As hip-hop tastemaking site Masked Gorilla celebrates its 10th anniversary, founder Roger Gengo is launching Masked Records, a new label joint venture with Warner Records.
The label’s first signing is breakout rapper 2KBABY, whose debut track “Old Streets” has reeled in more than 2.6 million Spotify streams since its June release.
Gengo established Masked Gorilla when he was just 17 years old. The site quickly built a reputation for championing underground artists, and went on to produce Mac Miller‘s first-ever video interview, alongside early video interviews with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples and Childish Gambino.
“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Roger to launch Masked Records,” said Warner Records co-chairman/CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck. “What he’s done as a young entrepreneur over the past decade has been nothing short of amazing — literally redefining the hip-hop landscape, time and time again identifying groundbreaking artists while they were still way under the radar.
“And that’s what real A&R is all about — great ears, impeccable taste, and the discovery and nurturing of original talent,” he continued. “We’re looking forward to giving Roger and Masked the platform and resources to grow organically and create culture-shifting music.”
Masked Gorilla has now generated more than 20,000 articles and spawned the UNMASKED concert series along with a podcast show that Gengo produces. But Masked Records, Gengo adds, will allow him to support artists’ careers in yet another meaningful way.
“For the past 10 years I’ve dedicated my life to discovering and sharing new artists through Masked Gorilla and UNMASKED,” he says. “Over the years I’ve been able to establish incredible relationships with artists by not asking how I could benefit, but instead asking how I could be of service.
“As my insight grew, my drive to help and influence artists’ careers in a more major way grew as well. It’s always been my dream to not only service these artists in a more major way with a record label, but to do it in partnership with a company that has the vision, integrity, and progressive environment to best serve the artists who have trusted us with their music.”