Getting into the music industry is tough for young artists. Often, it is as gated as any community of affluence and nothing short of being the child of a star or somehow adjacent to someone famous can get one through the door.
Kr8vN8vs Records founder, Romell Weaver was not satisfied with this.
“Kr8vN8vs, started from me just wanting to cut red tape as far as submitting things and having that record label tag,” Weaver said. “It was really just me putting a stamp on myself to get it through some doors that wouldn’t open at first.”
Weaver started making music as a young child back in Racine, Wisconsin.
“I’ve been reading and playing music since I was about 7,” Weaver said. “And I’ve been writing…I wrote my first rap around 6 years old”
“The first rap song I ever heard was, ‘I Need Love’ by LL Cool J.”
LL Cool J set Weaver on a path that took him from Racine to the Air Force where he was based in Omaha, Nebraska to Louisville, Kentucky, where he and his wife Tae Weaver run the Kr8vN8vs label.
The label isn’t just about hip-hop though.
“We have a variety [of artists]. A lot of hip-hop. We have two R&B artists and we have Church Friends…we have a whole alternative rock band,” said Weaver.
“I started out wanting to do just hip-hop and I thought, ‘Why box myself in like that?’”
The pandemic stopped a lot of their activities last year. Weaver mentioned having tours set up which would have taken Kr8vN8vs artists across the country. When those tours had to cancel, they decided, as many artists did, to turn to the work.
They decided to invest in the business and equipment.
“To be honest, we beefed up our studio equipment, kept writing and collaborating,” said Weaver.
“We’re releasing a lot of new music throughout the year,” he said. “I’m on a roll right now. I plan on doing three singles a month for the rest of the year. All of the hip-hop artists are following suit. ProNoun, he’s got music coming. Dom B is working on stuff.”
Another project that is important to Weaver is to finally get Kr8vN8vs their RIAA certification. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization of the recording industry, helping to promote the work of artists and labels.
Getting this certification means that, as Weaver puts it, “That’s like a huge thing for us because we’ll be truly recognized as a record label. We’ll be nationally recognized.”
Weaver also wants to be sure that artists with his label are able to purchase their master recordings when their contracts end.
“With the whole masters thing: The label will own masters until the guys are done, and once our contracts are done, they can take their ‘shit’ and go if they want. Essentially, they can buy their masters for 10% of what it made.”
For artists to have the opportunity to purchase masters is rare and to have them be able to do so at a low rate is also unusual. This is important to the relationships Weaver wants with his artists. He doesn’t want to own their careers; he wants to be able to help their careers.
“I want them to know how to do everything themselves,” he said. “At the end of the day, if they want to leave my label…I don’t want you to go and be on your ass.”
To prevent that, he does education with the artists, showing them how to secure their registrations and to understand the language of papers they might be asked to sign.
After a long 2020, Weaver is just ready to get things moving and to begin working on some of his larger goals for the label, including getting his artists in front of live audiences.
“We’re ready for the world to get unlocked so we can get back to doing shows.”