If you want to be successful in the entertainment industry or in media in general, it is impossible to avoid the presence of the hip-hop culture. Which is exactly why mainstream publications like Rolling Stone magazine, Vogue, and Forbes have specially curated issues and content that praise some of our most beloved brothers and sisters of the culture. Now, Billboard has joined the wave by recently releasing their very first R&B/Hip-Hop Power Issue in which surprisingly, the publication got something in right in electing Quality Control’s co-founders in Pierre ‘Pee’ Thomas and Kevin ‘Coach K’ Lee as their Executives of the Year.
The business aspect of hip-hop has always held this obscure, mystique aura in which understanding the industry is unattainable to the casual fan. And for hip-hop purists, there’s this strange rhetoric where hardcore enthusiasts believe market and trade doesn’t need to coincide with the artistic elements of the culture. Fortunately, there have been a plethora of business-minded individuals that have infiltrated the music industry to curate their own movements.
Whether it be the combination of– Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke, Dame Dash, and Jay Z to start the Roc-a-Fella movement after being rejected by every record label in existence, Chris and Irv Gotti the founders of the infamous Murder Inc. Records, or Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs who single-handedly built Bad Boy Records from the ground up– the true partakers of the culture who live and breathe hip-hop have prevailed. And now, Quality Control’s Pierre ‘Pee’ Thomas and Kevin ‘Coach K’ Lee are this generation’s black music industry executives that truly have their artists best interest at heart.
Atlanta-based Pierre and Coach K founded Quality Control Music [also known as QC The Label] in 2012. The label originally had a distribution deal with Universal Music until the two brands separated in 2015. Now, QC is in partnership with Motown and Caroline [subsidary of a Capitol Music Group] for distribution purposes.
Both Coach K and Pee have a keen eye for talent as the execs have signed the likes of hip-hop megastar group, The Migos, teen sensation Lil Yachty, the quick-rising Stefflon Don, their newest talent in Lil Baby and many more. The QC founders not only built a grassroots record label, the two have also launched a management company called Solid Foundation and have signed top-tier talent in both Cardi B and Trippie Redd.
In a little more than half the decade, the combination of Coach K and Pee have single-handedly sonically shifted the sound of the culture with the consistent release of content coming from their multi-platinum artists. The Migos’ rose to prominence shortly after being unveiled to the general public by QC in 2013 with their hit single ‘Versace’. Since then the group has gone on to sell millions of records and now have a combined estimated net worth of $50 million.
A similar success story can be told for Lil Yachty who linked up with Coach K in 2015 and quickly gained a cult-like following after releasing his first EP entitled Summer Songs. Now, Yachty’s making plays on another level thanks to the guidance of K and Pee and is looking into break into Hollywood as rumors are swirling of Yachty starring in the upcoming How High 2 film.
Coach K and Pee know exactly how to finesse today’s music audiences whether it be leaking a record or utilizing their acts controversy to generate a profit. Then again, from an artistic standpoint Quality Control produces an elite product that has yet to be stopped. Hopefully, the youth is taking notes and will follow Pierre ‘Pee’ Thomas’ and Kevin ‘Coach K’ Lee’s blueprint in order to curate their own movements. With that said, congratulations to Pee and Coach K not only for landing the honor of becoming Billboard‘s first ever Executives of the Year in their R&B/Hip-Hop Power issue but for all of their accomplishments in moving the culture forward. Respect and long live Quality Control.