A Waste Of Time with ItsTheReal
#311: Atlantic Records VP of Rap Promotions Sam Crespo
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we call our longtime friend and VP of Promotions at Atlantic Records Sam Crespo to discuss growing up in The Bronx in the 80s, falling in love with illustrations and music, traveling all around New York City to be a part of the hip-hop, metal and punk scenes, going to college and briefly studying to be an accountant, a professor's advice that changed his career path and ultimately his life, starting in the music business in Relativity Records' warehouse, moving into their sales office, meeting fellow Bronx native/Puerto Rican/hip-hop head Fat Joe, making a name for himself as a street promotions leader for Tommy Boy Records, what it was like to meet Kevin Lyles in interviewing for a job at Def Jam at the turn of the century, his friendship with N.O.R.E., meeting DMX the weekend Sam was about to get married, working Joe Budden's first album and the difference between Focus and Pump It Up, why Freeway's Flipside took 20 years to fully impact, moving over to Atlantic Records and working with T.I., DJ Drama, Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Uzi Vert, Jucee Froot, how he's kept such a high level of respect around the business through his entire career, how he and his wife Shawnte have raised their 14-year old daughter, how Sam was diagnosed with cancer, fought it and has been in remission for five years, how each of his record companies have supported him through both personal ups and downs, his favorite moment in visiting Hot 97 with Angie Martinez, and so much more!
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The Blog Era!!!02:36Hey guys! Remember the podcast we did for five years straight where all of your favorites would stop by our apartment for a 90-minute deep dive conversation? Well, the pandemic brought that to an end... as we're sure you noticed! But ever since then, we've been quietly and dutifully at work on a larger concept - an elevation of A Waste of Time... called The Blog Era. It's a fascinating look into how the music superstars of today were put on by a small group of kids behind keyboards. This 10-part docu-style audio series - which traces the rollercoaster ride of 2007-2012, when hip-hop met the internet - features stories from 150 influential voices, including Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Joe Budden, Bun B, The Cool Kids, and many, many more! If you liked A Waste of Time, you're going to love The Blog Era! The first two episodes are available RIGHT NOW - search The Blog Era wherever you listen to podcasts!
#318: Greg Mayo01:54:02This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we get on the phone with our best friend, musical partner and third creative partner in ItsTheReal, Greg Mayo! Greg discusses growing up in a creative household, the son of a painter mother and a touring musician father (who played with, among others, Hall & Oates, Foreigner, Aerosmith and Peter Frampton, most famously on Frampton Comes Alive), how he initially shunned his musical side to focus on baseball, what it meant when his parents divorced, how listening to ONYX, Cypress Hill and LL Cool J informed his rhythmic thinking, how being competitive with his brother took his learning guitar into overdrive, how he focused his musical ambitions through high school bands and into studying jazz composition in college, and the unforgettable weekend his dad flew in to feature on a handful of tracks on Greg's first solo album. Greg takes us back to the phone call he got his sophomore year at Purchase College informing him that father passed away in Europe on tour, how he's moved forward in living life, the advice that his dad left that carries through to everything both work and personal, and how he's since responded when dealing with the loss of other close family members, including his brother. We reflect on our collaborations through the years, from writing and recording mixtapes as teenagers in Greg's basement to dreaming up sketches to give to the internet to stepping on stages we never could have imagined, the core values and good energy that surrounds that creativity, and how that same passion to make each other laugh is what we strive for today. All that, plus how's Greg's gotten into doing film scoring, how he became a staple at NYC clubs like Rockwood Music Hall and The Bitter End, who he leans toward between The Neptunes and Timbaland, why he didn't attend his high school reunion, where life could have taken him in a sliding doors moment, another classic Greg Mayo car story and so much more! Wanna collaborate with Greg? Go to GregMayo.net
#317: The Return of Aminatou Sow01:06:49This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome back podcaster, businesswoman and NYT best-selling co-author of Big Friendship, our friend Aminatou Sow! With Amina on the phone, we discuss the expectations when signing a book contract, the relationship between authors and the publisher's editor, the benefits of bringing on an additional editor, who exactly Ann and Amina wrote their memoir for, what they learned about friendship overall and specifically in a quarantine, and the feelings that come with presenting art to the public. We talk about Trump's disastrous response to COVID-19, his disastrous presidency and his meaningless game show Celebrity Apprentice, the pod family Amina has lived with over the last six months, the must-watch elements of Tik Tok, how NYC has changed during this crisis and how disappointing Bill De Blasio has been as mayor. All that, plus DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Logic, MTV, Nick Cannon and much more!
#316: Director at New York Civil Liberties Union Yusuf Abdul-Qadir01:08:02In this special episode of A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we speak with Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union, who recently went viral, thanks to his powerful message about police policies, spending and officer accountability concerning his hometown of Syracuse, NY. We speak about bringing meaningful change to the local level, the national level and the transnational level, how a message is disseminated and the role media should play, and whether Syracuse's current leadership can be trusted with enacting forward movement. Yusuf discusses growing up the youngest of eight children, the differences in being raised in The Bronx vs. Rockland County, the full effect his father's loss had on his life, and the joy he's found in raising his own young daughter. We get into Yusuf's time as an undergrad at Syracuse University, the Islamic faith's belief that one should lead when called upon, how he found activism and took it global, and why he came back to raise his family in the city of Syracuse. All that, plus the challenges in running for high school and collegiate office, whether this country will ever even the playing field for children regardless of where they grow up, if there's any light fare he can watch to get his mind off of things, and much more!
#315: Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Teflon Don with Rick Ross and Friends01:09:56This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we're celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Rick Ross' classic album Teflon Don by reliving the making-of with Rozay and his collaborators Jadakiss, Styles P, Lex Luger, Spiff TV and Chris Atlas as well as analysis from The New York Times pop critic Jon Caramanica!
#314: Sheek Louch01:29:13This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we call up our friend Sheek Louch, the Silverback Gorilla, 1/3 of The LOX and 1/4 of 2 Jews & 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies for a super dope and meaningful conversation about Bad Boy, Ruff Ryders, D-Block, Yonkers, Harlem, The Hamptons, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Puffy, Biggie, DMX, Swizz, Suge, Heavy D, Carl Thomas, The Neptunes, The LOX's group projects and solo deals, the joys of fatherhood, growing up in YO, working at Burger King, working the street corners, playing football, breakdancing, watching his mother get a masters degree and invest money in different businesses while raising her son as a single parent, suffering the loss of his mother to cancer far too young, signing to Bad Boy and buying into the Shiny Suit energy, the thinking behind the Let The LOX Go campaign, how Suge Knight tried to sign the group, how Dame Dash offered to sign the group, giving Swizz his name, why we've waited so many years for a long-form LOX album, and much more!
#313: Big Boi and Sleepy Brown01:32:18This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we make two phone calls to Atlanta legends, chopping it up with Big Boi and Sleepy Brown to discuss their collaborative project The Big Sleepover and their individual journeys from Savannah to A-Town to international funk superstardom, as well as stories about Organized Noize, TLC, Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Pimp C, George Clinton, Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri, Bobby Brown, Ludacris, Bubba Sparxxx, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Sade, Brick, The Source Awards, The Grammys, Andre 3000's driving, the International Players Anthem video shoot, who came up with the double-CD idea for Outkast, owls, bengal tigers, sharks, and so much more!
#312: Leslie Brathwaite01:42:51This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we call down to Atlanta to connect back with the premier mix engineer in the business, the multi Grammy Award-winning Leslie Brathwaite! Leslie, who would go on to be the trusted man behind the boards for Beyoncé, Pharrell, Jay-Z, Outkast, TLC, Madonna, Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow, Rick Ross, Jeezy, Cash Money, Monica, and so many more talks about growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands, falling in love with music by deep-diving into his father's record collection, the three months his mother wouldn't speak to him because he was he was focused on studying music in college, the guidance counselor who led him to Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida, the balance he found between technical prowess and pure feeling, what trial and error meant to his early career, how he scored an internship at Dallas Austin's elusive studio, the long-lasting friendship he's had with T-Boz of TLC, what their recording sessions were like, how Creep was written over a 30-minute car ride to dinner, how his time working with Dallas came to an end and allowed for new collaborations, and where he was when he got the call that Left Eye had passed away. Leslie discusses his thoughts on superstar auras, the one voice that he could listen to - a cappella or with instrumentation - for ever and ever, his shocking choice of whose voice is criminally underrated, the mixes that caused Andre 3000 and Beyoncé to stop in their tracks in satisfaction, the one mix that bothers Leslie to this day, and the one mix that he's completely pleased with. And most importantly, we discuss race, privilege in the music business, having to work twice as hard to get half the reward, how important it is to speak your truth, how Leslie explained to his children why people harbor hate, how he feels as a Black man in America in the middle of 2020, and much more.