Here I am at 4am, in a kebab shop in South London staring at a freshly made lamb donner king size kebab with two pots of original hummus and my chicken burger meal, waiting to meet the owner of one of the biggest if not the biggest rap record labels in the United Kingdom hoping I am actually meeting him and not getting jumped. Georgi Zhechev is his name he is just currently still a teenager and worth millions from business ventures ranging from news & gossip websites, FM radio stations, angel investing, marketing agencies to his latest successful venture a record label (his second record label to be precise), and from people I have spoken to say he is more of doer than a talker, so you may be wondering why I am doing an interview with him? Well he is known for keeping himself to himself with no pictures of him online and not even mentioning himself on his company’s websites so it’s pretty big getting the first interview ever with him (as he may one day become pretty notable) people who know him call him the ‘King of the one liners’ so hopefully he can drop some in this interview but don’t underestimate this kid, he may be reserved and like to stay on the side-lines but he is also known as the ‘Bulgarian Butcher’ for his ruthlessness and drive.
At 4:20am(coincidence?) a figure appears through the door wearing a black Tommy Hilfiger baseball cap, his trademark Superdry coat(from what I have heard), a black t-shirt and dark blue jeans with (for the sneaker heads) wearing blue Nike Flex Contacts. After doing the cliché greeting, I am surprised at what I am seeing, the owner of one of the biggest grime and hip hop record labels in the United Kingdom is a soft spoken green-eyed, pale white kid with short jet black hair. After Georgi talking for a minute straight about how much he loves lamb donner kebabs I press start on the tape recorder and we start the interview.
Interviewer: Nice to meet you, may I say I have never done an interview this earlier.
Georgi: Me neither…
Interviewer: So tell me what’s your usual working day like then?
Georgi: Well I get up tell my girlfriend she is beautiful then I… no I am joking, I sleep 6 hours a day, from 8pm to 2am the next morning unless I am doing something until late. I work every day with the only day I take it easy being Fridays and I also try to keep Saturday evenings free. I manage a lot of businesses, the way I do that is obviously I have people managing them for me. You know, a good businessman doesn’t work for his business he runs it.
Interviewer: Okay cool so tell me how you got into managing a rap label
Georgi: I don’t know I just wanted to do it and I did it.
Interviewer: What was the inspiration behind the name Gang Shit Records?
Georgi: I got the idea about the name after hearing the phrase in a couple of songs, for me a name is not important it just has to be appropriate. For example my first company and the parent company of all my businesses is called East Park Inc.. The reasoning behind this name is ‘East’ because I am from Eastern Europe and ‘Park’ because I like to go to the park to smoke weed.
Interviewer: What’s intriguing to me is how you have managed with pretty much no experience to be so successful in an industry as the hard as the music industry.
Georgi: Yeah, I get that a lot and I wouldn’t ever call myself special or lucky for that matter, I just have an understanding of how things works and I apply it flexibly to all businesses I manage. All businesses can be separated in either providing a service or a selling slash producing a good. It has the same concepts such as taking a pre-emptive monetary risk, marketing and building a brand.
Interviewer: Literally just 5 months after you’ve launched the label you’re expanding to three more countries in 1 year, isn’t that a bit too soon?
Georgi: It’s not about the timeframe its about the resources we have and our strategy, and I am going to say it but the UK is too small for us now, we have established ourselves here and we will continue to grow in the UK but we won’t see exponential growth. The USA is a literal goldmine in terms of market for the genre and also the talent.
Interviewer: What about France and Germany?
Georgi: France and Germany are big rich countries, there are many good and popular rappers but there is no big rap label that has a considerable foothold in the market, what we are going to do is apply the same formula that has proved to be successful….no stress. What our edge is that we focus just on rap, meaning that we can offer you maximum support in this while all other major labels focus on every mainstream music genre in one label which means your music executive or manager might have more knowledge about Pop then Rap and it will just make things harder for you, and the other smaller rap labels they are all pretty much revolve around one or two successful artists that they leech off eventually die out. But in our case we have grown from literally 0 to know over 40 rappers in 5 months while selling over 10 million records and quickly expanding, so we are either very lucky or maybe just good.
Interviewer: How do you go about finding someone to sign and convince them?
Georgi: There’s many ways but in my opinion right now Youtube and Soundcloud are the place to go, its full of talent. In fact Soundcloud for me is the best music platform, to answer your question its nothing extraordinary I just contact them and we go from there. The reason why we have so many artists to our label is that we are not just a label we literally do anything you will need as an artist from music distribution, artist management, tour management and of course we produce a lot of music. We have many of the most talented rap producers in the UK, we have a 14 year old we just signed who is producing for us on 50k a year wage plus bonuses.
Interviewer: What do you look for in an artist?
Georgi: Uploading music online regularly is important it shows us they are serious about this and have the work rate, of course the quality and another important part is having their unique sound and the advice to that is to just be yourself and do what you want with your music.
Interviewer: Where do you see the label in 2 years?
Georgi: In 2018 we are expanding to France, Germany and the USA as you know. Depending on how fast we grow there as it won’t be easy we might expand to a few more countries in 2019 but we will have to wait and see.
Interviewer: What are the next countries that you are aiming to break into?
Georgi: We actually have a few, we want to break in all big, rich countries with large populations first and then focus on the rest and particularly we want to break into the English speaking ones first. So I’d say the next countries will be Canada, Australia, Spain and we want to break into China as that’s a huge growing market.
Interviewer: Okay enough about Gang Shit Records, let’s talk a bit more about you. What do you do right now I heard you going uni right?
Georgi: Yeah, I go to university, just trying to learn a bit more about business as business is when you think about it a theory that can be applied to a lot of different scenarios. Some people do say that you don’t need to go uni to be a good business, they are right to some extent but there is nothing wrong with having an edge in business. I have more time while going to uni then when I was in school to run my businesses so it’s not affecting me in any way.
Interviewer: I heard you are a millionaire already, what do you spend your money on?
Georgi: Yeah I made my first million when I was seventeen, I don’t really spend a lot of money outside of business; I eat at least one lamb donner a week so I spend most of my money on hummus and lamb donner I could say and also on Revels. I got a car too a white Mercedes Benz AMG C63, the 2017 version.
Interview: I have to be honest I was surprised once I met you that you are the founder and owner of such an enterprise based on the stereotype I had in my head.
Georgi: I have never stated or pretended to be from a rough area or to have been in trouble with the police, I don’t put on the ‘roadman persona’ I try to be genuine and be myself and let me tell you this there is nothing glamorous or cool in being forced to sell drugs or hold a gun. Only a fraction of our music has imagery about this sort of stuff, after all, it is rap and rap originated in more impoverished areas. Most of our most successful rap songs that have charted in the Top 100’s and Top 10’s are on the lighter side about things like you know love and who can forget the summer tunes and more Afrobeats and RnB influenced music.
Interviewer: Just out of interest do you drink, smoke or have any tattoos?
Georgi: I don’t drink, I don’t smoke cigarettes, I only smoke weed and I doubt I will ever get any tattoos at all.
Interviewer: What would you be if you weren’t an entrepreneur?
Georgi: A full-time womanizer. (*I literally spat out my food, this guy is too jokes)
Interviewer: I see you are a serial entrepreneur, what other businesses are you looking to start or in the process of starting?
Georgi: I am looking to grow all my businesses and I only start new ventures ones my current ones have matured and can go on so called auto-pilot without a need for me to be there every day, currently the ventures I am close to starting are a gambling site, a fast fashion e-commerce site targeting young females, a firm that will produce documentaries that will available for free on YouTube and a freemium video game studio with a long-time friend but future things I would like to get into is owning a T.V station as I already have experience running a radio station, a sports event managing firm, start or buy more record labels focused on other music genres and invest a bit more in properties.
Interviewer: You looking forward to the MOBO awards?
Georgi: Honestly I don’t expect for us to win many awards based on our luck at the Rated Awards where we had like a good quarter of nominations and won just 1 award. We are nominated at the MOBOs but we’ll have to wait and see. But it’s literally our first year and getting nominated and even winning something is a big achievement, we have bigger things to come in the future.
Interviewer: And finally, what’s your song of the week?
Georgi: Hmmm, there’s too many so I will give it to ‘grandson – Blood // Water’ and ‘Fredo – Change’ plus special mention to Big Man Shaq aka Michael Dapaah and my friend 2Scratch for the ‘Mans Not Hot Trap Remix’.