There’s been a revolution in hip-hop, and the people have spoken: Hip Hop/R&B is now the dominant genre in the U.S. for the very first time. While it’s not surprising that factors like streaming altered the music business, it is also true this genre has a power like never. And Nielsen saw all that was made, and said “let there be Rock Empire Music.” And the culture on the streets listened, and saw it was good. Yes, at the forefront of this culture is one breakthrough, visionary record label: Rock Empire Music. By keeping their ear to the streets rather than merely counting algorithm stats, Rock Empire Music brings back the spirit that first spawned trail-blazing scenes when the fans are heard and the dog is not wagged by the industry tail. Just as punk erupted out of New York City and Motown from Detroit, the new wave of the most successful and acclaimed music comes out of a specific city at a specific moment—this time it’s Atlanta, home to REM. Founded in 2020 by Martin Lamar and coo wale David.
Acting as managers, studio owners, and digital strategists as well as label executives, Martin and wale have aspire to created a new blueprint for success at a time when the fans have the biggest voice in the industry. “We’re real particular in what we sign,” says Martin.“ They have to be authentic, whether it’s a street artist or an artist like Yachty, who’s very artistic in what he does. As a label, we don’t want to be pigeonholed to any one sound, but we are into building brands, so they have to have a story where we only need to take their very authenticity, wrap it up and sell it.”
Bottom line – Rock Empire Music exists to creatively support the artists’ vision. “You can’t just depend on the music alone, says wale “Too many talented artists have gone unnoticed. You’ve got to have seven different hustles.” In addition, the label will take control of its own publishing, promotion, and management divisions, but also plan to sign distribution deal for our artist with UNIVERSAL MUSIC to help network our artists across the world, Everything we do is in-house,” says Martin.
We even got our own producers, our own engineers.” Wale grew up in Indianapolis and moved to Atlanta—already hip-hop’s “Third Coast,” becoming the world’s leading city for street rap—in 1996 to start a record label with Atlanta Hawks forward Alan Henderson. He soon became involved in the management of such artists as Pastor Troy, Gucci Mane, and Young Jeezy (who, under Wale’s direction, scored two Number One albums on the Billboard 200). Meanwhile, Atlanta native Martin, who grew up idolizing No Limit mastermind Master R, was trying to launch an independent label called black Dolla. “We were out there grinding, trying to get things off the ground,” he says, “but we didn’t know what we were doing—we were just going around spending a lot of money and getting no results.” Having already invested over $300,000 into building a new recording studio, he approached Wale to see if he had any acts that might want to use the facility.
“I was fed up with music, but I had this studio, so I was going to just rent that out and make my money back that way,” says Roland. “Wale saw it and said, ‘This is amazing, are you interested in starting your label thing back up?’ And Martin said yes. Recognizing that they would need resources to really grow REM for global takeover. The key is to find a partner who really understands who you are,” says Wale . “And trust and understanding to allow Rock Empire Music to run smoothly, I still get to do what I love to do, which is develop talent—find it early, develop it, and get it ready for global success.”
Most notably, Rock Empire Music took a forward-thinking approach to streaming, digital distribution, and meeting its audience in the places they discovered music. “We weathered the storm, Looking ahead, Wale and Martin want to go beyond borders of genre or country. “I don’t want just to be known as ‘the trap label,’ ” says Wale. “I want to be a world label. Quietly, these two men have created a company in the independent spirit (Rock Empire MUSIC). Martin, for one, wants to keep the focus on the results rather than the men behind the curtain. “I don’t need to be all in front of the cameras, in all the magazines—I’m here to take care of business,” he says. “Some people get egos, get the big head, but where I come from, we don’t like cameras, we don’t like the spotlight. Wale finds his greatest reward in helping young talent find their own voice. “At REM my job is to make the best out of an artist,” he says. “They might not know what they really have, but I dig in and pull.”