Derrick McKinney Keeps the Houston Hip-Hop Scene Relevant Through His Continued Hustle

Derrick McKinney Keeps the Houston Hip-Hop Scene Relevant Through His Continued Hustle

Derrick McKinney has been part of hip-hop culture and a mainstay of the Houston music scene for many years, where he built his entrepreneurial empire through his L.O.U.D. Muzik record label.

As he got his start working for the burgeoning clothing label, FUBU, McKinney built upon his marketing success to start his company. With the likes of artists such as Houston legends Lil Flip, Z-Ro and a recent signing with former Disturbing Tha Peace artist, Bobby V, McKinney is still utilizing his expertise to remain a force within the Houston scene and beyond.

BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to McKinney to find out what he’s been up to. The Houston native discussed how he’s able to stay current in the game, his future plans, and his thoughts on the metaverse, NFTs, and cryptocurrency.

You’ve recently completed your second press junket/meet-and-greet in Houston, where you had aspiring artists meet with journalists, radio stations, and other media outlets. Why did you decide to participate in this event, and how successful were they based on your expectations? What do you have planned for the future of the event?

I noticed our label needed more public relations and media coverage, and I started to reach out to different people in those fields that I already had a relationship with. As the numbers started to grow and I saw the people who would come out for my label meet-and-greet, I realized more artists need this kind of access, so I turned it into an event.

Also, I know that Houston has some amazing talent that needs to be seen, and exposed to more than what we’ve been shown the past few years. I knew the event would provide a lot of resources to a lot of talented people.

In the future, we will be taking the event to Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, and the DMV area.

You’ve been involved in the industry for many years in marketing, music, and retail. What led you to the industry and how has your experience helped you launch a successful label in these changing times?

I’ve always been the guy who was able to talk to people and influence others to come out to parties and wear certain clothes or hang out at certain spots. So when I got introduced to the music industry it came very naturally to me. Getting into the business at an early age allowed me to learn from some legends, but keep my youth and energy to be the best. I give credit to my time working with FUBU for showing me how to be a forward thinker, understand the culture, give people what they want, and remain humble.

As times have changed it’s been an easy transition for me. I embrace the next and whatever is new.

What advice would you give to anyone with a passion they’d like to make into a career?

Don’t ever give up on yourself! You will have some horrible days and starving nights chasing your dream. That is perfectly normal, and you will get through it. Learn from those times and keep pushing. I’ve had repossessions, evictions, lights turned out, and negative bank accounts, and I never once felt like I needed to quit. The adversity only made me step up, and go even harder so I would never have to deal with any of those things again.

Derrick McKinney
(Image: Courtesy of Derrick McKinney)

What are your thoughts on the metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrency, etc. as it relates to the music and/or entertainment industries? Do you think cyberspace will be as effective as some feel? Do you think these things will replace traditional radio, streaming, etc.?

I think NFTs, the metaverse, and all these new things are killing urban music. I don’t see any other genres jumping out the window to release their album as an NFT. The labels are releasing collectors editions of rock and roll vinyl sets, but for some reason, rappers have to sell NFTs? Every new technology that’s not owned by us, is pushed on us to make it cool, and we always get left behind in the payouts. We already get the smallest budgets in music and get paid the least for the highest streaming and selling genre. We don’t own the metaverse or the major companies that back NFTs or crypto coins. Why are we always the target? I think it’s going to crash and burn.

You’ve been able to stay current since you came in the game. What should we expect to see from you and L.O.U.D. Muzik?

My goal is to be the next Berry Gordy, L.A. Reid, Russell Simmons, or Clarence Avant, but in 2022 and beyond. I’m going to bring back love and happiness in our music and put rhythm and blues/soul music back at the top of the charts. I’m going to make hip-hop fun again with amazing party records, and anthems we can listen to years from now.

I’m going to grow our festivals and press junkets, and continue to put hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and soul back in the hands of the originators, and keep the culture moving forward. But I’m going to do it my way and under my terms! I know the world and especially our people need love, positivity, and hope right now, and I believe music is the one thing that can give us everything our hearts desire.