Manolo Rose Talks Signing to Memphis Bleek’s Warehouse Music Group
Last week, Brooklyn rapper Manolo Rose took to Instagram to share interesting news about his latest record deal. Signing to Memphis Bleek’s newly built Warehouse Music Group—which is under Roc Nation—the “God Level” MC posted a photo of the exact moment he signed his contract with a caption that read: “#GodLevel #MARCY #WHMG #ROCNATION @taxstone @realmemphisbleek @warehouse305."
While information on Manolo's signing came to much surprise, his impact on the New York hip-hop scene in such a short period of time is undeniable. Manolo's presence has been heavily felt and praised by music critics and fans. The Brooklyn rapper's contagious singles, "Run Ricky Run," "Super Flexin," "God Level" and more can be heard on the airwaves of different radio stations in the Tri-State area. Soon enough, Manolo caught the attention of several major record labels and execs, who tried recruit him with no success. Holding off on multiple deals that were on the table, Manolo made the ultimate decision to sign with Memphis Bleek's Warehouse Music Group, a deal that was in the works for about four to five months according to Manolo.
With Manolo Rose becoming the latest rapper from New York to ink a deal, the Brooklyn native joins the crop of new NYC artists who are making a buzz in today's hip-hop. XXL caught up with Manolo to speak about his deal with Warehouse Music Group/Roc Nation, his previous stint with Coke Boys and what to expect from him in the near future.
XXL: Tell us about the moment you signed the contract. What was it like to sign with the Roc?
Manolo Rose: It was really tremendous man. It feels like it was just meant to be, you know? Because nobody from my neighborhood got signed to anything dealing with Jay Z since Memphis Bleek. Just to be able to step upon those shoulders and follow those footsteps and be in that lineage just means a lot, says a lot about myself as well.
How did the deal come about?
Really just a conversation that Bleek had with Hov about bringing me over here. Hov just told Bleek, "I’m just going to give you a situation for yourself and then we just do it like that," because they going into a parent company. Bleek went to Hov and he was like, "Have you ever heard of the guy Manolo Rose and Jay was like, "Yeah, dude is dope" and Memphis was like, "Yeah, I’m going to bring him over here to the Nation" and Jay said, "Let’s bring him over here, but let’s bring him through you being that you’ve dealt with him."
So Memphis Bleek and Jay have a separate record label within Roc Nation?
It's Warehouse Music Group and that’s under Roc Nation.
How long did it take for you to get signed? When did the conversation start?
I don’t know when the conversation with Bleek happened. But when they came to me, it probably took about 4 or 5 months to fully get done. I was still in the situation with Coke Boys, so I had to get out of that situation before I could make a move.
So you are no longer with Coke Boys?
I'm no longer with Coke Boys. But we still cool, everything is still very good. French is a good guy, he could’ve ruined this for me if he wanted to, but being that he’s such a stand-up guy he understood. It kind of feels like when LeBron went back to Cleveland, that’s how it feels to me, that’s how it feels to my neighborhood.
Memphis reached out to you about this deal then?
Yeah, he reached out to me. He was like, "Yo, this is what I’m trying to do," and it just made perfect sense. I was just overly excited, but more so proud of the work that I’ve put in. Because like, I’ve done a lot of things as far as musically with no real backing, no real co-signs, no real nothing. And for me, it just made me feel better because I believed in myself, because I had a lot of deals early on, but I trusted in myself and it all worked out.
Would you mind sharing what other record labels reached out to you?
Interscope reach out to me first, Epic reached out, Republic, early on we was talking to the Blue Man Group, Def Jam very early on also. It’s so funny, the dude, shoutout to Polo, he was the A&R at Def Jam. He was the first one that came to me and he was like, "Yo let’s bring you to Def Jam." This was when No ID had just got the job and everything was switching up over there. He even allowed me to use some of their stuff, recording and stuff. The funny thing is when I told him I was signing to Roc Nation, he told me he just got a job over there, that they just hired him at Roc Nation when I was telling him I was going over there. It all kind of stand together because me and him gained a real friendship and not even talking about music, but like talking to each other on some how your day going type of thing. So it made it even better for me.
Prior to getting that call from Memphis, did you guys have a relationship?
My older brother and Bleek were cool before Bleek even signed with Roc-A-Fella, before he even went with Hov. They were kids together. They was running around together at 13 years old. This was a little bit before Bleek did Coming of Age, so they were really tight and I was just a little kid at the time. So you know Bleek done ran off and did everything he was doing. When I came around and I started making music and started making my own rhythms, he came back and was like, "Yo, this is crazy!" We didn’t really have a relationship, but he had a relationship with my brother, I didn’t really know him back then.
Now that you’re signed with Warehouse Music Group and Roc Nation, do you feel more pressure as an artist or is it motivating you even more?
Very motivating and it’s the intent of I got to show and prove. I got to perform. I think that anybody who gets a record deal, if they say they don’t feel like that, I believe they lying. It’s like going to the NBA. If you make it to the league and you get drafted, you like, Yo I got to get in this league and kill, I got to do what I do, I got to show these people why. I don’t want to be the guy that comes in here and is just one and done, or never really pans out, you know what I’m saying? I don’t want to be that guy. It's a sense of pressure but it doesn’t overwhelm me. It makes me feel like I have to do what I know I can do. It’s not for me to change anything, it’s for me to do exactly what I’ve been doing.
What do you remember from the conversation when you were signing at the moment?
Just the fact that they had that amount of respect for what I do. Just the way they made me feel about myself and the fact that they believed in me. That’s the one thing I really remember from that convo. Hov really loved my performances. We are supposed to do Made in America and they allow the staff to pick the artists they want to be on the Tidal stage. Hov chose me and this is before I even knew if Hov knew of me or not. I was like damn. So the dude said Hov chose you to perform and he only wanted to see you perform.
With your new venture, what can we expect from you musically?
We planning on releasing this record maybe next week. It's this record called "Birth,"we already mapped all of that out, the records that we want to release. They letting people know that we coming, now the rest is on me.
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