Words by:

The Update is our monthly feature where we check in with our favourite artists to talk side-projects, new endeavours and works-in-progress.

Having nurtured some of modern music’s most vital acts, Atlanta rap mogul Coach K takes us through the history of his label Quality Control Music, and where it’s heading for 2018.

What’s your background in the Atlanta music industry?

I don’t want to date myself, but I’m a 20-year veteran. And I’ve been able to coach a lot of teams. I started with Pastor Troy – a cultural icon in the South of America. Then I managed [Young] Jeezy for eight years, then I managed Gucci Mane for five. And then Migos. There have been a lot of artists in between them, but those were cultural moments in hip-hop history.

Is it true that the American hip-hop industry is still primarily based in New York and LA?

The major labels are in New York and LA, but the South has had a chokehold on hip-hop for the last 15 years. Me and my business partner [Pierre Thomas] were just having a conversation last night, with Quality Control we’re going to build a platform so these artists from the South don’t have to go to New York or LA. We want to become that major label in the South. Def Jam was [once] an indie, then it became a major. Interscope was an indie, became a major. So that’s the plan for Quality Control.

What makes Quality Control different from traditional record labels?

When we sign an artist, it’s business, but it’s more like we’re a big family of creatives. Most other major labels, their employees might have 100 artists they have to deal with. At 7pm, when they shut down, they go home to their families and the next day they have to deal with different artists. With us, we’re smaller and we’re more direct.

What inspired you to work with Stefflon Don?

I mean, she’s very, very talented. Steff is culture, you know what I’m saying? Our music comes from a place that’s inside, you have soul with it. She has a label, because she’s partnered with a really good friend of mine, and the first time I heard her music, I was like ‘Oh my god this is incredible, I want to be your partner in the States’. She has the talent and the ability to cross over here into the States. Because she’s making the type of music that’s universal. Our label is all about a culture and a feeling. And Steff has it.

To what extent have Migos affected Quality Control and your career in general? Are they at the heart of what Quality Control does?

I mean, Migos was our first signing – it’s going to be five years in May. They’re the OGs of the label, and they’re the babies of the label! So we spent a lot of time developing the sound, developing the look, you know, just developing the talent.

“What we’re basically saying is that we’ve got the streets on lock, whether it’s your city or my city”

What was the vision for the recent Quality Control: Control The Streets Vol 1. compilation?

The vision for that is self-explained – to control the streets. We wanted to display our artists and talent. In a way, we’re running it right now. What we’re basically saying is that we’ve got the streets on lock, whether it’s your city or my city.

The Migos members have been particularly prolific with collaborations and guest verses. Is that part of the strategy?

Most definitely, we want a piece of the market share. Offset had the Without Warning album with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, Quavo had the Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho album with Travis Scott. The plan was for it all to come back to the album Culture 2.

What projects can we expect from Quality Control in 2018?

Culture 2. New projects from City Girls, Jordan Hollywood, another Lil Baby project, [Lil Yachty’s] Lil Boat 2. A surprise Glazier Boys project – that’s going to be a big one.

Photography: Lester Cohen

Culture 2 is out now via Quality Control Music / Virgin EMI