Music Executive Brooklyn Johnny: "None of These Kids Understand the Business"

“When I started working with Kodak Black, I felt like he didn’t really understand the business."
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The music industry will swallow you whole. According to Russ, it’s actually designed to prey upon unsuspecting and green artists. Per music executive Brooklyn Johnny, best known for developing the careers of Kodak Black and our beloved Cardi B, Russ is right: none of today’s upcoming acts understand the music game.

“None of these kids understand the business, really,” he told Billboard writer Carl Lamarre. “When I started working with Kodak Black, I felt like he didn’t really understand the business. The thing people don’t realize about Kodak is, he’s super smart. He bumped his head a lot of times, but he’s super smart. He reads a lot of books. If you ever have a conversation with him, you’d be like, ‘He’s 40 years old. How do you know this stuff?’”

Kodak Black was indicted on sexual assault charges in October 2017. He is currently awaiting trial.

The dichotomy of being well-read and not understanding the music game is par for the course. Contracts are purposefully misleading, and most young artists do not even understand that an advance is a loan, not free money. This is why we hear so many stories of advances being blown.

Music publishing is tricky to understand, that’s why we brought in an expert in 2016 to explain. Even celebrated acts like Brent Faiyaz have come up against the ugly Major Label Machine. The list of artists battling against the game goes on, but one thing remains clear: education and transparency are needed in tandem to level the playing field. 

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