"Hawaii" Mike // Follow
Sr. VP of A&R Def Jam
Break: Partnering with 50 Cent and starting G-Unit Records
I was an intern at Def Jam in 1997 through a Marketing program at NYU for continuing education. I interned for Julie Greenwald (Now Chairman/COO Atlantic Records). While there I sold my 1st track to Cormega featuring Mobb Deep called "Angel Dust." I went on to produce for JMJ artist Royal Flush and more while interning, I kept my self out there at hip-hop events and ended up doing street team work for Nas’ It Was Written under Steve Stoute's command. My hunger was always respected by the artists and executives I encountered, fast forward to April 28, 2010, I signed on to be Sr. VP of A&R at Def Jam. LA Reid gave me a call and said I'm hearing you’re the man that can do this job great. I met with him and a month later signed Big Krit then in Jan 2012 signed 2 Chainz. I'm just getting restarted.
How did you figure out what you wanted to do for your career?
When I was 13 I started as a DJ then became a producer at 17 making tracks for local Queens artists.
What inspires you?
Great lyrics and messages sent through music.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise our readers.
One thing that stuck with me is my mom’s passion for me to play the piano when I was 10. I hated it, thought it wasn't cool and now look where it took me. Learning a trade, skill or playing sports is the best thing u can do for your child, those extra activities can shape their life. Second one was I read a lot of self-help books and I gave 50 Cent the 48 laws of power, after he read that book it made him unstoppable and he even went on to write a book with the author Robert Green. I learned from that, knowledge is power when you apply what you learn.
What was your defining moment?
When 50 got shot I kept calling his grandmother's house, she delivered the message and he called me about 4 months after he rehabilitated. Came to my first house that I bought when I was 24 and we created all his mixtapes and even Get Rich or Die Trying. Eminem flew us to LA and life changed right then. That was the best moment ever.
My biggest break was…
Breaking 50 Cent and creating G-Unit in my basement.
If I wasn't me I would be…
Birdman cause I was meant to run an empire, inspire and provide opportunity for the greatest talent and execs out there, build a billion dollar hip-hop brand.