s no stopping us.”
Jay Rock recently flew out to Strange’s Kansas City headquarters to seal the deal, and XXL magazine was on hand to capture all of the events of the day on film. In a clip XXL published on their website, an excited Tech N9ne tells cameras: “So, I’m thinking we can say this now. It’s been a secret for the longest. Can I finally say: we gone sign [Jay Rock] right here, right now?”
“Go ahead and tell em, man. Go ahead and let em know,” Jay Rock says in response.
Jay Rock was featured on XXL’s April 2010 cover showcasing its list of the “Freshman Class of 2010.” He was also named one of MTV’s Hottest Breakthrough MCs Of 2010. Obviously, the buzz was there for the Watts rapper, just not the support.
“Man, I’m excited about this. Tech and Strange approached us once I became a free agent and we went to KC to see first-hand what we had been missing and saw why they’re the #1 independent rap label,” explained Jay Rock of his move. “The word had spread about me leaving Warner Bros. and I was getting offers left & right from majors wanting to sign me, but in the end, Dude Dawg and I had no doubts that Strange had the perfect situation for us.”
More than a week ago, Jay Rock hit the road on Tech N9ne’s “Independent Grind Tour 2010”, featuring E-40, Cash Money’s Glasses Malone and Strange Music cohorts, Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun and Big Scoob. The tour will last six weeks and consists of 44 shows in 46 days.
Jay also appeared on Tech N9ne’s latest collabos album, The Gates Mixed Plate, and will cameo, along with the rest of the tour players, on Tech N9ne’s upcoming mixtape with DJ Whoo Kid that hits streets later this fall.
His Strange Music full-length debut, Follow Me Home, will feature appearances and production by some of “hip-hop’s elite,” says a press release, and is due sometime next sprint.
“I was hyped when I got the news that Jay Rock and TDE decided to go with Strange instead of any of the other many labels that were tugging at them,” said Tech N9ne. “I knew that Jay Rock, being the hardcore artist that he is would add another wonderful dimension to our Strange roster. Strange and TDE all day, baby!”