News broke yesterday that Atlanta rap trio Travis Porter signed with Jive Records last week, a major step for a group that attributes its success to grassroots following.
Jive A&R Jeffrey Sledge has been keeping his eye on the independent artists as they've been blessing the radio stations with rump-shaking club bangers. "The music has a futuristic sound but not too far-fetched, so I stayed in touch," remembers Sledge. "From afar, I saw the growth of the group, especially with 'Go Shawty Go' and 'Turnt Up'."
After hearing the spacey vocals and bass-heavy tracks commonly associated with ATL rap acts, Sledge decided to take the necessary steps to adding Lakeem “Ali” Mattox, Donquez “Quez” Woods and Harold “Strap” Duncan, owners of their own label Porter House, to the Jive family.
"When I initially came to Charlie [Travis Porter's manager], he held off because he said the group wasn't ready," Sledge explains. "This summer we set up a meeting but couldn't come to terms. I came back again and saw how 'Make It Rain' had a huge buzz so I had to renegotiate and make moves. When I came back we closed the deal."
While many fans only see these cats as wild, young party boys, the Jive employee got to see firsthand the true crowds that TP can attract and understand the potential of this new hip-hop clan.
"At the Unbelievable movie premiere back in the spring, it was packed out. What really grabbed me about the boys was that I saw parents bringing their kids to the show. It wasn't just young adults in the crowd. I said It could really be big and cross generations." He adds, "I saw that they could be a cultural phenomenon. It's not just their music. It's a movement. I saw black kids, white kids, Chinese kids and all ethnicities. Their movement has the potential to be massive." —Niki McGloster, with additional reporting by Rob Kenner