Steve Lobel: Lessons of Success [Interview]
Toronto ON – When discussing hip-hop legends and pioneers, a few obvious names come to mind; such as Run DMC, Bone Thugs N Harmony, NWA, etc. However, we often forget to pay homage to the unsung heroes who provide the backbone for helping start up such mentioned acts. That’s where Steve Lobel comes in.
With one of the most impressive resumes in the industry, music executive Steve Lobel is responsible for some of your favorite acts. On Caribana Sunday, the Rivoli in downtown Toronto hosted the Swagg News–presented Hip Hop Don’t Know You music showcase, which included a keynote speech by Lobel. At the showcase, he dropped some real knowledge on his history, general life lessons, and the music industry. He also offered a Q & A for the people in attendance, giving everyone a rare chance to pick this hip-hop king’s brain. Steve Lobel has definitely earned his stripes, literally and figuratively (he has a life long sponsorship with Adidas). After the showcase, Steve and HipHopCanada’s Christina Parihar sat down to discuss more about his history, the projects he has going on, and how you can get more of his golden advice. Check it out after the jump!
HipHopCanada: Welcome to Canada! Tell us a little bit about your experience with Canada so far.
Steve Lobel: I’ve been to Toronto a numerous amount of times. I was up here for the MuchMusic Awards with Sean Kingston, as well as the Beyonce tour with Sean. I love Canada. Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto… I love it here. I am humbled and appreciative to be talking to you. We just did the Hip-Hop Don’t Know You panel and the crowd was cool. I like Canada. The weather is like New York, it reminds me of New York. It’s been humid and a lot of beautiful women! I was hanging out with French Montana last night and Snoop Dogg yesterday, and it’s just been great seeing a lot of my friends here up in Toronto. I’m having a blast.
HipHopCanada: Describe yourself in three words.
Steve Lobel: Loyal, passionate and humble.
HipHopCanada: Give us a brief history on how you got started in the hip-hop industry.
Steve Lobel: Its been over two decades. I’m from Queens, New York, I’ll never forget where I came from. I started in the game with Jam Master Jay from Run DMC. From there I linked with Eazy E, Bone Thugs, Three Six Mafia, Common Sense, Fat Joe, Big Pun, the Outlawz and went from there. More recently Nipsey Hussle, Sean Kingston, Iyaaz, Mann… a bunch of new stuff coming out as well. I’ve been blessed.
HipHopCanada: So one thing you touched on during the panel was the power of a team. The idea that you don’t necessarily need a label to get started, but you need a team. Can you reiterate this in your own words?
Steve Lobel: A team is “Together Everybody Achieves More”. Kobe Bryant doesn’t do it without a team, Jay-Z doesn’t either. You can’t do everything by yourself and you don’t know everything, so its very important you have that. You’ll need help with your business and people to keep it real with you and be honest with you… and deal with your day to day life. Everybody out there trying to get into the music business, you NEED a team!
HipHopCanada: I find one of the main problems a lot of Canadian artists face is trying to get recognized globally and find fame surpassing Canada. What advice would you give artists who are trying to copy the ‘Drake Blueprint’ so to speak?
Steve Lobel: You know everybody thinks they got to get out of their city. People want to get out of every city they’re at. The bottom line is work hard, be yourself, believe in God, and if it’s meant to be it will happen. Drake made it out of here, so and so made it out of there… it should be easier now. People now know where Toronto is and they know that talent is here. Work hard to get out of your city, but start in your city. Create the buzz in your city. Create a tornado effect in your city!
HipHopCanada: Other than hip-hop, you’re involved in a ton of other movements such as charities and non-profit organizations. Tell us about the Pathfinders association and some of the organizations that you’re working with.
Steve Lobel: The Pathfinders are a non-profit organization that gives big brothers to kids who don’t have fathers or big brothers. I also do a lot of motivational speaking, called the We Working tour. We go to schools, juvenile halls, stuff like that and speak to the kids. I love doing that, I love giving back.
HipHopCanada: What is the one lesson you want anyone watching you speak or watching your tour, take away from it?
Steve Lobel: Hopefully everybody listens, I mean did you listen today? [During the panel].
HipHopCanada: I did.
Steve Lobel: Did I hit you anywhere?
HipHopCanada: In a few ways. Being a woman in this industry, everything is a little tougher. So listening to your lessons I was thinking about how to spin it in my own ways and how to apply it to my own situation.
Steve Lobel: How did I do?
HipHopCanada: I thought it was great but I wanted to hear more about the business side of things.
Steve Lobel: I wish that people asked me questions about it. I’m disappointed that you didn’t ask any questions. I’m here, and I have a lot of knowledge about the business! Ask me! You’re right, and I respect you keeping it real with me. I didn’t even touch about my radio show that I do weekly. I bring people on from all aspects of the industry. From publishing to A&R, to producers, to lawyers. It’s called Live with Steve Lobel. But one lesson? I talk about real stuff too, teen pregnancy, racism, bullying. But as far as the music industry one lesson, I’d say: be yourself. You get what you put into it, and work hard. Be original and become a brand. Don’t follow anybody. Don’t let anyone tell you to do otherwise and you’ll win.
HipHopCanada: You also have a book coming out, what can readers expect from that.
Steve Lobel: There’s going to be two sides to it. The industry/management and then me.
HipHopCanada: Where can people learn more about you and take advantage of the industry knowledge you are willing to share?
Steve Lobel: Anyone who wants to know more about the music industry hit me up. The radio station is every Wednesday night on Blog Talk radio. You’ll learn so many different aspects of the industry. We had Kelly G last week from BET programming and Mannie Edwards from Universal publishing. We got big shots that come on my show. All we’re trying to do is give back. We working!
Interview conducted by Christina Parihar for HipHopCanada
Special thanks to our friends at Swagg News
Be sure to visit Stevel Lobel on Facebook.