Bad Perm: Who is your favourite artist to work with? Was there ever a time when an artist wasn’t manageable and you had to part ways?
Lola Plaku: Yes. It happens everyday.
[We both burst out laughing]
LP: It still happens. There’s times where I want to quit. I’m like, ‘I’m done!’
LP: I’ll be like ‘It’s a wrap! I can’t do this anymore!’ That’ll happen with every artist, whether or not it’s hip hop, just the way the music industry is. You’re never really in control of the situation unless you’re in control of the situation…and even then you’re not in control of the situation.
When you’re dealing with artists directly you have to constantly deal with their egos and how they see themselves and sometimes they’re right and sometimes you’re right. If a person trusts you and respects your opinion there will always be room to work things out as long as you can admit you’re wrong too when you are wrong. In the heat of the moment though it’s really easy to throw your hands up and want to give up entirely. Whether it’s hip-hop or it’s pop, artists want what they want when they want it and their way is the best way and it’s their way or the highway. They might change their mind ten minutes later or forget what they said the next day, and that’s even more of a headache to deal with. When you’re not dealing with an artist and you are dealing with management or a team of people, organization is key in order for you to be able to do what need to do and depending on how organized everyone is, it can make your life easier or harder.
In terms of favorite artist, I really don’t have one. I work hand in hand with French Montana, Fredo Santana and P. Reign at the moment and I love working with all of them. They’re all very different and all so amazing to work with. As I said earlier, a lot of times it has to do with the respect the person has for you because if they respect your opinion and what you’re about and what you bring to the table, you’ll never have a hard time dealing with them. Every single artist I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work with outside of the three mentioned above – Big Sean, Rich Hil, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, the whole A$AP Mob, Trinidad Jame$, Yelawolf, T.Mills, Travi$ Scott, and anyone else I might be forgetting has been absolutely incredible. They have given me incredible opportunities and I am thankful to be able to constantly work with such remarkable people that help me elevate my brand and myself to new heights.
BP: How do you feel about the current state of hip hop, the evolution from the Golden Era to the digital era – is it positive, is it negative? Are there any changes you want to see in the music?
LP: The current state of hip hop…the current state of music? I love it. There is so much stuff coming out and people are delivering these incredibly creative projects and it’s exciting. I like music for the way it makes me feel. I enjoy relating to a song, but I love how a song makes me feel. With that said – I don’t enjoy hip hop music because of how lyrical it is but because of the sound, the beat, the delivery, the aggression, the determination, the confidence that most rappers stamp on their songs.
Every different type of music has sub-genres within it and hip hop is no different. And obviously I can see the evolution of hip hop from the 90’s to now, and I can see the difference but unlike those that dislike the current state of hip hop I can appreciate the diversity. I grew up in Europe so I have a deep love for 90’s Euro and Dance the same way I have a deep love for 90’s and 2000’s hip hop. No new music will ever replace those songs. I love Italian Pop music, and Greek Folklore and Reggae and Soca and Pop and Punk and Ska, Grunge, Rock, Salsa, Reggaeton – literally every sound under the sun I am in love with and depending on the mood I am in I will go from a Nirvana record to Bryan Adams, or Cher, or La Bouche or Vybz Kartel, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Gipsy Kings, Don Omar, Nas, Chief Keef, and everything in between. So the evolution of hip hop has never really upset me or let me down. People are finding new ways to re-invent themselves and that’s great.
I think it has a lot to do with how the Internet has facilitated things and how easy it is to put a record out. It’s made it easier for artists, especially independent artists to get paid and I enjoy that aspect a lot but it’s also made it easier for people to make garbage and put it out too. So I think the filter has to be within the person that’s listening to it. You can’t say ‘Chief Keef makes shit music’ if he’s got 35 million views on YouTube because clearly people enjoy the song. I can’t dictate what’s good and what isn’t, it’s up to the person who’s listening to it to dictate what’s good and what isn’t for them. I think an artist’s ticket sales when they do concerts really show who has a pull and who doesn’t. People don’t really buy records anymore – I mean they do and they don’t. Somebody like Drake will go and sell over half a million because he makes great music at the end of the day.
But a lot of the younger artists that are coming out, they have their own sound and it isn’t as lyrical as the older hip hop was and their longevity will be determined by the amount of fans that actually buying their merchandise, that are going to see them live because if you can constantly tour over and over again even if you’re not selling records, you clearly must have fans and those fans will dictate how long you will last in the game. I see the evolution and I see the difference but I think if there are fans for you music, then fuck it, just make the music and keep your fans happy.