KB & Swoope Explain Native North and why they give artists a chance
Engage in a conversation with KB and chances are the discussion will lead to economic inequality in the Christian Hip Hop sphere.
From artists not being paid in full, to producers being owed money to the cover artists getting ripped off, KB has been leading the charge with making sure artists get their fair share of money for their work.
The Reach Records’ rhyme spittter recently teamed up with Natalie Lauren, the head of A&R at Reach, to form Native North, a service creative agency that gives economic opportunities to artists with limited exposure.
“We just felt this overwhelming conviction that we must be a part of building infrastructure that gives opportunity to those who aren’t lacking in skill but that just don’t have a chance,” KB said in an interview with Wade-O. “And I think of Christian Hip Hop as this movement with an anemic infrastructure that is very much the step child of another genre that knows nothing about it.
“I think about how our money is spent, think about where our merch is printed and who is doing our management and who is doing our booking, praise God for those partnerships. But, what I’ve made clear with all my partnerships with those in Nashville is that we are building bridges here. For me to walk to you, and for you to also walk over here, that we create other opportunities for individuals that are in this genre to thrive and to live. Natalie and I have been very much convicted by that and looking at the divide in terms of economic injustice.”
Native North went big with its first artist by signing Swoope, formerly of Collision Records.
Swoope said it is difficult to define the Native North brand, but was attracted to it because he knew he would be taken care of financially and have ample resources for his career to thrive.
“(Native North is) not just merch, not just music, not just photography but all art,” he said. “It’s a place where creatives can find a house under Native… It’s a place that’s catered towards to the artist, like all the way down to the contracts…We want to empower artists, we don’t want slavery contracts. We want contracts that benefit the artist.”
On the other side of things, Native North partnered with the Justice Conference in Chicago in helping with their web display.
KB already has Native Supply, which sells clothing. Now with Native North, KB has expanded the Native brand. He said Native North is not exclusively a Christian venture, but that it is Christian center.
Despite his new business endeavor, KB says he does not plan to leave Reach Records.
He says he enjoys the freedom Reach has given him as a Christian Hip Hop artist by allowing him to be himself.
However, he said he does not know how much longer he’ll be rapping.
“My goal is to ease into the background and help to empower my brothers and sisters,” he said.
And with Native North, KB lets the artist be front and center.