Longtime readers of XXLMAG.com will remember Sickamore from our original team of bloggers when the site launched in 2006. When he wasn’t blogging, this mixtape DJ/tastemaker/entrepreneur also doubled as the Director of A&R for Atlantic Records, where he worked on projects like Saigon’s The Greatest Story Never Told. According to a blog post titled “Resigning” on his personal site “Thank God I’m Famous,” Sick resigned from his day job last week. Read the full entry to hear his reasons for leaving and his plans for the future.
CLICK HERE to read Sickamore’s full blog entry, or check it out below:
I’ve resigned as Director of A&R at Atlantic Records.
Gave my notice last week Tuesday, though today is my final day in the office. No, I’m not leaving to take another job. Nor was I fired attempting to cover it up. I’ve just lost faith in the major label system. I’m a guy of integrity so the last thing I’ll ever do is stay somewhere just to collect a check or say I’m “an A&R”. That’s just wack. Though I’ll continue to consult for Atlantic, Asylum Records, Columbia Records as well as continuing to help the artists I’ve signed like Wynter Gordon, Slim of 112 and of course Saigon.
People who know me know I’m very passionate about my career. I started two businesses (record store in 2002 and The Famous Firm b/k/a I Can Make You Famous) before I had this job. I didn’t take this position for the money. When Hip Hop first mentioned it to me in December 2005, I was hesitant. My lawyer laughed when I told her about it: “You’re going to get a job?!?!?! You make more money on your own! Atlantic is about to fold! You’re crazy!”. But I knew the experience would be vital for my career growth. So I took it. I told myself “give it at least two years.” That was February 2006.
I really enjoyed my A&R family at Atlantic. Craig, Gee, Jean, Brian, Darrale, Mike, Marsha, Walter, Dara, Lanre, Andrew, Kels, Aaron, Gina and Damon are all like brothers and sisters to me. Though Hip Hop leaving within the first couple months was tough, they made it a smooth transition for me. I had signing power and the freedom to roam all across the country in my search for finding new talent. My frustration came when it was time to put the music out (i.e. The Greatest Story Never Told). I’m not going to sign talented people to a label and have them sit. I rather bet on myself and get them hot in the streets.
If most people were in my position, they’d just ride it out. I’ve gotten all kind of advice from “Just take the checks and do your own shit anyway” to “Just stop coming in the office until they stop paying you” or my favorite “Do the bear minimum so they don’t bother you”. But I’m an idealist and believe this is the main problem in the music business today. That train of thought keeps great artists unsigned and the wrong people in the position of power. One of my friends jokes “You’re keeping it real. But this is when keeping it real goes wrong.” We’ll see if he’s right. But you only live once. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time in a place where I’m not productive. I want to win!
As I said before, I’m not going to take another job. Atlantic was my first gig and probably going to be my last. I’ll only work as a company through The Famous Firm. We represent and develop talent at The Firm. Yeah we rep singers and rappers but specialize in non traditional talent like athletes, photographers, writers, graphic designers, clothing lines, studio engineers, stylist etc. We can help develop and represent anyone with talent. We use our in house non traditional talent to help develop new talent. It’s all about talent!
I’m a firm believer (no pun intended) in the idea of “you can’t do new things with old people”. That’s why I’m a part of a 10 person operation at The Firm with the average age being 22. Shout out to Sade, Eli, Sterling, Mike, Michael, Nina, Jay, Pesos and Dan. Everyone is young, hungry and learning how to be entrepreneurs. I have a goal at the Firm, to make this everyone’s last “job”. I want my team to leave running their own profitable business, breeding a new generation of entrepreneurs.
Lastly, I want to thank Atlantic for the opportunity, grooming and experience. I wouldn’t be able to help change the future of the entertainment business without it. I’m lucky to be able to depart on such great terms. Everyone was very understanding and supportive of this decision. I’m also excited for certain people to stop calling/e-mailing me under the pretense of me being “an A&R” rather than what I can really do. I want people to fuck with me and the Firm for us, not because we’re tied to a major.
I love this blog. Thanks for listening. All my contact info is exactly the same. Sickamore@TheFamousFirm.com.