Lyonel “Kay K” Rosemond is one of the most powerful A&R’s in the music business. He was just a regular kid from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York; who was told that he would never amount to nothing. Now, over a decade in the game, he has six Grammy nominations, a Visionary Of The Year award and a B.E.T. Award. I caught up with Kay K at Universal Motown Record office In NYC for an exclusive interview.
I read in your bio that you went to school for cartoon illustration, but in 1994 you seen another career path when you were approached by your uncle Jimmy Henchman Rosemond, who was about to start his own management company during that time. Can you describe that moment and what it was like to make a transition from a cartoonist to working in the music industry?
Kay K: In 1994, I graduated ahead of the class, I went to Art & Design and I was trying to figure out, the usual teenager goes to college once they get out of high school but I was never really interested in stuff like that. Even though I did go but I was introduced young. From the very first wall he knocked down in his office and turned it to a studio. It was one morning he came and picked me up to hang out at a video shoot. I was like, “man I don’t know anything about music.” He was like, “you should just come to hang alone.” That same day I met Biggie, Lil Kim, Lil Cease and I’ve seen the music and how hyped everyone was around it.
Do you remember which video shoot it was?
Kay K: Yeah, it was Groove Dirty video shoot, for a song called “Tell Me” or something like that. It was early 90’s. Everyone was there, it was early Hip-Hop. Raw and uncut, everyone was just vibing and listening to music. Everyone came in and out of that place. Trech, Naughty By Nature, Big, Cease, Kim, AZ, and Nas. I was like “wow.” I was just a 16 years old kid bumping into guys I see on TV.
How was it like meeting Biggie?
Kay K: It was still early Big. He was still rough around the edges like that but he was funny. He was a great guy.
You just said, “It was early Hip-Hop,” Right now Hip-Hop isn’t the same way it was during the early 90’s, why do you think it’s not the same anymore?
Kay K: Well, I have a bunch of things to say about that. It has declined a lot because of record sells. A lot of things has come into place. We now have ITunes; you can download any mixtape or album earlier then when you’re supposed to get it. In the 90’s you actually had to go out and be a consumer. Now everything is at you figure tips. You can get damn near all the music off the computer.
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