Since meeting the former Roc-A-Fella Records A&R Wayno in 2008, two characteristics which stood out immediately remain true to this day. The first being, there is a lot of truth and realness behind his humor and candor… The second thing, when the man gets an idea, he will definitely do what’s necessary to make it a reality.
My first impressions have never rang truer. Today Wayno has not only built a steady following by simply remaining true to himself, he also reunited with Young Chris of the Young Gunz to A&R his upcoming projects all while building his clothing line Cool Mentality into a household name. I was lucky enough to catch up with him and get the breakdown on his past & present day endeavors as well as what the future holds.
Deeper Than Rap: An Exclusive Interview With Wayno
1) How did you get your start with Roc-A-Fella Records?
Ahh man my history at Roc dates back 10 maybe 11 yrs. By traveling alot I met Chris & Sparks & we kept in touch, they got me an internship at Roc-A-Fella as an Assistant A&R and eventually i ended up getting the job. I worked under Big Face Gary, Hip-hop Gee Roberson (Hip-hop since 1978) & Lenny S. I worked on the Young Gunz first mixtape along with their debut album, the State Property Chain Gang album, Beanie Sigel’s The B-coming the list goes on & on.
2) As the A&R for Young Chris, what’s something you can tell us about his Division 1 debut album?
Well the title of his album is “Alive” because after the Roc break up & Jay-Z leaving Def Jam (Not a shot at Hov) he felt like he was left for dead, so this is his 2nd chance to get it going again. So far we’ve got Kelly Rowland & Mario but we haven’t really dug in yet because we’re doing the ground work now for an album set up.
3) What other artists/producers/projects are you closely working with?
Right now I’m working with a Brooklyn artist Push Montana & another artist out of Harlem named Ceezo. There are a few artists I’m trying to work with out of Philly you might know, Chill Moody, Ryshon Jones & Young Gliss. I’ve been building with Cardiak, you might know him for “Start it up” (Lloyd Banks) & “600 Benz” (Wale, Rick Ross & Jadakiss). He’s coming out of Willingboro, NJ & man this dude is super talented. Me, him and Young Chris are working on Chris’s new project titled “The Revival” entirely produced by Cardiak.
4) What was your inspiration behind Cool Mentality clothing and what’s next in the workings with the clothing line?
Honestly man Cool Mentality started as just an idea, I wanted to venture into something that I liked & run a business upon it, I’m a big fan of street wear clothing so i thought why not? I took all the legal matters to secure my company & went to work. I’ve just been humbled that people actually like my designs. Me and my partner Arm who runs Factory Media have just been grinding, man putting in the ground work to get this plane off the ground. I came up with a principal concept that “Peace Love & Unity” creates a Cool Mentality & who wouldn’t wanna be down with that?
5) As a business minded person and avid basketball fan, what would you do to end the lockout if you were the commissioner?
Honestly as much as I love basketball I have mixed feelings about the whole lockout. My thing is this I really feel that the higher ups in the NBA are noticing that they’re employing young black men who are coming from poverty & are turning them into instant millionaires. As much as people dislike Lebron’s decision he took the power out of the ownership’s hands, I’m no racist but I honestly believe if Lebron was white they’d be drafting kids out of middle school, but that’s a whole can of worms I’m not ready to open (laughs out loud). I’d do whatever needed to be done to satisfy the players cause they bring in the consumer & bosses just keep getting richer so let’s just make everyone happy and the lights wont get cut off.