This song was a recommendation… hit or miss?!
What could be better than spending a Friday afternoon having a coffee at Hotel Ocho and chatting about the Toronto’s hip hop scene with Major, the manager to former interviewee JD Era? Chatting with Major and his lovely, but camera shy fiance Ginelle. Major was gracious enough to carve time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about the big things he has in the works for JD and his record label Black Market Music Group.
A special thank you goes out to our waiter, Chris, at Ocho who didn’t cry when we teased him!
MADE in 72 hours: What is your real name, and how did you get the name ‘Major’?
Major: Hah! My real name is Michael Malabre. How I got the name ‘Major’? People just started calling me ‘Major’ because I took the lead of things. I was very proactive. a leader not a follower so I developed this name ‘Major’.
(Ginelle makes a face at this comment)
MADE: (to Ginelle) Why are you making that face? (laughter)
M: It’s true!
MADE: You can point out his lies! I’m so glad this is happening! (laughter)
Ginelle: No it’s true!
M: Why? Does it sound like it was fabricated? (laughter)
G: No, no it’s true.
MADE: How many artists do you rep?
M: I represent one artist, that’s JD Era.
MADE: How did you meet?
M: A friend of mine used to coach him, he used to coach JD and from there we started developing JD. This was about 7-8 years ago. I’ve just been with Era every since, I helped him craft his career and have seen the progression he’s made.
MADE: Who would you ideally want to rep, if you had a choice of anyone who’s out there or somebody that’s unknown that you have your eye on?
M: Hmm, who would I like to represent if the opportunity presented itself? Oh man, that’s difficult because I have that special bond with my artist.
MADE: You get to keep JD too! (laughter)
M: I think I would go more alternative for an artist, or maybe a rock band, maybe Coldplay. Or Celine Dion.
MADE: Wow! Why Celine Dion?
M: I just think big, my goals and my aspirations are big. I’m inspired by Quincy Jones, Chris Smith, Don Cornelious, um, J Records, Clive Davis. There are so many, Russell, Russell Simmons. So when I think of that caliber I think of big artists and there are a lot of inspirations that really inspire and help craft a lot of those artists that are out right now.
MADE: What’s the best conversation you’ve ever eavesdropped on?
M: (laughs) Oh man, wow. You want the scoop. (laughter) Oh, this is hard, I can’t remember right now, I’ll think about it. We’ll come back to it.
MADE: Do you have a hidden artistic talent?
M: (laughs) Oh wow, (to Ginelle) do I? (laughter) A hidden artistic talent, I mean we’re all talented in our own ways, so I believe I have that gift too. But what it is? I’m still finding it right now. I’m still finding it.
MADE: Ginelle would you like to interject?
G: He’s a great cook.
M: Well then I guess I’m a great cook, I’m good with my hands.
MADE: What’s your dish? What’s your signature?
M: My dish? I don’t know. I can fry a fish, I can steam a fish, you know. (laughter)
MADE: Tell us about your label.
M: Black Market Music Group? I am the co-owner, my other partner Fase is a co-owner too, Era’s a co-owner, so we all own Black Market Music Group, which has ties with Universal Music Group as well. We started that label 3-4 years ago, before that it was just the product, just me and Era, and we’re just growing from there.
MADE: And what makes you different from any other label? What can you bring that’s a bit different?
M: A lot of knowledge, wisdom, experience in the game. We strategize a bit differently than other labels that are in Canada. We have a lot of resources, too, that we can reach out to and make things happen.
MADE: We’re going to do a challenge now. We want you two to arm wrestle. (mischievous laughter from MADE and nervous laughter from Major and Ginelle)
M: I’ve got an injured arm so if I lose…
G: I’ve got pretty big guns so….(laughter)
MADE: OK, on your marks, get set, go.
(instant win by GInelle)
M: You see that? You see that? (laughter)
MADE: True gentleman right there, good call. (laughter)
M: So, what’s the juiciest scoop that I’ve ever heard? Or, eaves dropped on? Oh, I believe it was a gentleman having relations with this girl and he never called her back. She was telling her girlfriends, she gave it up to him and he didn’t end up calling her back. That was funny. (laughter)
MADE: We’re going to do a bit of a how well do you know each other game, so for the first question, Ginelle, what would you say is your most annoying habit?
G: My most annoying habit that he would say? Hmm.
M: And that was just one of them, that was just one. (laughter)
G: My most annoying habit? Maybe he thinks sometimes …(laughter) Is that something I do or the way I am? I think he’s going to say I am (pauses to think) I don’t know.
M: See there are so many, you were thinking about them. (laughter)
G: No, I’m thinking of you.
M: No, think about yourself and what you do. (laughter) Don’t think of me, I go in, I’m not holding back!
G: Maybe he thinks I’m bossy?
MADE: The correct answer from his point of view was, “Hair in the bathroom”.
G: Ahhhh. That is, that is. That is. (laughter) That is what he hates.
MADE: And, Major, what do you think Ginelle would say is yours?
M: Ginelle? I don’t know, when I get up in the morning, it’s imbedded in me — and it’s genetic, its from my genetics, from my father, it’s from the family tree — we get up, we trumpet at dawn, we let one rip. You, know? Just fart man, just let it go! (laughter)
MADE: That is the correct answer! One point for Ginelle.
M: That’s right, just let it go. (laughter)
G: I know, I’m there. Every morning. (laughter)
M: She actually calls it the Trumpet of Dawn. (laughter)
MADE: Question number 2, what is your favourite snack, Ginelle?
G: My favourite snack? What did he say? I’m not a big snack person, but I love candy.
MADE: Ding, ding, ding! That is correct! (laughter)
M: Bulk Barn. Written all over your face! (laughter) Check her bag!
(Ginelle takes a bag of candy out of her purse and there is laughter all around)
MADE: (to Major) Very good, you know your lady. So what would Ginelle say is your favourite snack?
M: Favourite snack, eh? Aw man. (pauses to think) she would say, probably, cookies, chocolate chip cookies. (laughter)
MADE: (applause) Right answer! Yay!
M: You’ve got to hear her when we’re at the grocery shop, “Put down the box of cookies!!” (laughter)
G: I knew you would know! That’s what you always want to get!
M: I’m a chocolate chip kind of guy, so.
MADE: Next question, Where was your first date?
G: The Muse.
MADE: That’s correct. And Major wrote the same. You both remember. Finally, who was your favourite Spice Girl?
G: I’ll have to go with Scary.
MADE: That is correct!!
M: That was random! (laughter) I said Scary, but I don’t know. I was like, “Maybe she liked one of the other girls”
MADE: And who would Ginelle say is her favourite spice girl?
M: Scary? I’ll go with Eddie’s girl. (laughter)
MADE: Yes! Yay, you guys are ready for marriage, according to our blog. (laughter)
M: That was pretty good, what was that 4 questions each? 7/8? We’re on point.
MADE: So, back to business, what can we expect from you in the next year?
M: In the next year? I’m going to be a mogul, I’m going to lock down the city and JD Era is going to be the biggest artist. I’m telling you. Era’s going to be one of the biggest artists, not just for Canada, but in the industry. That’s our goal.
MADE: Are there any other labels out there that you respect?
M: I respect Belly’s label, Capital Prophet (CP) Records. I respect what they’re doing, they have their business structured up, right. But, at the end of the day, they are totally different from what we do. I think our music will speak for itself instead of us trying to force feed you with it. But, they are a good independent label. I don’t really see anyone else doing anything that is bigger than us or CP Records.
MADE: Who do you admire?
M: I like Barack Obama. He’s a born leader, and he’s a realist too. He can relate to certain things about where we’re coming from, just a black generation. And he stands for something, you know what I mean? He’s a big inspiration to a lot of young Black individuals, and a lot of individuals as a whole, not only Black, but across the board. I think he’s a great person to be inspired by.
MADE: We’re going to put you on the spot, how had Ginelle improved your life?
M: Ginelle, she is a class act. She’s a one of a kind. She keeps me grounded, you know? She keeps me in reality and separates me
from the nonsense into what really makes sense. She’s very supportive and she has a lot of insights and a lot of things that are helpful. She’s been a strong, strong person overall.
MADE: He’s getting points! (laughs)
M: It’s true, and she’s hip hop 101, I thought I knew a lot about hip hop, she’s knowledgable about hip hop. And she kind of educates me too, you know? The stuff that I’m missing she looks out for, so she’s my eyes too. Bobby and Whitney!! (laughter)
MADE: And do you have any personal projects you’re working on now?
M: I don’t really want to disclose anything right now, but what’s coming out is going to be EPK which is going to be really, really epic. A lot of big features, a lot of big producers. We’re trying to bring back the essence of hip hop.
MADE: That’s refreshing, because there are a lot of (makes the hand gesture for so/so)
M: Watered down, sort of manufactured, cotton candy, Bulk Barn …(laughter) We’re just trying to bring back that era, you know? That ’90’s hip hop and make everything memorable again. Have some substance. There’s no substance or body to hip hop nowadays. It’s all watered down, very straight formulaic bullshit. So, hopefully we can change that.
Check out JD’s new song Cover Girl feat. Bobby V
Love Mark Ronson a little bit. (“Little bit” being an understatement.)