by William E. Ketchum III and Shaheem Reid
Since Earn became his cousin Alfred’s (a.k.a. Paper Bo) manager in the first season of Atlanta, things have begun to look up. Season 2: Robbin Season has shown Paper Boi getting public recognition and meetings at music streaming services - and in Episode 3, thanks to a viral clip of a woman crying about his lyrics, the rapper has even earned his first gold plaque.
But in the season premiere, Earn expressed worries that his cousin may leave him behind - and there may be validity behind those fears. In both Episodes 2 and 3, Paper Boi has been exposed to other industry folks who may be willing to manage his career - including one who was able to land endorsement deals and soundtrack opportunities for another artist, Clark County. If Earn wants to stay on the team, he may want to step his game up.
REVOLT TV spoke to in-house correspondent Shaheem Reid, longtime journalist and president of Busta Rhymes’ Conglomerate Records, to get some advice on how Earn can keep his spot and continue to progress his cousin’s career.
Hire a publicist
Now that Paper Boi has a gold single, he can use the buzz to get some new press. Reid suggests that Earn hire an Atlanta-based publicist like Tresa Sanders, Aleesha Carter, or Tomika Hope. “Those are three great publicists right in the ATL who he could meet with to start getting the word out and getting his story out there,” Reid said. “That’ll be the first step to get in front of everything, when people are requesting interviews.”
Book some more shows
Paper Boi had a club appearance in Season 1, but Reid said that this season he needs to hit the stage to perform. Reid suggests that Earn connect with Atlanta-based booker Johnnie Cabell, who used to manage Shawty Lo before his passing. “Even if Paper Boi is still on house arrest, Johnnie can get him on the circuit to where he’s moving around Atlanta and surrounding areas like Alabama and North Carolina, where he can do a show and come back the same night.”
Shoot a music video for his single
Paper Boi’s single is already doing well after the aforementioned viral clip, but it can go even further with a creative music video. “That’s going to help push it to platinum,” Reid said. “You can do a good video with $10,000.” Hopefully, their gold streams can provide such a budget - and Earn and Paper Boi didn’t blow too much of their money at the strip club.
Go back to the strip club, and get on mix show radio
On Episode 3, Earn went to Onyx strip club with Paper Boi, Darius and Vanessa in an attempt to stunt. But this time he needs to go back to work - strip clubs are an essential part of the city’s musical ecosystem. “The strip club scene is just as important, or even more important, than the regular club scene in Atlanta,” Reid said. “That’s usually where the new hot records emanate from. It’s just smart for him to capitalize and research, what songs do the strippers like to dance to?”
Reid also suggests that Earn reach out to mix show DJs like DJ Drama, Greg Street, and DJ Holiday. The move will get him even more exposure in Atlanta.
Find a lawyer and an independent deal
After building up press, Earn and Paper Boi can look for the record deal that best suits their needs. Reid suggests that Earn connect him with an indie label like Empire Music or 300 Entertainment. “if he doesn’t have a distribution system behind him, consider securing a deal with Empire or 300 if he wants to stay indie,” Reid said. “Maybe a one or two-project deal, so he doesn’t have to rush into a major. He can get his weight up, as far as getting leverage.” If he is ready for a major label, Earn can start to put out feelers out at the likes of labels like Atlantic or Def Jam. He should also find a lawyer, since the right legal representation can lead to connections with deals as well.