Akira The Don’s Interscope Experience

From last Thursday's Guardian, Akira The Don, describing his short, abortive tenure as an Interscope recording artist.


I was signed to the home of Eminem, 50 Cent, Bryan Adams and the late Tupac Shakur two years ago, after an A&R man heard my demo whilst getting his hair cut in a New York salon. His noisy barkings on that musky summer night lead to me being flown out to LA to eat ice cream on Dr Iovine's balcony, where I was told I had "changed music", and was offered the production and guest rapping services of Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and The Neptunes if I'd sell them my hot white ass there and then.

Hilariously enough, just three weeks prior I had written an article for Tank magazine stating that major label record deals were an evil con, essentially super-dodgy bank loans with a grotesque surplus of advisers, and an entirely exploitative annual percentage rate.

But I thought, "why the hell not?" and ignored my own advice anyway. How many weird little Welsh-raised Brummies ever shared a record label with Will Smith? Still, many people at the time thought this was all very queer, and doomed, as I had a tendency to write rousing lines like, "it only takes one bullet to kill the president". The most radical record Interscope ever sanctioned was Eminem's, "hey y'all let's vote" dirge, Mosh.

Contrary to his promise, Jimmy never did hook me up with Dre, or Snoop, or any Neptunes that I can recall, but we made a brilliant record anyway.The earlier, uberpop songs they heard, like Oh! (What A Glorious Thing), were met by the label with great joy. But when they heard my Live8, legalised genocide and loony Christian right-dissing Thanks For All The Aids, things went a bit Simon Bates. And then, one musky summer night, I got the call: "Interscope aren't going to release this record." While "the world's most controversial record label" were happy enough to sell exploitative images of women and black folk to the West's cash-sloppy teenagers, they evidently weren't ready to promote the message that Bob Geldof's post-Live 8 "mission accomplished" claims were bullcrap.