Student starts record label for local artists
Advertising senior Malik Patton grew up in Detroit with a love for hip-hop. Patton would spend hours listening to artists like Eminem, 50 Cent and Jay Z. Years later, the 22-year-old’s lifelong passion for music has come to life.
Patton currently operates his own record label with three other producers, who include Byron Reams, Thomas Smartt Woa and Josh Becker.
The label, Renegade Music Group, currently has three rappers signed.
The group is a full-service entertainment company, which does artist management, manufacturing and music production.
“My goal since I was young was to always be an entrepreneur no matter what it was,” Patton said. “I would say that is why music is the passion I have, but also entrepreneurship is what I have always known what I was going to do and what I wanted to do. That is why it’s such a perfect balance of the creation and the business side.”
The label’s three rappers are Ricardo Barnett, known as OKiR, Derrick Heningburg, known as D-Rock the Felon and Calvon Sheridan, known as Ace. The rappers are the basis for the record label.
“I just want to give people the platform to be the artist that they want to be and to move as free without the red tape of the industry,” Patton said. “It is hip-hop and rap based because that’s what I know, but the goal is of course to do everything.”
Patton currently works out of a studio in Livonia, Mich. and other home-based studios.
Growing up in Detroit inspired Patton through his journey of music. He said he wants to bring back what it means to be a musician in Detroit.
“It’s not only doing something I love and that I am passionate about, it’s being able to make my dreams come true while being able to make my friend’s and people I grew up with and other people’s dreams come true,” Patton said. “The goal is just to make a world a better place through music by giving people that space for to feel like themselves.”
Joe Steinhardt, an assistant professor in the Advertising and PR Department met Patton last semester and Patton said he has been learning from him ever since.
Steinhardt currently owns and operates his own record label of 15 years based out of New Jersey named Don Giovanni Records. The label includes artists such as and Laura Stevenson. Steinhardt said he believes in success through perseverance.
“That is the thing about finding success through perseverance,” Steinhardt said. “It is not so much about finding the biggest or the brightest, that stuff is not usually real, that stuff is usually bought and sold. Persevering, working with artists, having long relationships with artists and putting out many releases can be just as successful as putting out the biggest record of the year."
Steinhardt said he has been working with Patton and giving him tips on running a record label.
“He doesn’t need as much advice as he thinks he does,” Steinhardt said. “I think his label is going to do very well. I think he is very driven and he has a good work ethic and that stuff goes a really long way.”
Barnett said he has known Patton since he was about 14-years-old. He said Patton encouraged him to start taking rapping seriously.
“Malik and the whole organization ... has been a bright spot in my life,” Barnett said. “He is dedicated not only to the craft of making music, but he is also very artist-orientated. He would never ask me to compromise, he would never take anything away from me and he would never interrupt a process.
“My style is a bit all over the place sometimes and he is one of the few people that just lets me be me and that’s a big thing.”