The relationship between artists and labels has always been a struggle of the art versus the bottom line. Tomorrow, January 13th ,Chris ‘Fresh Kid Ice’ Wong, pioneering hip hop artist of the 2 Live Crew, will release his first compilation album on his independent label which he hopes will teach artists that they can be successful without major label support.
“I was looking at the state of hip hop … mainstream media and so forth,” said Wong in describing his motivation for creating the album. “When you think of hip hop music, it started from the underground, then, later on, the majors came into it once they saw it was a source of income. What we’re trying to do is take it back to beginning of hip hop. Not literally the beginning, but the part of hip hop where it’s more against the mainstream than for the mainstream.”
Breaking Glass Ceilings features 15 independent artists, some new-comers and more notable artists like famed Poison Clan member and Miami-hip hop trailblazer, JT Money. Wong worked primarily behind the scenes on the project but is featured on one of the album’s songs.
“That’s what I’m doing, I’m trying to mentor artists,” said Wong of his significance in hip hop in 2017. “I already had my 15 minutes of fame, do you understand? So, what I want to do is teach them. So, basically now, my job is to mentor them and teach them how to become artists, own your own stuff and so forth.”
While the compilation may be the first of its kind on Chinaman Records, Wong’s independent label, he is no stranger to pulling double duty as an artist and an owner.
“Chinaman Records has been around since the 90s and before that I had a label called Miami Bass Records,” said Wong. “I learned a lot … and even in California, 2 Live Crew, we had our own label which was Fresh Beat Records. I was doing the legwork because I wanted the music to be out there.”