Date Signed: June 2011
Label: Capitol Records
Type of Music: Rap/Hip-Hop
Management: Keith Watts/Klockwork Orange Inc.
Legal: Matthew Middleton, 212-262-5003
Publicity: Gihan Salem/EMI Music, firstname.lastname@example.org
A&R: Steve Prudholme
By Jessica Pace
When you think Capitol Records, home to artists like Katy Perry and Coldplay, rap music probably isn’t what immediately comes to mind. Southern-born rap/hip-hop artist Tito Lopez is changing that.
“I just wanted to be different, and I just like the challenge. I could have worked with a few different labels. Capitol isn’t very big on rap, and I just wanted to see if I could fix that,” Lopez says of his new label, which is giving him a lot of focus as an outlier.
“I think they’re good people and they can put me in the right direction. I’m trying to get beyond just hip-hop and let it just be music in general. I write in a lot of different genres as opposed to just hip-hop.”
With a lyrical style that’s inspired by “everyday life, but not just mine,” and compared to Big K.R.I.T., who spent the summer and early fall on tour with Lopez, the rapper’s breakthrough songs are radio-ready and not without traces of pop, blues and soul. Lopez’s first single, “Mama Proud,” dropped in March this year and is a rapper’s quintessential “make-it” tune that’s been called everything––powerful, adorable, provincial and mainstream––but is a nonetheless genuine account of struggling to get something better.
In 2009, the Gulfport, MS native, who released DIY mixtapes since high school, was discovered by manager Keith Watts. Watts introduced Lopez to Def Jam Cypher, which led to Capitol Records. Lopez recorded his debut with a number of producers including DJ Troomp and Organized Noize in fall 2011 and a co-sign with Dr. Dre.
Signing to Capitol was something Lopez was prepared and yet unprepared for,” he says. “I’ve been all over doing shows. But you’re never totally prepared, because as soon as you sign that contract, the workload increases. It’s like signing to the NBA––once you’re in the league, you’ve got to win some games. You’ve got to keep working, now on a bigger scale."
The artist got there by doing the same things he raps about: sticking around and abiding by the trite but true principle of being himself. “Don’t let anybody tell you what music to make, lyrics to write or even how to dress. Most labels aren’t trying to shape you or mold you now. I was fortunate enough to just get signed off of talent. I didn’t have some huge YouTube video that went viral. Just stick with it, it will pan out, because wherever you’re supposed to be at, you’ll end up there.”
Tito Lopez’s Capitol debut is set for an early 2013 release.