Everybody knows Diddy but now it’s time to know Philly! Richard “Philly” Smith is the CEO of Badland Boss Entertainment and he is on his way to transforming his Miami based company into a Multi-Media giant. He does it all; music, models, movies, dj’s, parties, promotion etc. And he does it all in a BIG way. This young man has the business swagga and street smarts to go toe to toe with the industries best. He has learned first hand from working with some of the top music labels in the world like Universal, Aftermath, Bad Boy and Interscope to name a few. His grind is major and he has an incredible team that keeps this company on the come up. He is definitely looking to TAKE OVA Florida and the nation ala Diddy style, but make no mistake; he walks to his own beat. If you are unsigned talent out there, this is the dude you are going to want to holla at if you want your career to blast off! Trust me!
“Philly”, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with us my man. Tell me a little about the streetz you ran as a child growing up.
[PHILLY] - I was born and raised in North Philly by my grandmother. I’m from a block called Dauphin Street. A Dauphin Street Hustla as we were called. I was accepted everywhere from Lehigh, to Diamond, York and Susquehanna. Pretty much I was like a hood visa card. I gained respect from Slap boxing people 2-3 times my age at the age of 6 on the block. I got into street situations at the age of 9 and outgrew it at the age of 17-18. I didn’t see myself at 35 trying to be what other people thought I should be because of how they looked up to my father, uncle and godfathers. My grandma always told me I would make it and be something when even I did not see it. She passed away Aug 8th, eventho I have made it pretty far, Imma keep pushing myself to the limit. That’s what she asked me to do and for my grandmother, I would go to the end of the universe looking for a grain of sand. So before I go any further, Thanks Baby! Now we can proceed.
What was the hip hop scene like in Philly at that time?
[PHILLY] - Me personally I was a fan of 2pac. I listened to everything Pac. I felt like he made his music for me. I definitely believe he was the voice for my generation. The conflict I felt between going on along the right path or the wrong is what he was going thru as a person as well, so I felt deeply connected thru the music. When I first learned he passed, I was walking to get a cheese steak and a tetley at E&J’s between Van Pelt and Beechwood streets. That’s how hard it hit me. I will never forget where I was when I got the news. Philly Hip Hop was all over the place from E.S.T., to Tracy Lee to Ram Squad and others. Funny thing is, I met and knew most of State Property separately. Maybe if I knew they would eventually link up I would have capitalized as a youngin back then.. LOL. I was exposed to a lot of good music. My grandmother even had me dj her lil get togethers at the crib and I would be playing Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and things like that. I remember when I tried to scratch a Jackie Wilson record. I was about 9 or 10. I got my ass whooped!! My grandma definitely did not appreciate the experiment. To this day I still think that was hilarious but she probably doesn’t. I’m a fan of current up and coming artist in Philly like Reed Dollaz, Joey Jihad, Meek Millz, Tone Trump, G.A.G.E., Chic Raw and Philly Swain. They are making my city worth talking about again musically.
Why the move to the M.I.A.?
[PHILLY] - To be honest, the cold weather. People in Miami have not ever felt 15 and 30 below 0 degree weather on a consistent basis if ever, unless they have traveled to the North. One day while living in Hartford, CT at the time, I took a shower and came outside to post up with my dudes and all the facial hair I had turned to little icicles. I turned around and went in the house and said I need to go somewhere it never snows. I shipped my clothing down, put 30 grand in my bag and left for Fort Lauderdale within a week of the incident. I had had enough.
You are a man of the Islamic religion. What is the biggest misconception society has about the religion that you would like to squash?
[PHILLY] - The biggest is that we are a hate-filled religion. Yeah there are a few nuts in every religion and every walk of life, yet the media has us looking like lawless barbarians. To be honest with you, if it wasn’t for Islam, I would be doing life for multiple homicides. It teaches you how to be peaceful, how to be diplomatic before anything else. I know none of my Muslim brothers or sisters I speak to on a consistent basis were pleased with what happened on 9/11. We actually felt like, damn, now we have to do extra to show we are different. No other religion deals with that issue. Study Islam before you take someone’s word on it. It’s just as if I was to ask you for $50,000… you are going to research me before you hand it over. That’s how everything should be regarded. Don’t be lazy, do the research.
Why do you describe yourself as, “Not much of a people person?”
[PHILLY] - Because a lot of people I come across are full of it or shady. I mean from failed robbery attempts from cats I have been around to chicks saying they have my back thru thick and thin and while I’m dealing with my grandma’s breast cancer situation, they become self centered and their true colors show and then I become distant. My grandma gave me what no woman in this world has given me or can give me and that’s a chance at life. Until she’s straight, no one comes before her. Trust, I give everyone a fair chance, it’s just the people I come across in these days and times aren’t genuine and pretty fake. Five years ago you wouldn’t be reading about me in this magazine or seeing me at the biggest parties. I’d be in the papers. So with all the snakes in the grass, I choose not to lie down on the lawn. Real recognize real. I’m starting to go back to that view of things. I have come to realize I need to implement my street mentality a little more in business.
I understand you are a huge sports fan. Who you got in any sport?
[PHILLY] - Philly all day! I definitely want to see McNabb capture a Super Bowl trophy and ring before he takes off the Eagles uniform for good. He carried our team for years. It’s about time they reward him with some talent like a Chad Johnson or Anquan Boldin to help him get over the hump.
You told us that what makes you unique is your ear for talent. Please explain this extraordinary talent you posses.
[PHILLY] - If you rounded up a few major players at the major labels and asked this same question they would probably say, “Philly may not co-sign the artist as far as his musical taste, but he can pick out a winner.” I understand that there is a certain formula for artist to make it big and stay big. A lot of people ask me why we don’t drop as frequent as the rest. My artist will not drop mixtapes and albums under me unless I am completely comfortable putting my name to it. I think hip hop can still produce artist who have longevity. I just think that everyone right now is looking for a quick payout. No one is developing the artist and nurturing their natural skills, so now you have them out there all half-assed with one hit or a regional buzz and before you know it, they are 35 still trying to get a rap deal.
And this talent landed you some big jobs with several major labels. Name a few of them and talk about the experience you took away from those opportunities.
[PHILLY] - I learned a lot, from deadlines to actual talent scouting. You can have all the talent in the world but that’s such a minor part of what a label is looking for. Most people I have come to realize don’t know how or want to grind. If you want to secure your success in this game, make sure your team is tight. Don’t be yes men. If you hear one flaw in a delivery or their cadence, let them know. You can’t half ass perfection. I can’t give away too much free game here or instead of being “like” Philly, they will try to be me.
When did you decide to create Badland Boss Enterprise?
[PHILLY] - I decided on Badland after meeting Diddy and Mariah. LOL. I already had a few artist numbers from Philly who had become popular but what happened was I kept hearing about Diddy and everyone going to Opium to party. So me being new to Florida at the time, I was partying in West Palm. I said fuck it; let me do it up on South Beach. I go to the beach and it’s me and 5 chicks I met since being in Lauderdale and I go to Opium. I’m in there with my Philly swag. Buying bottles and I got my dudes coming so I got 6 bottles of Belvedere and 4 Bottles of Top shelf Hennessey. Diddy walks over to me and says; “Damn, you came to get fucked up!” and then he asked what exactly it is I do. I told him I promote events. He chopped it up with me on a business tip until my dudes came and I been taking heed to his words ever since. Mariah actually got tipsy and told me she loves me! Shout out to Nick Cannon too, he pulled him one! I actually pop bottles as my way to network, just that now it’s not costing me $5000+ to do it. I even get my bottles for free now. I’m a hustler and I can sell a fur coat to a Polar Bear. There is not a big name artist who has not given me their direct number. With all the connections and contacts, why not use it?
You have an incredible multifaceted company that all unsigned talent would want to be down with. First off, talk to me about the music branch “Badland Boss Ent.”
[PHILLY] - Badland Boss Ent. is what started it all. At first it started off as consultation, promotion and marketing. What actually got me noticed by a few big names was a female artist by the name of The Last Donna. She is from Philly and is very talented. Interscope had come calling about her but the deal fell thru and we went our separate ways, but I was offered a consulting job there. Then Badland just spiraled into what it is. Right now, Chez is the premier artist on the label. He stays recording and out doing shows to the point. I don’t think he actually ever took time to promote his Myspace page. A lot of people wanted him to drop already but I did not want him to have to deal with adjusting his audience and other fatal mistakes that happens when a rapper under the age of 18 emerge on the scene.
Drop a few names of the other artist on your roster?
[PHILLY] - First there’s Chez he is from New Jersey. He has the ability to make timeless hit records. We are working on a big Reed Dollaz project with his label Beyond Bars Records. He currently has production from Scott Storch, Swizz Beats and others. Also, I’m working with other Miami artist such as P.M., Tommy Trouble, Colosus and others. The streets know whose Badland and who isn’t.
Any new music by these artists hitting the streetz soon?
[PHILLY] - P.M. has a mixtape out called “Get 2 Know Me” so make sure you go out and get that. Reed Dollaz has the “Back 2 da Streets” mixtape out as well, so go to his myspace and cop that. We also have the Philadel Castro “The Invasion” mixtape coming soon. I’m putting effort into it as if it was an album but it’s being released as a mixtape full of artist I worked with and currently work with.
The fellas are going to love your next branch. Let’em know about the “Badland Beauties”.
How can interested models crack the lineup or are you full right now?
You’re planning on launching a lingerie company too…right?
[PHILLY] - Actually that is coming very soon, it’s called “Le Sablier” and that’s French for “The Hour Glass”. Representing the figures we aim to cater to. I know a lot of times women pay in pain to look good for us men. Therefore we are having some designers work on this line to not only give you that high quality look you are accustomed to, but at the same time making it more comfortable and more affordable. So the next time ya man want you in nothing but boy shorts all day, it won’t be an issue.
I really dig this next branch in your company because like you, I feel it has been a lost art and very underappreciated over the years. What’s good with the “Badland Boss Dj’s”?
[PHILLY] - That is still coming together. It’s for all the Dj’s who don’t need money as a motivation to push a great record; the music should speak for itself. Shouts out to DJ Joe Braxton, Meddafore, Billy Bronco, DJ NoPhrillz, DJ Casper and DJ Heatrock. I mean there are so many to name I know someone is gonna say, “Damn Philly you forgot about me!”.. but that’s who got the Badland Boss Dj’s started.
Are you looking for more Dj’s, and if so, how do they contact you?
Finally we come to “Badland Films”. Give us the 411 on this branch.
[PHILLY] - That branch is still in the works. Thus far it just covers Badland Events, for somewhat of a documentary at a later date. It will encompass everything from Reality shows to Music videos. I definitely want to do more documentary type films than anything.
Are there any projects you are currently working on that you can tell us about?
[PHILLY] - Right now there are a few ideas being pitched around. The first thing definitely to hit the shelves is called Badland Beach. It’s South Beach at its finest, with us of course showing our ass. From Spring Break to Labor Day. You will get it all exclusive!
Now, to have a company this vast, you have got to have some top flight people on your home team. Give them a little shine right here.
[PHILLY] - First before I run down anyone’s name I want to say this: Fellas if you want to be successful in business keep women on your team. Women who aren’t intimidated by you are the key, because they will keep you in line and won’t allow you to slack up. I want to first show love to my biggest supporter “Tonto” I love you to death babe. If you go to my myspace you will see her... besides I don’t like to give out people real names much. Desire, she runs Badland Beauty Models technically, I just green light everything and sign off on it. I love her also; she is a ridah for real. Best believe if Desire doesn’t like it, it’s not going to happen. Mizz Tai is the V.P. of Promotions and Marketing and deals with everything in the Midwest region of the country. If you hear of my artist going to St. Louis to perform or Chicago, more than likely she had a hand in it. Also can’t forget Meddafore, one of the nicest dj’s around, he does a lot for Badland. He has a true ear for music and I appreciate what he does for us. Shout out to Phil The Mayor and Firm Ground Media who throw’s the Craziest parties @ Club B.E.D. I’m surrounding myself with the realest people right now and I’m sure to become a winner.
Since you are an avid sports fan, could a sports management branch possibly be added to the Badland Boss Empire?
[PHILLY] - I thought about it, and that’s about the extent of it. After seeing what Master P did to Ricky Williams, I know some things are better left to the pros.
Do you have any upcoming events or promotions you want the people to know about at this time?
[PHILLY] - Yes as a matter of fact there is. We are doing a launch party for my issue of this Magazine! So make sure ya asses are in the place. Also make sure you support my charitable event Bowling against Breast Cancer and the launch of The Elizabeth Smith Breast Cancer Foundation in Memory of my Grandma. The next one will be in October @ Lucky Strike on Miami Beach. Also check us out at Pillow Talk Wednesdays at B.E.D. and stay posted to www.myspace.com/badlandbeauties, www.myspace.com/badlandbossent or www.myspace.com/phillythaboss for the latest upscale events.
You definitely have things poppin’ here in FLA. Much respect to you and your Badland Boss team. I’m sure you have some shout outs for your peeps.
[PHILLY] - Shout out to everyone who runs with us. Most people, who know me, know I don’t do it for the celebrity part of it because I stay to myself. I do it with and for my people. Shout out to all my haters, I would have yall knocked off but then that would be hurting my cause. As long as you hate on me and what I do, I definitely don’t mind doing it. Our success will only make you even angrier. Definitely the few haters we have in the Miami music scene be it independent or major. Stay tuned for big things from Reed Dollaz, Chez, Tommy Trouble, P.M., Ricky Rude and a few more names yet to be announced. We already planning our New Years event so definitely stay on the lookout for that, it’s goin to be crazy! Thank you to Nine5Four for having me and much success to you all, preciate the look. Badland! To my grandma; I love you and I wish you could be here to see me accomplish all of our dreams. I know you will always look down upon me and I hope when you do, I’m doing something that makes you proud. You are the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I love you. Shout out to my mother as well the most important woman in my life as well I know our past was troubled, yet you know I will always love and honor you.