Famous 5: Complex the Exec
Meet Complex the Exec, a hip-hop artist and rising media mogul from Washington, D.C. His company, Complex Inc. creates and publishes Hip-Hop music and videos appropriate for all ages and catered to all audiences. Additionally, the media company has an entity in which they provide video production services for boutique businesses world wide. When it comes to his art, topics of interest include merging Washington, D.C., politics, and pop-culture. In December, Complex will launch a video blog series on his YouTube channel in which he covers these topics through conversation and music.
1. Who or what inspires your work ?
Great music inspires my work. Great musicians before me and who are current within all genres, from Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B, Rock, Electro-Pop, E.D.M and more inspire me to create the same feeling for audiences that great artists make me feel. My favorite artists right now are Eminem, Madonna, U2, Foxes, Kanye West, The Eagles, Haim, Chvrches, Lana Del Ray, and Taylor Swift.
Also, great entrepreneurs, historical figures, and world changers like Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs inspire my work as a business man. Certain situations and events I experience in life point me in the right direction for concepts to talk about in my music. For example, in 2014 Washington’s independent Mayoral candidate from Cameroon Africa named Nestor Djonkam asked me to write and perform the Hip-Hop theme song for his 2014 Washington, D.C. mayoral campaign. This event inspired me to rap about my hometown Washington, D.C., politics, and pop-culture to have a positive impact on my city and communities abroad.
2. How would you describe the hip-hop scene in D.C.? How is the industry different here as opposed to other urban cities ?
The Hip-Hop scene in D.C. is more diverse and accepting of different styles than it was years ago. I think that it’s more colorful and cultural now. Although Go-Go music is not as prevalent as it used to be in Washington, D.C., Hip-Hop has evolved a lot in the nation’s capital. The industry of Hip-Hop here is more independent with many self-contained movements. Other urban cities like New York and L.A. have a more corporate influence in Hip-Hop. Overall, D.C. is responsible for building and maintaining the music industry beyond Hip-Hop as well. The library of congress is here which holds all copyrighted music worldwide. Also the Grammy’s started on the steps of congress. I believe that the RIAA (Recording, Industry, Association, of America) was established in Washington D.C. as well.
3. Tell us about the kick-starter project, “Home Run”.
This was a crowd-funded project that successfully reached its goal in February 2015 for the production cost of a song I wrote called “Home Run” which I plan to release in 2016. The song will serve as an anthem for the nation’s capital, promoting the city, and motivating America to [address] the issues in our society. It took me two times to get the song successfully funded through a kick-starter campaign. The first time I only raised half of the money. The second time I raised over 142% of the minimum asked, raking in $2,133.00 within four weeks to record, mix, and master the song. It was an emotional roller coaster asking people to support the project in such a short amount of time but perseverance saw us through. All the pre-released “Home Run” rewards were successfully sent to my backers and the song came out great. So excited about D.C. hearing it as well as the world.
4. What current projects are you excited to be working on?
Right now I am working on launching my You Tube channel with a video blog. Beginning December 10th 2015, every Thursday, I upload a new vlog discussing relevant topics occurring in Washington, D.C., politics, and pop-culture. At the end of each vlog I rap an acapella version of some of my original lyrics describing the topic discussed within the video blog. It’s named the “Complex the Exec Vlog”, created to help my audience find ways to assist in the betterment of political issues in Washington D.C. and everyone’s city worldwide. New music related to this message will be out at the beginning of 2016.
5. What advice would you give to young aspiring artists or execs hoping to succeed in the hip-hop industry?
Having faith, purpose, focus, passion, and the developed talent for being a Hip-Hop artist or exec is some advice I would give. You have to believe in yourself and know why you want to make music or be an exec. The artist or executive needs to have the intention to virtually bring an increase of life or value to the world by what he or she does. Focus is critical as well. No matter what people say or what the circumstances are you must stay focused. It actually requires an obsessive focus if you want things to happen fast. Being passionate about your craft is what will keep you motivated when temporary defeat occurs. You must have the passion to make music that benefits people and also have the passion for business and leading people for reasons that makes others better. Reading, studying, and practicing your craft will turn you into a developed talent in the hip- hop industry and business over time. Keep at the front of your mind that it’s 90 % business and 10 % music.