On the Rise: Today’s Underground Music Moguls
Today, social media and the music industry is filled with a seemingly endless amount of so-called moguls and influencers… but what do these people actually do?
How do they impact the culture? What can independent up and coming artists and creatives of this industry take from these people?
What ultimately gives these people the ability to not only have an eye for the new and fresh, but to also be able to innovate and inspire others?
In hopes of shedding light for the many people who don’t know how to turn their dreams into a reality, I decided to ask some of the underground’s prominent moguls and influencers about their stories; where they came from, what they are about, tips and tricks, and questions about situations in the industry. The responses I received were not only insightful but also very relatable and honestly incredibly inspiring.
B-L1FE & SUPPORT ART (SA)
Indiana born B-L1FE started his Support Art platform just 10 months ago after moving to Galveston, TX. When asked what Support Art was & why the world should know about it, B described Support Art as a “Worldwide collective of creatives. Our roster is 15 (members) wide and doesn’t have a central location. (Our) Members are in Texas, Kentucky, Florida, and even Canada. We truly support artists and creatives of all kinds. In our community of the underground dissing and non-constructive feedback is not allowed.”
Support Art is currently home to a wide variety of creatives ranging from rappers to audio engineers, to animators. Multiple members of Support Art even work in more than one facet of music.
B-L1FE is a perfect example of a jack of all trades. I asked him what are some other mediums he dabbles in, to which he responded: “I don’t dabble in anything. If it is a craft of mine I push it to the fullest and then some. I do literally everything but make beats (rap, engineer, DJ, design graphics and visuals, and promote/curate playlists as well as edit music videos.)” I found this to be quite impressive considering how many artists or creatives can only do one or two things in their wheelhouse of needs.
I then asked B if he thought every artist should follow in his footsteps of having a hand in almost every facet of this industry. He responded by saying “I think sticking to one craft is limiting yourself. You can be the best emcee around and still make fire cover art… I tell all my team every day one of your crafts should be better (today) than the day before.”
Some of B-L1FE’s biggest clients include Ace McCain, Cody James, Cole Niese, MONEYVENTURA, and many more underground stars.
As large as Support Art is, I realized there had to be more people involved within B’s inner circle that has allowed him to experience such rapid growth as a mogul and musician in the past 10 months. When asked if there were any people from the group or in general who have had some of the largest impacts on him he responded “Wa55up inspires me daily… He is a big reason I taught myself all my crafts and push them so hard…. (another) would be Kaster who along with wa55up and KST have helped raise my engineering to the next level. He also helped me get FAITHxVICTORY Records up and running. Outside of that… all of my people at SA I am forever thankful for.”
SA also hosts a variety of playlists that act as promotion for various underground artists, and their group chats allow creatives from all over the world to interact and make long-lasting connections.
When asked where he would like to be in a year, B stated “In one year I hope to continue my rise with my own music. Reaching 1k listeners/followers on Spotify was huge for me (this year) so hopefully in a year from now its 10k if not 100k. I also want my record label to have a clear path.”
CAIN & C.W.C.M.F
Texas has long been known to be home of some of the most impactful and world re-known moguls in multiple industries from music, to fashion, to politics. This kind of environment breeds a very special kind of hustler, and there is no better example of that then Ace McCain (Cain). Cain is the head of the massive umbrella conglomerate known as C.W.C.M.F. which stands for Continue Winning Continue Molding Future.
Cain and his partners are practically everywhere in the underground community. Being such a successful businessman and musician, I asked what he considers to be the first thing an artist should invest in. “Every artist and creative across the globe should invest in the most important thing which I think they all forget in some form of fashion: YOU. Invest in self (because) there is no investment like within oneself… it is good to have all streams of revenue but as an artist, in this game & industry a lot of creatives get caught up in investing in others when you are the key this whole time.” This perspective was very enlightening and was definitely something that is very prevalent in today’s “microwave” music culture. Cain went on to say “If you really wanna eat take the independent routes to see all of your baggage… everybody wants a bag these days but if you got love for this and the work matches that business mind state (then) who can stop you?”
Cain recently acquired his own radio station via the DASH Radio team hosted by Nothin’ But Net Radio. This platform is a rising opportunity that allows Cain to play underground music on a larger platform, helping artist to gain recognition and royalties. You can check out the WolfClvb every Weds at 11PM EST.
As a Texas native, I wondered how much of the state’s reputation had an impact on Cain’s business decisions and interactions. “I’m from the land of the trill (and) it’s not called the Hustle City for nothing; it’s in a Texans veins (if you) do your research. Every Texas artist around the world had to start underground and hustled their way into this industry & game you love.”
This ideology is prevalent throughout the C.W.C.M.F family. “It’s hard to make it in Texas (because) the people and the city have to really support. You gotta be organic, you gotta really tap into the culture (and) really be for the people and that is what sets C.W.C.M.F apart.”
Some of the family members include CMF, Cw Trey, Dk, JuJu, VT, Dante Darko, EGODEATH, Yilo Nisie, Ashlie Vicky, Cw John Willie, Kap kee and many more. As an artist manager, I then asked Cain what advice does he give to his artists. “(In regards to) their personal brands: eat breathe and shit this shit (because) I promise it doesn’t happen before sunrise or after dark. (You) gotta grind, grind, grind (and) put in the extra amount of minutes… networking is key, connecting with your people, and make sure everything you do has reasoning and meaning behind it; as well as put actions behind those verbs… you’ll be surprised what a diamond makes out of pressure it’s priceless.”
Many people state that there isn’t a specific blueprint for this industry and how to truly be successful. However, there are many examples of success. Sometimes in life, we are able to meet those very people who impacted us or influenced us to become who we are.
I asked Cain who his biggest idols were, and he went on to state that Currensy had a huge impact as well as Young Roddy and other Jet-Life members. “He’s the reasons I do what I do today so for my fans and others to say I emulate his likeness in my eyes is like Scotty Pippen and Jordan.” He also shouted out Le$ The Rapper for supporting his clothing line DxxdRich & even Asap Rocky has given a nod to the rising Texas icon.
When asked if there were any people he wanted to give a shout-out or thank you to Cain stated “First off never bit the hand that feeds you s/o C.W.C.M.F, Cain Season, and the Wolf Clvb/Wolf Media as well as the whole DASH Radio family, Red Scale Magazine (Larry Kush), and DxxdRich & 3rd.”
JUNO & FLORIDA’S OWN 1K
For the final mogul, I decided to look close to home within the Sunshine State and chose none other than the Vibe Queen herself Juno… better known as Miss YungLivewire. Juno is the creator and big brain behind Florida’s Own 1k; an extremely well-known platform in the Miami area. So much so that the other two moguls are not only fans but have worked with Juno before and had nothing but good things to say about her.
She just recently acquired her own show on DASH Radio as well through her Florida’s Own 1k platform and is in the process of managing a couple of Florida’s best upcoming artists. She also acts as a mentor and liaison for many of the creative leaders in Florida and is heavily involved in community events pertaining to LGBTQ and women’s rights awareness.
Being as she lives in Miami and has watched the music scene/culture truly explode there over the past 3-4 years, this is where I had to start.
—How has being from Miami and being Cuban effected, helped, or hurt your chances of growth?
Juno replied by stating “I am the first generation American born in my family which comes with a lot of pressure – pressure builds diamonds. I have had to work hard for everything I have today and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s made me a more observant and aware individual. Having to live in a city like Miami where you deal with so many different personalities – personalities who are ready to take advantage of you, it makes you a different type of woman overall, for that I am grateful.”
I didn’t find it a coincidence that both she and Cain had mentioned the idea of pressure creating a diamond. Florida’s Own 1k acts as the hub for all underground culture including events, marketing, artist management, and more.
This industry is filled with a lot of smoke and mirrors, and in recent years we have seen more artists lose opportunities due to misconceptions of what they need to do to fit in or become popular. I asked Juno what is one common misconception people have about this industry. “[People believe] you have to step over people or fuck them over somehow to succeed – that’s not the case, at all. So long as you break bread with people you have true relationships with, it doesn’t ever have to be that way. Focus on the good.” Unfortunately, this is all too much the case in many situations in the industry.
Juno is also well known for her ingenuity and ability to find talent and influence in people which has ultimately helped her to create the rockin’ platform that is Florida’s Own 1k. You can tune in to her DASH Radio show every Tuesday at 9 PM EST.
One of the reasons I selected her was her great sense of individuality and female energy. When asked if she would describe herself as a mogul, she explained she isn’t much into titles or labels but “a music business mogul is most definitely close to describing my path.
I am a nullifier above all – with that gift, my work ethic, and skill set I am able to bring people together and make magic happen. Building artists from the ground up and my brand, Florida’s Own 1k have been my main focus for the past year. I also just launched another brand known as Cancel Culture it’s something that’s still in the building stages, but I am excited to continue sharing with the world. I was blessed with a radio show via Dash Radio on the Nothin But Net Channel (it’s the official NBA/WNBA channel) – radio is something I’ve always wanted to venture into. Great things happen when you believe in yourself and work hard. I am ready to continue to grow.”
They often say that creatives and artists are heavily influenced by their past accomplishments or achievements. When asked about some of her biggest ones to date, Juno explained as a kid she grew up in music and film which lead her into theatre and choir. “After college, I ended up working with a local Miami film director and collective and was able to experience working on short films. That is still one of my best memories to date. I feel I have so much more to accomplish and am ready for the opportunities to come.”
Like the others, I asked Juno where she would like to be in a year, 5 years, and or 10 years given her success: “A year from now I will be working bigger festivals like Coachella, Bonaroo & more. 5-10 years from now, I can only imagine how many more heights I will reach.”
Juno, Cain, and B are all prime examples of the power of manifestation. All 3 have managed to not only catch our attention over this past year but the eyes of many industry members who are learning quickly that the Underground is not a game. Juno’s final advice to upcoming artists and music business enthusiasts was not only introspective but beautifully said: “The main thing I would advise them is to check yourself when need be, take accountability when need be, self asses and push to become more self-aware each day. That will give you a solid foundation. We don’t need more shit people in this business.”
When asked if she had any last words Juno stated:
“Thank you, Kevin, for this opportunity to share a bit of my story with the world, thank you UNDERVIEWS for always showing love. Shout out to everyone who has my back like chiroprac, you know who you are!”
As the industry grows and changes, so will the need for moguls such as the people above to help guide the culture and provide true artists, creatives, and all those alike a real opportunity to pursue their dreams to the fullest. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from trying to become their own mogul. Find something that is important; something true to you and where you come from and make that into something larger than life.
Thank you again to B-L1FE, Cain, and Juno for allowing me to speak with you. We wish you the best!