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Best Kept Secret
Tory Lanez, Papi Yerr, and Davo (Photo: Instagram)

Interview: Q&A

Best Kept Secret discusses plans for 2020, major record placements, music industry & more

For a tough industry to break into successfully, Toronto-based Best Kept Secret has quickly established itself as a company striving to break down barriers and bring new opportunities to the Canadian scene.

With a roster full of talented musicians, as well as an award-winning team of in-house producers, this new management firm has impressively established their growing presence in a length of time generally unheard of in Canada (as well as the United States). It would be say to say that the team has already seen ample amounts of success in the music industry, and they’re really just getting started.

Just recently they secured a placement on Young Thug’s latest album, So Much Fun, which has become Thugger’s highest selling release to date. It shot straight to No. 1 on the Billboard charts with over 167.9 million streams in the first week of its release.

Best Kept Secret’s own Pitt The Kid—who we featured in August—produced the album’s hit record “Boy Back” featuring NAV, which quickly became one of the most popular songs of 2019. BKS also secured a placement on the official soundtrack for Creed 2, which found significant success on the Billboard Top 100, peaking at No. 4.

And the chart success doesn’t stop there. This past year alone, Best Kept Secret and Umbrella’s own Papi Yerr produced Tory Lanez’s biggest record of the year, “Jerry Sprunger” which skyrocketed to the number one spot globally. The supporting video has been viewed over 17 million times to date.

Yerr also produced the Tory’s latest single “Broke In A Minute,” while some of Pitt’s recent catalogue additions include “Come Outside” by Lil Reese, “My Slime” by YNW Melly, and “Like That” by YNW BSlime.

With so many notable records and continuous growth, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this that BKS also played a part in A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s Hoodie SZN for the Don Q and Trap Manny-assisted “Bosses and Workers.”

Those are just a handful of the accomplishments the company has already achieved, with plenty more in store for 2020.

Overall, it’s been incredibly refreshing to watch a company with Canadian origins quietly and independently succeed at such an incredibly quick pace.

I had the opportunity to recently catch up with one of crew’s co-founders, Zach, to speak about Best Kept Secret, the music industry and what’s next for this new Canadian powerhouse.

Q&A: Zach of Best Kept Secret

HipHopCanada: What is Best Kept Secret for those who don’t know?

Zach of Best Kept Secret: Damn, that’s hard to define into one but I would say that it’s a family, a movement. It goes deeper than the music, it’s a group of special people with a passion for what they do, coming together under the same umbrella and to represent the Best Kept Secret motto which is, “we’re the best kept secret until the world knows.”

HipHopCanada: Who were your mentors when you first started off or was it more of a trial and error thing for you guys?

Zach of BKS: We definitely had some strong mentors around us that we’re forever grateful for. To be honest, a lot of it has been trial and error. The main thing has been networking and building genuine relationships. As far as my personal mentors go, I don’t want to necessarily drop any names like that but I do have one or two in my life that have helped me out with certain lessons or knowledge in the entertainment industry.

Polo G and Jay Blakk of Best Kept Secret

Lil Uzi Vert & Diablo HoodRich (Best Kept Secret) (Photo: Instagram)

HipHopCanada: Who are y’all listening to these days, seeing as how saturated the market has seemed to get. Are there any favorites y’all find yourselves bumping every now and then?

Zach of BKS: I’ve always loved Big L because lyrically he’s been ahead of the game and so on point. However, the everyday type of music I like to also listen to are A Boogie, Young Thug. I have a lot of love for the artists coming up as well as the ones that have been in the industry. Artists like Drake, for example.

My natural influences in the industry, as far as music, have been artists like DJ Khaled. He has been such a big influence to me, his whole demeanor, his whole energy, his perspective on things. Like the “Key,” which is to have the key, I’d say he’s definitely an inspiration. I love how he has branded himself from making anthems in hip-hop. Another one is Diddy, in terms of paying attention to structure, as well as his passion. I mean, him and his team show how much work it takes to make decisions come to life.

HipHopCanada: What are the most meaningful placements that you have been able to achieve and what are the biggest placements you have to date?

Zach of BKS: The answer to the first part of the question is that some of the placements we have obtained haven’t come out yet. Those ones are very very meaningful to me because the artists we’re collaborating with are special to us, in terms of the people we’ve always dreamed of working with. It’s crazy growing up, we would watch them on TV and hear people refer to them as icons. So to have music coming out with them in the near future is very meaningful to me.

The songs I will talk about are the Young Thug record placements, as well as the Creed 2 soundtrack placements. Those two are really important to me because the Creed 2 movie soundtrack was the first movie placement we’ve gotten to date and opened our eyes to the publishing side. The Young Thug placement was such a beautiful thing to the team because, as you know, Thug is one of the biggest artists out to date. I mean, to be part of his biggest album to date is an incredible feeling.

Polo G and Jay Blakk of Best Kept Secret

Polo G & Jay Blakk (Best Kept Secret) (Photo: Instagram)

HipHopCanada: What are some key lessons you guys have learned when brokering deals?

Zach of BKS: What I’ve learned in this industry, is always showing genuine love, you know? There’s a lot of disingenuous people in this industry but I will say key is building real relationships. Not just based off of whether they’re hot at the moment but actually seeing the potential and growing with the right people to see things through.

A big lesson would be to understand how the publishing game is in this industry because that is your payment, that is how you’re getting paid. Literally, without publishing you forfeit a large percentage of the royalties that you’re owed. It’s crazy to see platinum producers or people you’d think would be already living differently but aren’t because they don’t understand how publishing works.

I always tell people that whenever you’re doing contracts, you must know exactly what you’re signing. Don’t get excited over the hype or the clout, never rush anything and always look at the fine print because that paper you sign holds a lot of weight. Passion is also very important and there’s no one way to roll out an artist. Every artist can be rolled out a different way but there’s very strong formulas, services and tools that should be used. There’s a lot of artists that focus all their energy and money in the studio but can’t afford to market their music or themselves and that’s such a strong aspect. There’s different ways to build the right relationships that can eliminate your expenses.

HipHopCanada: What do you look for when scouting for talent?

Zach of BKS: The vibe you get from a person, as well as the ability to have that trust factor with someone. We have to vibe with what you’re trying to do with the music as well as have to be on the same level in terms of passion. We also look for loyalty in terms of longevity.

HipHopCanada: What can fans / readers expect from you in the near future?

Zach of BKS: Just know that we are the new wave, we’re going to be coming out building an empire. We have major placements coming out this year, I won’t speak on names but we have special artists we are working with. We have a very big producer album coming out with a major artist featured on it. It’s a mix of different genres from dancehall, to rap, R&B and pop. I believe that it will be a branding statement.

We have a couple of new artists signed to the company that we are developing from the ground up who already have a crazy fanbase. We’re developing their sounds as we speak and gearing up to drop some new music from them. My team and I have also done a major joint venture for publishing and are officially a third party publishing company. So just expect greatness from us and know that when the time is right we will be turning into a record label.

Last thing, shout out to the Best Kept Secret family and every one affiliated with us, all the main family.

Best Kept Secret logo

You can follow @BestKeptSecretMgmt on Instagram.

Written by Remi Louis Harris for HipHopCanada

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