By The Hip Hop Writer
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Poet Langston Hughes penned the legendary poem, A Dream Deferred. English classes around the world have interpreted the meaning behind the words, when the title says enough. Sometimes, dreams do not come true and sometimes, that is for the best, especially in the case of Coast 2 Coast Mixtaes’ founder, Lil Fats.
Initially, Lil Fats had goals of running a successful independent record label, so he created the promotional outlet that is Coast 2 Coast. Quickly, Lil Fats realized how much more lucrative Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes could be, so it became the focus. With conventions in Miami, no one is worrying about the lost dream.
Bridging the gap between the independent and major artists, Lil Fats has a growing empire on his hands with Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes. Hip Hop Vibe had the chance to talk to Lil Fats about what he has put together. Lil Fats talked about how Coast 2 Coast came together, the growth, and the consistency.
Read the entire interview below:
Taking things back a little bit, where did the idea to create something like Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes come from? I started Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes out of my home town of Portland, Oregon, as a way to put on the independent artists that I had signed to my label at the time. It was started as an outlet to expose our independent artists on the same level as major artists. It quickly grew into a very effective promotion outlet which lead to opening up that outlet to other artists in the region and then quickly across the world. Within a year of Coast 2 Coast’s creation, we went full time to Coast 2 Coast and pretty much gave up the record label aspect of what we were doing before Coast 2 Coast.
How did you get the support from your initial team? I am very lucky to have a great support system, starting with my business partner who is also my biological brother, Nick Hiersche. While I was building up the business, he was in college studying business so when he got out of business school, a few years after I started Coast 2 Coast, he went straight to work for us full time and that was the beginning of the real takeover and expansion of Coast 2 Coast.
As the captain of this team, exactly what do you do to keep the movement going strong? I really keep the movement going with the big ideas and dreams, my brother and the rest of the team work to make those a reality, but you have to have someone pushing the dreams and goals and big ideas, reaching for the starts. That’s what I do and have always done, sky is the limit! Also, I travel on our tours three weeks out of every month hitting ten cities a month, and I host all the shows so I am also the face of the movement and the one out there at the shows representing the brand.
Hip hop is possibly the hardest industry to work in, how have you managed to be so successful? We adapt to the times, technology, and how the business moves. Our income streams have drastically changed over the six years we have been in business, and it continues to change. The most important thing is keeping the brand strong, when everyone knows the brand from all the promotion, advertising and work that we put in, we can be successful in anything we put our mind and energy in to because people know the brand in this genre.
What do you think it is that has made Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes so popular? We have a great name to start with, everyone can remember it, and we have always had incredible artwork thanks to our designed, Mef Designs. Presentation and first impressions are everything, if there is one thing we never slacked on, it was a great presentation with professional artwork and packaging, it’s even more important than the quality of the product itself. Other than that it’s been hard work, my brother and I have no other options. I started this straight our of high school and he went full time with Coast 2 Coast right out of college, so we have no options to fail, we have no other priorities or back up plans, this is it… Coast 2 Coast or die.
Some of the biggest names in hip hop have hosted Coast 2 Coast mixtapes, how do you get them to participate? Hosting our mixtapes has always been about the promotion that it creates for the major artist hosting the mixtape. We only get hosts when they have projects coming out or that they recently released. It’s easy to get artists when they are on their promo runs, because they know the brand and the exposure that it brings, so if they are looking to promote something, it is a great trade for them to host our mixtape so they can plug whatever they are promoting. It’s a mutually beneficial situation.
Where did the idea to implement a magazine come from? I realized very early that, when getting these artists to host the mixtapes, we could also get interviews from them and help them expose what they want promoted even more if we had a magazine. We already had great artwork for our mixtapes, so we took that same artwork and created a magazine out of it using the interviews we got when dealing with the artists for the mixtapes. That is how the magazine started, with DJ Khaled being on the cover of the first issue.
When did you realize that you had an empire on your hands with Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes? I think that we realize it more and more every day, so it is an ongoing thing, we are still very much in the building process, making it bigger, still figuring out what it really is. The biggest moment when we realized what we really had was when we came to visit Miami for the first time when we still lived in Portland. Everyone down here knew us, we were getting into clubs for free, people offering us bottles, DJs shouting us out in the clubs. Within a month, we moved our whole operation down to Miami and we have been here ever since, it has been an incredible home base for us, we would not be doing what we do today if it we did not make that move to Miami when we did.
What should fans expect from the upcoming Coast 2 Coast convention? Coast 2 Coast Convention is always a fun and educational event where you can network with some of the biggest and nicest people in this business, on the independent and major level. This year we have some incredible special guest panelists, some dope performers at the Hip Hop Festival part of the event, and we are doing the VIP Yacht Party again where we take out all the VIP and DJs on a 450 person Yacht with free drinks and food and do a model contest, it’s insane!!! You can register for a pass to the Coast 2 Coast Convention now at www.coast2coastconvention.com.
Even though the fan base is already huge, can you give us the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and website links people should be checking out for updates on you and Coast 2 Coast? www.coast2coastmixtapes.com, www.coast2coastlive.com, www.coast2coastconvention.com, www.twitter.com/coast2coastmag, www.facebook.com/coast2coastmixtapes. My personal Twitter and Instagram is @LilFatsC2C