Can you recognize greatness immediately? Successful A&R, Paul Stewart shares his stories on discovering House of Pain, Pharcyde, Warren G, Coolio and Montell Jordan.

As an entertainment business entrepreneur, Paul Stewart has done it all. He’s started multiple companies. He’s worked in music, film, fashion, and now books. He’s had years with multiple mega-hits, and years where he just barely scraped by.

His story is about the struggle: Wake up everyday and hustle. Stay true to what you know. Connect with good people. Be generous. Never stop fighting.

Here are just a few of the gems that come out of the Rebel Radio interview:

On the keys to his success - “I got down differently than other people. I thought the parties were important. Or maybe I understand the importance of things like that. I do some of my best networking running the streets at night and connecting with people.”

On the people running major record labels - “They are not creative people, so they hire uncreative people underneath them and its like, ego driven maniacs, nepotism and just unqualified.”

The problem with book publishers - “There is just so much institutionalized racism in regards to urban culture and hip hop and things like that. It’s just a lack of understanding of what people are interested in because they are not in touch with this world. Most of the people that are the decision makers have a total disconnect to urban culture. Basically just the wrong people making decisions.”

On the artists he’s worked with - The Pharcyde, House of Pain, Warren G., Coolio, Montel Jordan, Freestyle Fellowship, and so many more

And movies he music supervised - Poetic Justice, Dear White People, Barbershop, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers, Hustle and Flow we won the Oscar

Subjects featured in his books - Murder Dog Magazine, Pimp C, Curtis Snow, Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, Drake, Lil Wayne, Bobby Brown, Too Short, Iceberg Slim, E-40, Marcus Garvey, Bushwick Bill, Scott La Rock, Tupac, Eazy E, Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, and many many more.

Listen up! Catch up with Rebel Radio here.

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Is Brooklyn the new mecca of sneaker culture (in addition to everything else)?

This week on Rebel Radio, we interview Ryan Babenzien, founder of Greats Brand shoes.

"Who are Greats, and what’s a Babenzien,” you ask? We finna tell you.

Greats is a great, ahem, sneaker brand out of Brooklyn. Did you hear us? Brooklyn. That right there should tell you it’s great. Ryan and his team are making classic sneaker designs with high-end materials and craftsmanship, the kind of shoe you get for $400 at Barneys or whatever, except these ain’t at no store and they don’t cost no $400.

Greats is pioneering a direct-to-consumer business for sneakers, maybe the first one out there doing it. This means you can’t buy them in stores and don’t pay the markups that are typical at retail stores. You buy them at Greats.com and get a lot more for the money. We're bringing you the future right here.

But this also means that Ryan and the rest of the Greats crew have to really be on their shit when it comes to marketing and building a brand. Ain’t no Al Bundy selling shoes out there for him. He has to hit you on the Twitter or Instagram or whatever and make you want to click that buy button.

We’re gonna find out how they do it. And why.

 

Secrets for building a career that lasts decades, c/o Richard Vission

He’s a DJ, remixer, producer, label owner, club promoter. He’s host of Power Tools — the longest running dance music mix show in the country. He’s worked with megastars from Lady Gaga and Madonna to Major Lazer. And he’s made hits for multiple generations of dance artists — from Crystal Waters and Martha Wash in the 90s to Luciana and his latest discovery, the neo-freestyle duo Wild Style. 

 

Making a group built for Instagram. How @WeAreWildStyle has figured that out. 

This interview is a continuation from Richard Vission.

Wild Style is (are?) Richard’s tribute to the 80s dance genre freestyle. Think Expose, Cover Girls, Trinere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up.

But while the duo of Frankie and Sonja is definitely a throwback, there’s something very current about them at the same time. They’re sexy and playful and seem like they’re built for Instagram, and Richard’s production updates the freestyle sound with classic house influences that allow them to fit in on dance floors around the world.

We have fun talking about flirting with boys, flirting with girls, and the rigors of not only trying to blow up but also to do something that’s meaningful for themselves.