BY DAN GARCIA
While we have known about the signing for awhile, Jay-Z made the official announcement that Chicago’s own, Vic Mensa, is the newest member of Roc Nation Records. Perhaps the most interesting part about the deal is the story behind the signing, which dates back from over a year ago. Jay-Z’s right-hand-man at Roc Nation, executive Lenny Santiago, shared an awesome story about how he first pursued and eventually signed Vic Mensa.
As Santiago shares, while Vic Mensa’s “I don’t care which label you’re from” attitude almost stopped a deal from taking place, it was Mensa’s love for the music and culture that made the partnership happen.
Check out the full story below!
From Santiago’s Instagram:
“A while back, I caught wind of an artist from Chicago who I thought had undeniable talent + lots of potential. I had @spanish_ran get in contact with @codykazarian who was a part of the mgmt team. I flew to Chi to go see this kid perform.
As a music exec, I’m excited about traveling to the Chi to meet this guy for the 1st time. Coming from Roc, I assumed he’d be ecstatic. I assumed wrong. He barely gives me a head nod after Cody intros us. Now the show’s over, every1 is gone & still nothin’. As I’m leaving, he stops me + says “yo, thanks for coming homie, where u from again?” I’d be lying to say I wasn’t slightly offended. Ha. I sarcastically answered “just a lil rec company named ROC NATION”. He replies, “oh, who y’all got there?” If u know me & my ROC pride, I’m offended again. Me: “Not sure if you’ve heard of them, a few small artists like, JZ, JCole & Rihanna”. He says, oh cool + keeps it moving. All Good…
Fast fwd a few months. Cody keeps me updated on everything they’re doing + without question, I show up. Chi, ATL, Detroit, LA, NY etc. Finally, I meet Dan, the 2nd half of mgmt team while they’re in NY filming Wildn’ Out. Dan doesn’t even give me eye contact during our intro. At this point I’m tight.. Who the fuck r these guys?! Who do they think they r ?! Fuck that! Do they not know who I am & the company I rep?! WTF!
Days later I convince myself to put my stubbornness/pride aside & reach out. Fuck it, this dude is too dope. Why should I lose out just cause it seems like they’re not impressed w/ Lenny S or Roc.
I hit Cody..He tells me Vic wanted to holla at me. We kick it for months. They tell me nothin can move if I’m not good w/Dan. I sat w/ all of em in LA & I told them every reason y ROC was perfect for em. They didn’t care about the hype, $, offers etc. They cared about making a connection w/ music/culture & partnering with a company who understood their vision/art. Same thing Roc believes in. We shook on it. Last piece of the puzzle: Meet w/ Chaka & J. My 20m meeting lasted 3hrs. We talked bout art/icons/rock/HipHop etc & decided our new business partners were SAVEMONEY! 1 of my most proud signings! VIC MENSA!!”