About a year ago, independent label Think It's a Game nurtured the career of Trinidad James, prodding him into stardom off the strength of the single "All Gold Everything." Now, Think It's a Game is doing the same with Atlanta native Rich Homie Quan, who possesses a street-certified edge.
Around the time James was taking off, Think It's a Game founder Fly walked into a store on Atlanta's East Side and heard Quan's "I Go in on Every Song" playing. Floored by what he heard, Fly pressed the staff for a copy. "I popped it in once I got in my car," he recalls. "And I was like, ‘Man, he's going in!'" His first thought was to sign the young rapper.
Before the ink could dry on Quan's contract, the Think It's a Game staff repackaged his mixtape, adding a few tracks and renaming it "Still Goin' In." The label pushed a couple of specially selected songs, including first single "Differences" and the newly released "Type of Way."
"We built the song in the streets first," Fly says. "So by the time it got to radio, people were already familiar with it and requesting it."
"Type of Way," Quan's career-launching hit, holds at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100 after a steady climb and steps 12-9 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and 10-8 on Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop. Now, the 23-year-old and his team are negotiating publishing contracts, label deals, endorsements and more, all while working on his debut studio album, which, according to Quan, is 30% complete.
Although Fly doesn't reveal which major labels have been calling, he says there have been quite a few and that Quan is considering them all carefully. It's safe to say that Quan has a bit of pull these days, as he's been working with Dallas Austin, Monica, Wale, Big Sean and others on his debut.
Corey Lamar, Quan's father and manager, admits to having some influence on Quan's "Type of Way." Around the time Still Goin' In was finished, Lamar had a conversation with Fly about which song to push. "I said ‘Differences' could do it but we need to get him back in the studio, put him on his grind and let him come out with a banger." The day that "Type of Way" was recorded, everyone agreed that it was the one.
"What you have to realize is that Quan grew up in the church," Lamar says. "One of the things I always stressed to him is that we don't depend on man. As long as you do what you're supposed to do, God will take care of the rest."
The artist in the middle of all this attention is spent at times, Quan says, but always grateful for the new opportunities. He chuckles when asked about its effects. "I don't know if I should use that word, ‘tired,'" he says. "But it comes with it. It happened so fast, but I'm very thankful. It's making me more focused and showing me that people are really paying attention. I'm so excited about it all, and sometimes I'm tired, but I do realize that you really do get back what you put in."
Quan says that he believes people are starting to understand parts of his story, but his goal is to get them to connect beyond "Type of Way."
"It's not about me," he says. "It's about making the brand bigger than life. My days are busy only because I've made them busy so I can stay on top. Put that pressure on people."
He hopes to make the Rich Homie family as big as another Southern startup. "Everything starts somewhere," he says. "I'm pretty sure when Cash Money first started off, they didn't think it would get as big as it is today. I just want something that can last forever."