Dubcnn: We're here with DJ Burn One to talk about what you've got going on right now. For those who don't know you, go ahead and introduce yourself real quick.
Burn One: What's going on, this is DJ Burn One, representing Atlanta, Georgia, Blvd St. I'm a producer, mixtape DJ, club DJ and A&R. I pride myself on finding artists with potential and a good team around them and help them get to that next level. I've worked with Pill, Yelawolf, Gucci Mane, Young Dro, all of them before they got their deals and before they broke. So I'm looking for those next stars!
Dubcnn: How did you first get into the music industry?
Burn One: I got my start through retail, I worked at this mom & pop store called Supersound here in Atlanta and it started me off from the consumer's side, cause I could see what's marketable and what people don't want. It just gave me a better outlook than a lot of people in the music industry, because I feel like most artists are wrapped up in their own head and only see what they're doing, but I got a chance to see what everybody else was doing first and see what to do and what not to do. I just started hustling mixtapes out of there, at first when I was like 14-15 I'd have people come to me with lists of like 15 songs and I'd put them on a CD, little shit like that.
From there I went on to putting exclusives on CD's and putting them in mom & pops. I used to drive around every day after school, in my 11th and 12th grade, and give out mixtapes to the stores and the retailers. Luckily, I ended up going to high school with this group called Xtaci, who are signed to T.I.'s label Grand Hustle. This was around the time "Trap Muzik" came out, they plugged me up with Tip and he was my first major look. Right after that, people started taking me seriously and that's when I got on.
Dubcnn: As you mentioned earlier, you worked with a lot of artists before they had their big break, like Freddie Gibbs, Pill or Yelawolf. As you surely know, the market is very saturated right now. What do you look for in an artist when you hear something that makes you want to pursue working with him or her?
Burn One: I look for something different, something that's not already out there. First time I heard Yelawolf was about 4 years ago at this show called "Fuckin' Awesome". He was performing and it was nuts. The music was pretty cool but it wasn't on the level that he is on now. But he just looked like a star on stage, controlled the crowd and I linked back up with him through my partner DJ Dirrty from Baller's Eve, maybe two Septembers ago. I met up with Yela and he said he wants to do a tape, so we sat there and figured it out. I just look for something different, because there's a million rapper's trying to get on so if you sound like everybody else you're gonna get lost in the shuffle.
Dubcnn: What's your relationship with Yelawolf now that he got his deal? Will you still be involved with what he has going on?
Burn One: Yeah definitely. I'm doing a lot of production for his artist Ritz, I'm not sure if you've heard of him, he's signed to Yelawolf. Yelawolf is a huge fan of mine but he already has a main producer, Willpower (Supahotbeats) that does the bulk of most of his stuff. I did a couple of songs for him but the bulk of his stuff was done by Willpower. I linked up with Ritz though after I heard that Box Chevy song off Trunk Muzik so he linked us up and our chemistry is crazy.
Yelawolf is pretty thorough. There are a lot of people who haven't kept it real, I won't say any names but people who I did a lot for, put a lot of effort into and gave a lot of game, but they didn't repay it. However, Yelawolf, Pill, Freddie Gibbs, all these guys appreciate what I'm doing for them.
Dubcnn: You wear a lot of different hats. You're a DJ, producer, A&R… Where are you trying to take it, where would you like to see yourself in the future?
Burn One: I see two different ways. I'd definitely like to get a major A&R gig at a major label, but I'm just so against the way of conventional thinking, that I don't even know if that would work. My main thing is, I want to get back into the distribution, doing independent stuff. I want to create my own Suave House, the way Three 6 Mafia was just putting out albums and selling them. They might put out an album of an artist no one heard of but it would still sell 10,000 copies, because their name is on it and it's jamming. You do that 4-5 times a year, a couple of years in a row, you're eating!
I just wanna recreate our way of getting music out to the people. I feel like there has been a big disconnection between consumers and record labels, which is the reason why albums have failed in the past. When you look at somebody like Wiz Khalifa, no matter what his label said, he was always catering to his fans - and it paid off, he got dropped! But he didn't give a fuck, the fans still came to his shows and bought his stuff. He got dropped and his album "Deal Or No Deal" was Nr. 1 on iTunes! You take care of the fans and they'll take care of you. That's what I wanna get back to, give them some good music and hopefully make some money off of it.
Dubcnn: Apart from Ritz, who are you checking for right now as far as up and coming artists?
Burn One: There's a bunch of new talent out. I have a partner named Mouse in Florida, P. Dukes from Atlanta, he's really dope. K.D. from Birmingham, he's super dope, we just dropped a tape called G-Fluid. Everybody go check that out, a bunch of country rap tunes and Southern blues music pretty much. I fee blessed to be in the middle of all this stuff. I would definitely put Yelawolf in that same category of new crop of MC's.
That's what I'm trying to capture with my upcoming album Five Points, to get all these guys on one dope record. There hasn't been a truly dope Southern compilation to me since like Down South Hustlaz. Five Points is going to be my upcoming compilation, I'll be producing the music, I just wanna bring back that continuity. When people hear a record from my label, I want them to just know it's gonna be some quality shit. Just like when they hear the Burn One name, they know the music is gonna be quality.
Dubcnn: Which artists can we expect to hear on there?
Burn One: Definitely Pill, Freddie Gibbs, Yelawolf, Starlito out of Nashville, we did his project "Renaissance Gangsta" last year, a lot of people fucked with that. DaVinci from the Bay, I'm actually about to do a whole tape with him so that'll be dope. Everybody you're gonna wanna hear rap on there will be on there. I'm looking to release it in late summer, early fall. I've also been working on this instrumental album "The Ashtray" for the past 6 months, so once I get this off my plate, then I'll focus on the album. I've been collecting records for a while but it's a slower process. So the instrumental album is dropping first, followed by my album "Five Points".