Branding. Diversity. Cross-over appeal. Today, the music industry has transformed its business model into a format that requires emerging and established artists alike, to wear many hats and hustle into the forefront. No one understands the grind and intricacies of the business more than Hot Rod, one ofthe most exciting and innovative artists to emerge.
Hailing from Sacramento, California, Hot Rod has blazed his own path and taken it upon himself to rival the energy and tenacity of his label head, 50 Cent. 50 Cent signed Hot Rod in 2006 when he was releasing mix tapes and demos, one of which found its way to the hip hop mogul. “I was working for my brother during the real estate boom in Phoenix. He had me in training, learning the ropes as a loan officer, when a call came in from 50,” Rod recalls. “He asked me if I worked, and I said,
‘Yeah, I’m actually at work right now. 50 said, ‘Quit. You don’t need to work anymore.”
Hot Rod’s musical debut on G-Unit came on the 2006, DJ Whoo Kid mix-tape, “G-Unit Radio, Part 22: Hip Hop Is Dead.” Later that year Rod released the single “Be Easy,” featuring Mary J. Blige, who also appeared in the video.
Hot Rod soon learned that being signed to a major label doesn’t always ensure success because it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle with a talented roster. It was then, Rod decided to tour Europe and learn the dance music culture. Europe’s passion for dance music is second only to soccer.
It was in Europe, where Hot Rod was exposed to a new world and sound that has attracted the interest of notable stars like Kanye West and Rihanna. Clubs from London to Berlin have embraced the hypnotic, hard- hitting dance music formats like dub step and house.
Hot Rod immediately went into the studio and unveiled a new sound; his own spin of urban hip-hop mixed in with dance. No where was the sound more personified than on Rod’s 2008 controversial single, “I Like To F*ck.” The song leaked onto the web and virally became an overnight sensation after MTV’s, Tila Tequila, hopped on the remix.
Hot Rod has since returned to the States, geared up to debut his freshman album, “My Life”, on 50 Cent’s new label, G-Note. G-Note is the latest brainchild of the ever-expanding empire, G-Unit. Music fans recognize G-Unit for its “gangsta” sound, which lead CEO, 50 Cent, to fill the void by creating G-Note which features Pop, Dance and R&B artists. Hot Rod is poised to become the premier artist of the new label.
Slated for a Fall 2011 release, “My Life,” features collaborations with some of the biggest names in the business including David Guetta, Bob Sinclar, and DJ Chuckie. Produced by Fuego, the first single, “Dance
With Me,” made a strong debut on both the Billboard Dance Club Chart and the Billboard Hot Dance Airplay Chart, and is steadily climbing.
Nuthin’ Under A Million; produced up-tempo title track, “My Life,” is a feel-good jam declaring just how beautiful life can be. Hot Rod shares “this record is fast, energetic, and describes my life.” The track, “Switch,” was a challenge for Hot Rod, who took several takes in the studio, before nailing the track. “Even naming the record, ‘Switch,’ just explains my influences and the complete transition I went through from an urban artist to a pop artist.”
One of Hot Rod’s favorite tracks is the melodic, “Wonderful Day,” which was written for any guy who has a special lady that brightens up their day. Rod collaborates with his boss, 50 Cent, on the thumping track, “Show Off.” Rod recalls, “I originally laid two verses to the record, but when 50’ heard it, he went bananas. The engineer opened up a slot for him and he laid a verse on the spot! That was a dope feeling, knowing that the record was so exciting, it could get an artist as big as 50 Cent, excited enough to get on board.”
Hot Rod is following the prototype of his mentor, 50 Cent, and hopes to eventually branch into film and one day launch his own record label. Hot Rod sums up his journey with the following quote, “The future holds crazy things, because in my life, every night is a Friday night.”