|In 2005, when longtime musician and entrepreneur LA the Darkman emerged in his latest career incarnation as President and CEO of the Aphilliates Music Group, Embassy Entertainment and Aphilliates Management, some heralded the dawn of a new Hip-Hop empire. Anyone who knows the history of LA’s career knows that he was more than qualified for the position he’s held for longer than most realize.
As a teenager in New York City, the Crown Heights, Brooklyn-bred emcee born Lason Jackson negotiated his first deal just as he was finishing high school. Having studied the game as a protégé of the Wu at the height of their success LA, who considers RZA a mentor, was more than prepared when an in-studio freestyle on Hot 97´s The Stretch and Bobbito Show drew the attention of major and indie labels alike. Securing a distribution deal through Navarre Distribution, he released his debut album Heist of the Century in 1999, through his own Embassy Entertainment. The project, on which LA also served as A&R and Executive Producer, went on to sell over 350,000 copies independently. His success gave him an opportunity to tour internationally with the likes of Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and of course, the Wu-Tang Clan. Somehow, while he never stopped being an artist, LA’s career as a business man took precedent. Relocating to Grand Rapids, MI, LA launched a management company, invested in real estate, and opened an operated a children’s clothing store. But he was always a musician.
Upon relocating to Atlanta, he partnered with DJ Drama & DJ Sense, brokering a label deal for the Aphilliates Music Group, a burgeoning brand which positioned itself at the forefront of the Southern Hip-Hop movement and is also home to his younger brother Willie The Kid, the label’s flagish artist. Upon securing AMG’s partnership with Atlantic Records, LA also negotiated a joint venture deal for Embassy Entertainment with Universal Records, and a distribution agreement for Aphilliates Management through Asylum/Warner Brothers. He immediately took the reigns, rapidly assuming the role that has him heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of AMG, Aphilliates Management and Embassy Entertainment. In addition to A&R direction for all of the label’s projects, negotiating booking engagements, and brokering deals like DJ Drama’s endorsements with LRG, Pepsi and KFC, LA also executive produced the highly anticipated Gangsta Grillz: The Album. Deemed an instant street classic, the project featured appearances by Outkast, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., Young Jeezy, Nelly, Rick Ross, and Pharell. LA is currently focused on the next project at hand: the latest installment of the Gangsta Grillz album franchise. Still, LA The Darkman remains as much a musician as he is a businessman. As he became more involved with the careers of the artists on the AMG roster, he again got the urge to create an album. Returning as a mature, more complete artist, LA continues to represent the same principles and convictions he always has. His is music that seeks to educate while entertaining, pushing the importance of strength, knowledge, and financial independence. His primary aim, however, is to continue to help Hip-Hop grow. And with the added resources brought to his Embassy imprint through a joint venture with Steve Rifkin’s SRC Records, distributed through the Universal Music Group, LA is once again set to take the world by storm.
Having appeared on the several of the titles released under the Gangsta Grillz brand, including Gangsta Grillz 17, Snoop Dogg’s The City Is In Good Hands, Fabolous’s No Competition, Lil’ Wayne’s Dedication 3, as well as The Album, LA is currently preparing his next solo release, due out in summer 2009. The album is preceded by the release of LA’s own Gangsta Grillz project, The Notorious L.A.D and Living Notoriously, both well received by critics and fans alike. With appearances on Gangsta Grillz: The Album, and Gangsta Grillz: The Album Vol. 2, LA’s solo release is highly anticipated.
The foundation has officially been set for LA’s continued success as a musician as well as the continued expansion of his empire as he gathers like minded individuals with whom to explore new opportunities in business.
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