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Why Motown Records Inked Joint Venture with NBA YoungBoy’s Never Broke Again Record Label

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by Dan Runcie

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Last week, Motown entered into a global joint venture with the Louisiana rapper’s record label, Never Broke Again records.

Big move for Motown. Motown doesn’t make moves like this often. Its last joint venture was its 2015 JV with Quality Control Music, one of the most successful label partnerships of the past decade. QC gained distribution and infrastructure to its indie label that gave us Migos, City Girls, Lil’ Baby, and more. Motown gained relevance with younger fans with access to the most popular hip-hop label that’s based in hip-hop’s most dominant city, Atlanta. It’s been a win-win.

Motown’s NBA YoungBoy record label deal signals two things. First, is the connection to Louisiana hip-hop. In a Billboard interview, Motown CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam said that Never Broke Again “represents the next generation in Louisiana’s legacy of ground-breaking hip-hop labels.”

The Baton Rouge native hails from the state that gave us Cash Money, No Limit, Boosie, Webbie, Kevin Gates, Jay Electronica, and many more. The region is a staple of hip-hop culture. The best-case scenario is that Never Broke Again does for Louisiana hip-hop what Quality Control did in Atlanta.

The second is the YouTube potential. NBA YoungBoy himself is still signed to Atlantic Records, but his prolific approach to YouTube has rubbed off on his proteges like Meechy Baby and P Yungin. If Motown gains access to the next NBA YoungBoy, that’s a W.

The leadership difference. The key ingredient for Quality Control Music’s success is the leadership from Coach K and Pee. They have complementary skills and years of experience at the helm. Dozens of Atlanta hip-hop labels tried to do what QC has done, but few had a tandem like QC did.

That’s what Never Broke Again record label may need to hit that same level. NBA YoungBoy’s full-time job is making music and videos (plus all his legal troubles). Much of the responsibility will be on Kyle “Montana” Claiborne, who has also led the label.

The goal for Montana and NBA YoungBoy is to avoid the pattern that most hip-hop artists have with their imprints and record labels. Most become vanity projects, especially when the artist is signed to a completely different label. Never Broke Again has an opportunity to break that trend and follow the QC mold with Motown Records.

Read more in How Quality Control Music Took Over Atlanta.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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