George Lopez is Dallas Hip-Hop's Networker
In the DFW hip-hop scene, George Lopez has been doin' it and doin' it and doin' it, well, for more than 25 years. He's most famously known for running T-Town Music, his label and independent hip-hop outlet, since 1994, out of a bazaar in Pleasant Grove. He's deejayed since '83, and claims to have helped push out some of Master P's earliest stuff. Since '07, he's been building his own marketing outfit for local hip-hop, called Jin Entertainment, and a distribution branch known as Music Access. Oh, and he manages local hip-hop artist Big Tuck, "since day one," he says.
He rolls nationwide and travels incessantly, takes phone calls 'til he's hoarse, and sleeps about as much Pacino did in Insomnia. Pay attention, now. School is in session.
If you were running for mayor of the DFW hip-hop scene, what would some of your campaign promises be?
I would have session meetings with artists, retail, DJs, radio, club owners and promoters to put everyone on the same page. Right now, there's no hip-hop network for DFW! That's why everyone is starving and losing in the music game. I've had these talks with major people in our music scene, but everyone is in it for themselves and don't want to network together to make our city strong. I'm here, been there, done that. Now it's time for us to get together and work as one machine.
You've been doing this a long time in Dallas.
Yes, been in the music game for years as a DJ, radio personality, distributor, marketing/promotions and consulting person, retail store owner and then CEO of T-Town Music.
Is managing tougher nowadays?
Yes it is, because artists are told things that ain't true in the business, so artists want to manage themselves now days.
Do you still retail a good bit? How's business in 2012?
Eighteen years as a mom and pop store, but it's slowed down a little bit due to free downloads and bootlegging. How different is all that now as compared to T-Town's heyday? Bootlegging wasn't as bad as then. Now all the gas stations and barber shops in Dallas are bootlegging CDs and selling them for $5 or less.
It seems like everyone is a club DJ now.
Yes. Back then, we had to buy expensive equipment and every record was $5 to $15 each, and CDs were $15 to $20 each. Now these "DJs" buy a laptop, download free music, plug up to a mixer and play, and don't even mix the music! They just scratch and slam in the song.
How do the best DJs land the best gigs in 2012?
It's all politics like always. It's about who you know. I run three nightclubs in Dallas and I have my people that I want deejaying. People ask me, "How can I deejay at your spot?" and I say, "Send me a mix to my email and I will check you out."
Tell us about some new blood from DFW that's impressing you right now.
Well, there's a lot of new music, some bad and some good. The new blood, like Rock, Doughski-G, Chiefa, Pooca Leroy, T-Cash. These guys represent the new D-town sound. Also, as a retailer, they actually sell a lot of music. Outselling some of these other major label artists in sales. For 15 years, major labels used to call me directly and ask, "Who is selling in your store?" and "Who do we need to look out for or sign the next big deal?" Now, they're not researching like they use to. That's why the artists they have now suck and don't sell any units. Only a few single ringtones. Major labels don't have that bond with us independent retailers, like we used to have. Network is the key to success!