Uncle Luke: Penetrating The Industry
I come from a mother and father. My father is a Jamaican guy, very political. Always talked about politics at home. My mother was a hard working lady, two jobs. I come from an Island background, Most Island people just work so much. Thats pretty much what made me me. Everyone in my family is hard working people, educated people.
You are credited with creating the Miami sound. How did that come about?
It was more like where Im from. The music is up tempo with a lot of base in it. Thats what Island music is. My father is Jamaican. I spent a lot of time over there. And I spent a lot of time doing Jamaican 8-track tapes. So listening to that music and being that Miami is so Caribbean, its like to create a sound, you had to have up tempo, a lot of bass, and real sexual driven. Its a real sexual city. Everything about the Islands and Miami is really sexually oriented because its so hot people dont dress with as much clothes, lot of beaches, lot of bikinis, lots of dancing. Most Island people like dancing. And Miami people too. Thats how the music came about. It made sense to do it like that.
Did you start out as a solo artist?
I was a DJ. I like to DJ. I used to bring artists to perform down in Miami. I used to bring Run DMC, T La Rock, Jazzy Jay, all these different artists. I DJd real good. I was one of the best DJs in Miami. I break music. I used to tell artists Id break their record and to come down to perform. I broke 2 Live Crew records at the parties that I did. I used to do parties for 10,000 people for the weekend. Before you knew it, I brought 2 Live Crew down and they were looking for a record deal. I couldnt find them one. Everyone told them no, so I eventually ended up hooking up with them.
Werent you actually a member of 2 Live Crew?
I never had no intentions of being a member but then they were like, Oh hey, we want you to be in the group because of your DJing. DJing down there is not like DJing up here. Its like call and response, talking trash over the microphone, getting the party started. So thats what I did. The ultimate hype man. So they wanted me to be part of the group and I told them no problem, they just had to change some things. So they did. They used to do more dance music. So we changed it.
So you signed them to Luke Records?
You also discovered Pitbull and Trick Daddy. Were they signed to Luke Records too?
They were signed to me. I discovered them. H-Town, Pitbull, JT Money, Poison Clan, 2 Live Crew, Lorenzo and quite a few other artists.
Ive read that you dont think you get the overall credit you deserve for all of your accomplishments. Do you get a lot of local Miami love though?
People in the South, definitely. Its just on a national basis. Im like the Rodney Dangerfield of hip-hop. Some of the things I did, some of the precedents I set, standards that I set, I dont think I get enough credit. Thats the business that we in. Somebody got to be the black sheep and I guess I am.
Youve achieved so many firsts. How have you done that?
You got to be creative. When you dont have a big machine, or big budget, or billion dollar operation like a Sony or Universal behind you, you have to be creative. Ive always been creative at what I do. When I didnt have no money to hire promotion, I created street teams. When they told me kids are getting adult records that youre putting out, when I was the first to put those out, then I created the warning stickers thats on the records right now.
How are you such a keen businessman?
I get that from my parents and then I try to have common sense. I never claim to be no accountant or lawyer. I try to use sense and be a very honest person. Treat people how I would want them to treat me.
I also read that you are entering the adult entertainment industry.
Yes, theres less traffic. Its almost how when I started in rap, hip hop. Everyone was happy to be on major labels. As far as the business aspect it wasnt as independent as it is right now. I look at the urban adult entertainment industry and there are a lack of creative stars. There is a lack of quality. There are some good quality movies, but there needs to be more. I think I can bring that over there, making some quality productions. Quality as well as classy. Classy magazines, movies, gentlemens clubs. You dont have a chain of gentlemens clubs. A lot of things. Its so open over there. Its like when I convinced Shabba Ranks to stop doing dub plates and do albums, and I was getting ready to sign him up. I used to do him as an artist as well, him as well as a lot of other reggae artists at the club. At that time, reggae artists werent as popular all over the country and they just wanted to do dub plates. Same thing in the adult industry. I figure if I go in and do the same thing I did in the music business, itd be alright.
Im going to take it out of Motel 6 and put it in big mansions. Make it fly. You see the white girl and white guy stars, they respectable people. They carry themselves in a respectable way. Theyre stars. You dont have that in the urban adult industry. Hopefully, I can create a few stars that have that respect and well be out of the Motel 6.
Will you still run Luke Records?
Im about to have somebody run that while Im running this adult division. For a couple of years, Ive been building a business plan and doing research. A lot of my time is focused on that. And it will be until I get it up and running. Im going to do a deal with another label and I just got to oversee it.
Whats the biggest misconception people have about you?
Some people dont think I dont like women. I dont know where they get that as much as I love women and love being around them. That I degrade them. Under no circumstances do I do that. Do I feel. A lot of people dont know me, so they draw their own opinion and come to their own conclusion by looking at the entertainment that I provide for them but they dont know me as an individual which I dont have a problem with because I dont think everyone should know everybody no way. I like that big deception. Thats hot to me. People thinking Im some person that theyve been fed through the media. Its real funny when people come to my house they think theyre going to see women hanging on chandeliers, and they go to a regular house. They say Wheres the party? I laugh at them all the time. Where are the girls? What girls? If I were a garbage man, would they say, wheres the garbage truck? Why you dont smell like maggots? Its bananas.
Whos your favorite person to hang out with?
I hang out with my girlfriend. Thats about it. My nephew, outside of my girlfriend.
Whats the one thing that makes you most mad about the music industry?
That its not a Southern record label, major record company operating out of the South, ran by the South, marketing, A&R. A lot of record companies are just raping the South for its artists. There are so many other artists down there. Every city theres another Pitbull, Young Jeezy. Thats why its so easy for me to meet artists. I met T.I. like 8 years ago. All this Def Jam South, Bad Boy South, those are not real record companies that are in the South. Its a satellite office. You need a record company to invest in the South. Put a real company down there and be able to give out deals, sign artists, market them, promote them, the same way they do artists from up here and California. After all the success from the South, the first artist outside of myself to do something outside music is T.I. The South has been doing a lot of selling product for years. Thats sad. Theres no promotion and marketing put into these artists outside of the music.
Who is the next big artist out of the South?
Whats the craziest thing youve ever seen?
Every day its some new shit happening. Everywhere I go I see shocking shit. Its a big dare thing with me. I dare people to do certain things until they reach their limitations or the club owners or people stop it. Everybody surprises me. Every day I go somewhere and see something I didnt expect but I already know anything might happen. I just wait for it to happen. I have a crazy effect in people.