Quality Control is on a streak right now. Lil Baby and Gunna joined forces to drop their lauded joint effort Drip Harder, Lil Yachty had “nuthin 2 prove,” and each member of the Migos chose this year to make his solo album debut. With the spotlight shining on the QC team, right in the midst of this perfect storm, they present their secret weapon: Jordan Hollywood, a 25-year-old artist hailing from Broward County, Florida. Today, he releases his newest project, Finally, and also premieres his video for “Leave Me.”
The video is an intense visual depiction of the extreme lengths he is willing to go to show his lover they should stick together through the storm. “The song is me telling you, ‘I love you and I’ll do whatever it takes,”’ he tells Billboard. “Leave Me” was written about a year ago when Hollywood was forced to focus on his music career more than his relationship.
Although Hollywood inked a deal with the record label of his dreams, his path to this point has never been linear. After first stepping into a studio at age 15, Jordan Hollywood decided then and there that this is the only path he wanted to pursue. He quit school immediately, and after putting in a decade’s worth of work on his music, he found his music family in Atlanta after winning over the industry legends Coach K and Pee.
“When you’re in Atlanta, [Quality Control] runs that shit. You just feel it,” Hollywood tells Billboard on why he knew this was the right move. “They run the whole game just in general in my opinion, but especially in Atlanta. It’s just something so special about it. It’s like when the president is around town in Washington, D.C. When you come to Atlanta, you just feel it, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Jordan Hollywood spoke with Billboard about coming from Broward County, why he chose Quality Control, and his new video “Leave Me.” Check out the full conversation below.
The “Leave Me” video plays out like the final scene of a movie. Could you tell me about why you and your team chose to go in that direction?
With my whole team behind me, it just happens like that. I’m a real creative person and with my name being Jordan Hollywood, it think it fits perfectly to have these cinematic videos. I know it happens naturally though because whenever I try to express myself, it always winds up like that, always very violent, but also calm and collected at the same time. If that confuses anyone, what I’m trying to say becomes clear after watching this “Leave Me” video. It was about what was going on in my life.
Do the people you’re shooting in the video represent anything in particular?
When I say in the song, “I’m moving in slow motion for you, don’t leave me,” it’s about the relationship and the lifestyle that I lived. My girl at the time wanted to settle down even more and wanted to take the next steps in the relationship while I’m just so focused on music and my career. “Don’t leave me.” I know you want to take the next steps and do certain things that we’re not doing at the moment, so the song is just me telling you, “I love you and I’ll do whatever it takes.” If you were to get kidnapped, I’m pulling up. If I have to drop the money off to get you back, I’ll do it. Together our chemistry is just incredible. That’s what the things in the video and the song mean to me.
One line right in the beginning of the song that made me think was: “Maybe my music should be more conscious/ Maybe I should try to switch the content.” Do you truly feel the pressure to do so?
You want to know what’s crazy about that? In the line before that, I said, “No magazine, but our love is complex/ Complex won’t post my shit, it’s just nonsense.” In my last album, we were trying to get some support for certain companies and sites. Complex turned me down. But then, they wound up premiering one of my next songs. I wrote “Leave Me” a year ago so that was before this next step happened. So I said in the song, “Maybe my music should be more conscious, maybe I should try to switch the content.” It’s like, what don’t you like? Maybe this is something I should do? But I’ve learned, at the end of the day, I’ll never change for anybody. And it all worked out.
Could you take me back and tell me the story of how you got signed? What made Quality Control feel like home?
At the time, I just dropped a project in 2016. I was getting a lot of support and industry buzz, and a bunch of labels were contacting us. Me and my boys were spending a lot of time in Atlanta, just taking meetings and politicking. When you’re in Atlanta, QC runs that shit. You just feel it. They run the whole game just in general in my opinion, but especially in Atlanta. It’s just something so special about it. It’s like when the president is around town in Washington D.C. When you come to Atlanta, you just feel it, and I wanted to be a part of that. I’m very in tune with the music business so I knew their story and the type of people that they are. Something inside me felt like I had to be down with them. That’s it. I just went after it. I started calling people, one person after another. We got in contact with them and as soon as they heard the music, that was that. It spoke for itself. It went crazy.
You found your music family in Atlanta, but Broward County, Florida, is where you’re from. Broward County seems to be the new hub for the hottest talent this year.
Broward County is going to be my home forever and I’m never going to leave. I have a house there now and I never plan to completely leave. I’m in LA and Atlanta [for] a lot for music and it’s good for what I do. I think Kodak Black and XXXTentacion — rest in peace — really were huge influences to start the whole wave. The music industry likes to duplicate a lot of stuff, so when they came out and they started popping, the labels were like, “Damn, we need to see what’s going on in Broward County.”
It was Atlanta at first, and it’s still Atlanta, but then Broward County just became that name. Nowadays, you get clout when you’re able to say “I’m from Broward County.” I always repped it, but back in the day, people always thought it wasn’t cool to say it. Everyone from Broward used to rep Miami because they didn’t want to rep something that no one knew. Now, it’s so dope to see us getting the respect we deserve.
Quality Control is on a hot streak. You got the Lil Baby and Gunna joint, Quavo’s album, Takeoff’s album, and you’re next. How does it feel to see your team is so hot and now your project is dropping side by side with all these great artists?
I feel so blessed. I’ve been down with QC for a bit now, like a year. I’m glad that I’m just coming out now with my project. I had the time to build that real relationship with Coach K and Pee. I was just really able to genuinely earn my stripes, you feel me? One thing about QC is they’re definitely not just a typical label. They don’t sign people just because they’re hot. They sign people based on family fit and loyalty. I stayed loyal this whole time and I’ve learned a lot. Less about the music, but more about how to handle myself and how to move. It’s crazy coming out now because they wouldn’t be putting me out of they didn’t believe in me.
This is a very important project for you, and you named it Finally. What’s giving you this sense of finality?
I’ve been recording since 2016 and I have over 200 records. We chose the 13 best records out of 200 and that was just the hardest task ever. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my career. It hurts and there’s definitely some songs that I wish were on the project, but I know they’ll come out later on at the right time. We picked the best ones and I’m super happy about them and it’s like — finally. That’s why I named it that, because I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life. When I say “finally,” it’s not much of a success thing because I feel like I truly won’t achieve my definition of success until I’m the biggest artist in the game, but it’s more about how everything I’ve ever wanted, I have now. I create freely, I’m signed to the best label in the world, I have full creative control, and I have a platform now. Whatever vision I have, I can do it. That’s the best feeling. When I say “finally,” that’s what I mean. To be an artist, not a lot of artists feel the way I feel. They feel controlled or manipulated by people telling them what to do all the time. With me, I feel like I’m in the perfect space and it’s an unbelievable feeling.
Was there a specific moment for you where this all clicked in your head?
When I was 15, it was the first time I ever walked into a real studio. I just instantly felt like this is where I need to be. I dropped out of school immediately. I was like, I can’t do this school thing anymore because I don’t want to do anything else but music. That feeling literally hasn’t changed since then and I wake up every day telling myself that losing is not an option. I don’t care how long it takes, I’m never going to stop. I knew I wanted to do music way before that first moment when I was 15 in the studio, but that’s when it clicked and it felt like this is where I truly belong. I can’t see myself doing anything else. There was never a plan B.
My favorite quote is “Keep grindin’, boy, ‘cause your life can change in one year.” Take me back to exactly a year ago. What was going on for you, and how does it feel to look back from where you are now?
In terms of my mentality, what I’ve accomplished in this one year has been more than what I’ve accomplished in nine years before that. I’ve been doing this shit since I was 15 years old. I’m 25 now, that’s 10 years strong, so I’m a young OG in this shit. Thinking of this time last year, it makes me reflect on the mentality part of it first. Everything that you’ve been through is what gets you ready for that one year that changes your life. You don’t just wake up and have an amazing year. It took the nine years of me failing and things not going right, for this year to be the best year for me. My mind-set because of this past year just feels so incredible. I feel unstoppable.
At this time last year, I probably had about $15,000 to my name. I worked super hard to get that. I was on the verge of signing this deal and I knew I was about to get this check. I knew I was about to be able to do a bunch of things I was never able to do. I knew I was going to be able to shoot these videos like the “Leave Me” one coming out today. It’s really so hard to explain this feeling. I have my own record label called The Wasted Youth and I blew up two artist under it. I got a producer who is doing phenomenal right now. I’ve always wanted to do this and I did it. Every kid wants to sign a record deal, I and get to say I signed one to the best label in the world. My mom is straight and she’s taken care of. I’m just feeling super blessed.
That’s a great quote.
It really is. I can’t take credit for it, though. It’s actually a J. Cole bar.
Well, that’s a great bar and it’s the most true thing ever. My favorite quote of all-time I want to leave off with is: “Stay down ‘till you come up.” People could take it how they want to take it, but for me it means to stay patient and real. When it’s time to be patient, people show their true colors and become unloyal. Stay down, down for your people. When it’s time to buckle down, stay loyal and focused. Then, your time will come, “finally.”