Pierre "Pee" Thomas, CEO of Quality Control, the label that brought us both Migos and Lil Yachty, recently shed some light on his approach to finding and growing new talent in his native Atlanta.
During an interview with The New York Times, Thomas expressed his and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee’s hands-on method for discovering artists:
“Other labels have these A & Rs and C.E.O.s and chairmen, sitting in an office looking on the internet at numbers on SoundCloud and Spotify — they’re just into the analytics,” Thomas told NYT writer Joe Coscarelli. “That’s part of it. But if I’m being honest — and it might sound ignorant — I don’t own a computer. I’m really out here in it.”
His “grass-roots hustling” is part of the reason why the Atlanta rap scene is constantly evolving. As Yachty and Migos continue their impressive rise, QC are now focused on their greener artists: Lil Baby, Marlo, and Mak Sauce. While other executives are too focused on the numbers, Thomas and Lee are constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with artists, going from studios to video shoots while keeping their ears to the ground and bringing hands-on A&R back to life.
Lee explained to Coscarelli that a large majority of the duo’s job is to serve as mentors to their younger crop of artists. This includes everything from showing them how to navigate the early stages of the music business to ensuring Trippie Redd reads his text messages.
While other label heads continue to prove themselves out of touch, forcing their artists into ill-fitting boxes, Thomas and Lee are proof that there is still some heart in the major label game.