Bryant Mckinnie is the boss of all bosses. He goes to work everyday just like the rest of us. He endures the blood, sweat & tears to become the next best thing; on & off the field. When he's not on the field protecting future hall of famer Brett Favre, he's scouting talent. No, not athletic talent, but those individuals who desire to make it big in the dog eat dog world of entertainment.
As Co-Ceo of Swagga Entertainment, Mr. Mckinnie works twice as hard to ensure that Swagga Ent. puts out only quality products. With Pleasure P as one of the feature artists on the label, they're well within reach of making the label as household name. We recently caught up with Bryant to discuss the label & what heights he believes it will reach in the near future.
*interview was conducted after the Vikings/Pittsburgh game*
BA: How are you Mr. Mckinnie? You guys played a good game, although it resulted in a loss.
BM: I'm pretty good. Yea, it was a pretty good game, it was back & forth.
BA: Well at least you guys are still at the top of your division unlike my Redskins, who are at the bottom of the barrel.
BM: (laughs). Yea, we are. What's the Redskins record?
BA: (laughs) Its not even worth mentioning, so we won't go there. So, lets get back to Swagga Entertainment business, how'd you link up with Pleasure P?
BM: Pleasure P aka Marcus Cooper, we met in Miami. We had a mutual friend that promoted parties & Marcus came to my house for a barbecue & we became friends; started hanging out. I remember we were in the car one day, playing some music & there was a potential artist I wanted to work with & I was talking about how I wanted to start a label. He was telling me had the same goals & everything, & he said we should do this together, we continued to talk about it & he already had the name Swagga Entertainment, so we just went from there.
BA: Ok. What's it like working with him?
BM: Forreal, its ok. He's really busy. You know he's touring, working on albums. He's on his 2nd tour with R. Kelly. He's actually signed to the label. So right now, I'm actually doing a alot of the foot work, because you know he's still an artist. Outside of that, its cool working with him. We help each other out on a lot of things.
BA: I see you're stepping it up in the partnership, always good to see people working together to achieve one common goal. Now, since you're a fan of music, what type of music are you into?
BM: I listen to A LOT of different people. I mean Stevie Wonder, you know when you were young when your mom used to clean the house & cut on the radio while cleaning. She used to have me listening to a variety of different music. Then going away to college, hanging with an eclectic group of people they put me on to different types of music as well, so I'm versatile. I'm not just into hip-hop, I listen to The Dave Matthews Band, Sublime. I can go in any direction with you.
BA: Undestandable, its a good thing to have an eclectic ear, I'm the same way. Now what separates Swagga Entertainment from other major labels?
BM: Swagga Entertainment was kinda supposed to not only be a hip-hop label. Wehave a rock band & you know rock bands have their own swag. Just because you hear the word Swag, you don't always have to assume its only hip-hop based. Everybody has their own swagger, its really universal, not just focused on hip-hop. We actually have acts focused on pop, rock-n-roll & r &b.
BA: I had the pleasure of speaking with Marcus & he mentioned you guys have a few artists such as Sonny Mason, Al B. Sure, Jr, Pretty Money & Mona Lisa, when can we expect to hear something from these few artists?
BM: We're actually trying to put together a Swagga Entertainment mixtape where we'd have a few songs from the artists, so people can pretty much get an idea of what kind of music we're trying to create & give you samples of what they're working with. From there we'll decide which one we'll push first. They're all in their recording phase right now. With Marcus working on his second album & once its completed & pushed out, they'll pretty much come out behind him.
BA: Pretty Money is associated with Trina as well, how'd you guys link up with them?
BM: Well, Pretty Money used to come to my house to record, so that's how I heard of them. I became a fan & Trina & I have been good friends for a while, I told her about the group, & wondered if she'd be interested in working with them. You know work as a joint venture to help get & put them out there. She's been doing a great job, taking them out & doing shows. Opening up for her & they're going to be on her next album entitled Amazing. We all know one another, so we're just going to work together to achieve one common goal, which is to make good music & get them heard. Trina is trying to start a female rap movement herself, you know there's a shortage of those these days. They're working together to try & bring that back.
BA: You're definitely right about a shortage female MC's. Now, where can upcoming artists & producers send their work to for possible usage?
BM: They can send them firstname.lastname@example.org
BA: Thanks, I'll be sure to pass that info along. Now, Bryant, within the next few years, where do you see Swagga Entertainment in regards to longevity?
BM: Honestly, it should grow & be one of the top labels in the industry. For the fact we're not solely focused on one genre of music. You have some labels that are strongly focused on hip-hop. I want to focus on other things. You know, rock-n-roll sells. It sells out shows, their fans BUY their music, you know what I mean. Not a whole lot of bootlegging. So I mean, if you pick & choose the right artist, get behind them, push them how they're supposed to & market them right, we'll be around for a while.
BA: Understood, so it sounds like you're the A&R of the label.
BM: You know why, I'm not supposed to, but I always want to hear the music. When someone brings an artist in, I want to hear their product. I want to see them, I wanna see them perform. You know you have some people who say, Yea, I can rap, but can't move a crowd. I want to see you feel it, get in character. I don't want to just see you there holding a mic, if that's the case, I can just listen to your songs. I want to see the energy. I look for an array of things when I'm working with artists. I want to be drawn to them, I wanna be able to feel their music & personality, you know what I mean.
BA: Yeah, you want someone with showmanship. You wanna know you're investing in something of quality.
BA: I definitely applaud you guys vision & where the label is headed. Especially with the industry being as fickle as it is. Everything starts as with a vision, but seeing it into fruition is something totally different. So congratulations on that. I definitely wish you much success, on & off the field of course.
BM: It is & thank you very much.
BA: Now I surely will be checking you out every Sunday. I tell people the Vikings are the team to watch this year, because my team SURELY isn't. I hope you guys can bring a championship to Minnesota.
BM: (laughs) Thanks, I definitely hope so.