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Jay-Z & Timbaland »

What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 6/06/2005 09:26:00 PM

Player Watch: Former Roc-A-Fella Exec & Atlantic's New A&R, Gee Roberson

Source: AHH


After providing Roc-A-Fella's trademark soul sample sound, Gee Roberson has taken his imprint to Atlantic Records –making him a player to watch in 2005.

Thankfully for Gee Roberson, things don't always work out as planned. After entering Maryland's Towson State University with hopes of becoming a doctor, medicine became too much to handle and Roberson quickly changed career fields.

"I went in pre-med. After taking those biology and chemistry classes, I said, 'I'm getting the hell out of science' and switched to communications. What happened was, I got an internship my second year of college working at Pay Day Records," Gee told SOHH.com. "I was working the Jay sh!t in Maryland and D.C. On top of interning, I was the man at Towson and Morgan throwing all the homecoming parties, throwing all the shows. So, I was doing promotions for the 'In My Lifetime' single. That's how I met Dame's brother, Bobby Dash and I met Dame [Dash] and, of course, Jay. That was '94, '95."

Upon graduating, Bobby Dash hired Gee to join the Roc-A-Fella fold where he would worked on college promotions before handling mixshow promotions. Yet, years into his gig, Gee decided that he wanted to make records rather than promote them. That's when Roberson approached Kyambo "Hip-Hop" Joshua -then Roc-A-Fella's sole A&R, and pitched the idea of building a production team.

"During that time everybody was a click and all these cliques had their own production crews except for us. I was like we need our own crew of producers like Bad Boy got the Hitmen, No Limit got Beats By The Pound, Death Row got [Dr.] Dre like.. we need our own in-house sh!t," Roberson explained to SOHH.com. "Roc at the time, I guess just wasn't interested in having their own Roc-A-Fella producers. So Hip-Hop and I started our own company which was called Roc The World and we signed Just Blaze and Kanye West. Of course, considering the name of the company, Roc The World, everyone assumed that it was a Jay-Z/Dame Dash-owned company when the two owners were only me and Hip-Hop. It only helped everybody's career as well as ours."

Today, Just and Kanye are two of Hip-Hop's most sought after producers. Yet, Gee still remembers when the two beatsmiths were potential geniuses working in relative obscurity.

"Hip-Hop knew Kanye for a while as far as working with D Dot. He was really producing a lot of joints as far as helping out doing ghost production. Out the gate, hearing his beats intrigued us the most. He was like, 'I rap too.' We were like, 'we'll bring you on as a rapper and a producer,'" Gee offered. "I did not know nothing about Just until I was kicking it with Dino [Duvalier] (Columbia A&R) in his office catching up on sh!t and he was playing these beats. I'm like, 'Yo these sh!ts is crazy!' He was like, 'It's some kid named Just Blaze.' I was like, 'Word, I gotta find this dude.' I just went on a hunt to look for this dude."

Once signed to Roc The World, Just and Kanye, under Gee and Hip-Hop's guidance, slowly began placing tracks and eventually blew up following their contributions to Hov's Blueprint. Shortly after, the duo renamed their imprint Hip-Hop Since 1978 and moved to Atlantic Records where they currently both serve as Senior VP of A&R.

"Our main vision and goal is to just keep the revolving door of hits and relevant artists in the game. We always do the utmost in bringing artists that are relevant. We're really into searching for catalogue artists. The vision of seeing an artist, having the vision to know that I could work with this artist for the next 10 to 15 years and put out at least 10 albums," Gee explained to SOHH.com. "That's the way we wanna keep it. So, it's all about the integrity as opposed to just looking for a one hit wonder when you can easily get that; but that's not what Hip-Hop Since 1978 is about."

Gee Roberson's Play-O-Graphy

Projects for 2005

-Lil Kim album

-Kanye West album (Hip-Hop Since 1978)

-Twista album

-Saigon album (Hip-Hop Since 1978 in conjunction with Just Blaze's Fort Knox imprint)

-Tana Black album (Hip-Hop Since 1978)

-Governor album "He's part of Grand Hustle. It's an R&B cat. We're doing that with T.I."

Projections for 2005

"We just hope to continue success. We have a great platform and we've been blessed with many things, so we just wish to accomplish that same bass line and excel more from that as far as everything being a step up. We compete within ourselves for what we did last. For all the artists that we're involved and working with, we look forward to helping them in their goals to always putting out good product and having the masses appreciate it and to always do a level better."

Gee Roberson's "Watchlist"

-Sha Money "He's a player to watch as far as the success he's getting not only as a producer, but also what he did for 50 in terms of management and teaming up with Chris Lighty and as far as managing [Lloyd] Banks, Young Buck and [Tony] Yayo. He's definitely a strong player to watch."

-Mark Pitts (Senior VP of A&R at Jive Records) "He was one of the A&R's for Usher's album. He managed Big. He's definitely someone to watch."

Quote for the year

"Always put god first and believe in yourself"

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