Everyone in hip-hop thinks they have a great ear. In the case of Riggs Morales, it’s not a question. The New York native earned his stripes as a journalist for The Source—digging through demos for the magazine’s venerable “Unsigned Hype” column—and discovering a then-unknown rapper named Eminem.

Always looking ahead of the curve, the Vice President of A&R and Artist Development at Atlantic Records is a driving force behind bringing hip-hop to Broadway with the multi-platinum Hamilton album. “I go crazy,” he said about the first time he saw the Tony Award-winning musical. “You hear the Mobb Deep references. You hear the Big Pun references. This shit is just flawless.”

In this episode of XXL’s Shot Callers, Riggs shares his story from journalism to A&R, working with everyone from 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa to Lin-Manuel Miranda and what keeps his ears inspired after 20 years.

Check out the latest episode of Shot Callers here and make sure to subscribe in the link to check out the rest of the podcast episodes.

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