Issa Rae, whose five-season run with HBO Unsafe ended with a finale on Sunday (December 26), dipped more than one toe in the music industry.
She launched her own label, Raedio, and is producing a new show about budding rappers, using her existing career to help launch music.
But rather than appearing to be thrilled to branch out into another industry, Rae gives the impression that she’s entered a den of vipers.
When asked if the music business is “a place where good ideas flourish,” Rae replied, “Absolutely not. It’s probably the worst industry I’ve ever encountered,” he said. she declared to Los Angeles Times‘ Mikael Wood in a Q&A about his personal and professional experiences with music.
“I thought Hollywood was crazy,” Rae continued. “The music industry has to start all over again.
“There are a lot of conflicts of interest. Archaic mindsets. Bad guys and criminals! It’s an addictive industry, and I really feel for the artists who need to get into it… was something shocking” to find out, she said.
Rae did not go into her dismay with the music industry beyond generalities, but indicated that her feelings were based on a combination of her own experiences creating soundtracks and hearing artists talk about it. which they deal with regularly.
“I don’t want to be too specific, but even making our own appointments (for soundtracks) with labels or artists, it would be so complicated.
“And knowing how artists were treated on other labels… When I’m a creator myself and I know what I want from a relationship with a production company or a producer, I’d like to think that ‘We’re more artist-friendly than a lot of other brands and companies out there.
Rae also hit out at the Grammys in the interview and picked out one record in particular that she thought was unfairly snubbed.
“What really depresses me – and it fits with Hollywood – is how music is rewarded. When I think of the Grammys and these other systems designed to reward artistic creativity and elevate artists, I just ‘impression, ‘O’ all don’t understand What are you rewarding?
“It’s stupid, but I’ll say it anyway: a song like (Wizkid’s) Gasoline — absolutely a powerhouse, and yet couldn’t be properly recognized by the institution that’s supposed to celebrate the best in music — this trips me up.
“Seeing black people and our contributions to music not being celebrated the way they should be — I mean, they’re not institutions for us.”
by Wizkid Gasoline was nominated for a Grammy for World’s Best Musical Performance, but not for Record of the Year.
Asked about the omission in a recent interview with Billboard, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said, “It’s a great record. He’s a very talented artist. I can’t explain why he didn’t make it, but I do. I really like the record.”
Rae had plenty of good words for the individual artists in the interview, highlighting, naturally, the 2021 hits of Jazmine Sullivan, who recorded a title track for Unsafe in Season 2 with Bryson Tiller, saying, “She’s literally pure talent.”
Rae also cited Don Toliver and Cleo Sol as personal musical favorites this year.
Looking back on the show, Rae said, “We highlighted female singers and female rappers in a distinct way while others weren’t – I’m thinking TT the Artist and Kari Faux in Season 1 … It was one of the mandates – LA Artists, Independent Artists.
“Kier (Lehman, the show’s music supervisor) put me on so many new artists that I felt like I got the sound of the show. And then, of course, I do my own research for People I like.
As a music lover, nothing excites me more than feeling like I’m on an artist first.” – Reuters