How do you feel about the climate of music that happened this Tuesday (June 18), because it was a huge day for hip-hop? How do you feel about Kanye’s album, as you retweeted celebrating it and others?
I feel like the timing of these albums coming out and these artists deciding to be honest with themselves and raising the bar… Kendrick Lamar came out and killed us and really fucked our heads up with some realness. I think that he’s responsible for starting it, but I think these other brothers came back real hard and strong and are very, very competitive. That’s when hip-hop or music is at an all time high when people know and they respect, “Yo, that album is dope and I want my album to be better than that album,” or, “I want to challenge that album.” I think that this Kanye album, the only way I can describe it, it’s art, it’s an emotion and it’s him at his realest in its rawest form. It’s a confidence level that I feel like, blackness especially; it needs to be a theme song for them. They need to believe that all that crazy shit that he’s saying is the truth and I stand by it and I stand by the emotions if that’s how he felt, then that’s how records should feel. If Revolt was on air right now we probably would be dedicating the next three days to the back stories to making sure that we are promoting and being a useful tool to get their message out to get back to the mainstream media who doesn’t understand at times that’s who we are and how powerful we are.
It’s one thing to announce the idea of Revolt, but you’re making this big statement about Time Warner. What was the biggest issue or why was it so celebrated?
This is an industry where you have thousands of channels and networks, but you can’t even count on one hand the amount of people that are people of color. It’s history. I want people to be inspired about it. I’m not trying to be like, “This is something new that Puffy did, this is a new business venture”. No, this is something that is supposed to be like this. We are supposed to have a control in media. We’re supposed to control the information that goes out so we have a place that we can control how we’re perceived and how it’s being perceived. Me being a majority owner of a network and I look like y’all, I talk like y’all, I’m from the world of hip-hop…I’m not Oprah. I’m from this community. I represent this community. If I can do it then it’s going to forge a lot of opportunities for artists that want to be seen and heard and need the support. I got to where I was at because I had MTV. I had (BET’s) Donny Simpson, I had The Source magazine, I had these things.
Now you are doing things that create for others, but what motivates you and guys like Jay-Z?
Right now I’m at an all time high of just being a visionary and figuring (it) out. The money thing, I’m just being honest, that doesn’t motivate me. I’m passed that. Doing things that are going to change the world and make life better for our kids and change the way we’re perceived. I’m out here in Cannes speaking in front of 2,000 people, getting a standing ovation just speaking about who we are and being unapologetic about it, it’s just changing the game. Next year this festival will have more people that look like us and they will understand their power.
While I was out here I called Jay and me and him been talking back and forth about the network and about his deal and how proud we were of each other. We’re actually changing together the business model of the music industry. As far as our power, you can see the power that we have, not me and Jay-Z, the power that we have as a culture that Samsung now is going to give Apple a run for its money. People actually believe and we believe in our leaders in hip-hop. What they say is cool and what they say is next and we recognized that what Samsung is doing is moving forward. We were like “Hey man, we may need to give this Galaxy joint a chance” and that’s a lot of power, man.
At your conference in Cannes, you talk about being disruptive, what does it mean to be disruptive?
For me, I think the truth is disruptive. When you sit in these rooms and seminars that we can listen to live, but deep down inside we know the truth. We know who we are. We know when Kanye is saying “I Am A God” we know what he means, we know what the fuck he means and that shit is disruptive. That we would have that self pride. Not even comparing ourselves to “God” and being blasphemous. We know metaphorically what that means and the truth scares people. Standing behind the truth the way hip-hop did in the ‘80s and again in the ‘90s, it was the thing that was the most threatening. It was so honest and so truthful and I think that kind of disruptiveness, even going back to that Jay-Z commercial, that shit was disruptive. It was three minutes; I thought that shit was 10 minutes! A 10-minute commercial at halftime with some young black millionaires, that’s disruptive. Me announcing this network today and giving y’all exclusive interviews, and maybe people getting inspired and motivated, that’s disruptive. Revolt is disruptive. We come here to change the world and get this music industry back on track in a way so people can experience just what we experienced. I feel I have a responsibility for that. I’ve been blessed by this industry and it’s time for me to give back to this industry.