Hitmaka Reveals EMPIRE Brought Him Out Atlantic Records Contract


In the last decade, with countless #1s and over 10 billion streams, chart-topping recording artist/producer/songwriter Hitmaka has evolved into one of the industry’s most decorated executives.

The current Vice President of A&R at the indie giant EMPIRE after parting ways from a previous two-year-long VP of A&R position with Atlantic Records in 2021, Hitmaka revealed on the new episode of the Black Effect/iHeart Radio’s R&B Money Podcast with Tank and J. Valentine that his resignation from Atlantic Records wasn’t as easy as people would believe as it took EMPIRE CEO and Founder Ghazi Shami to buy him out of his position with the home of Meek Mill, Cardi B and Jack Harlow.


Hitmaka began breaking down the EMPIRE/Atlantic situation with the hosts at the 1:31:55 minute mark. He reveals his frustration with Atlantic for only wanting him for the music, rather than grooming him to become a boss and offering unproven artists more money to align with the label.

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Hitmaka requested is resignation but was roadblocked with a bill by the label before departure. After taking a meeting with EMPIRE, the CEO saw Hitmaka’s vision and offered him a position with the company, moved him to the Bay Area, and paid remainder balance of his current contract at Atlantic Records.

Hitmaka was appointed Vice President of A&Rs at EMPIRE in September 2021. “We’re lucky to have him on the home team at EMPIRE – inspiring and creating with our artists and delivering top-quality music of his own,” said Ghazi Shami in a 2021 press release. “We’re already off to the races with several of Hit’s records charting and have more on the way.”

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Throughout the podcast, Hitmaka, who’s best known to fans as the mid-2000s controversial recording artist Yung Berg, spoke on his upbringing in Chicago, breaking into the music industry with DMX, reality television, transforming into Hitmaka, earning 227 song placements in 2021 and so much more.

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Hitmaka’s resume includes chart-topping collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, Jeremih, Puff Daddy and, of course, Tank.

Hitmaka is currently promoting his new single “Down Bad” featuring Ivory Scott, Fabolous and Jeremih. A video for the new single was released last Friday (June 17), the song is available everywhere via MakaSound Records/EMPIRE. Watch it here.

The R&B Money Podcast is a new platform that praises the past, present and future of R&B. A podcast for the super dedicated R&B fans, covering everything in the genre from legends like Keith Sweat, Jodeci and Maxwell to today’s biggest names like Pink Sweat$, Chris Brown and Frank Ocean with compelling stories from artists and executives within the landscape.

Stream the R&B Money Podcast on iHeart and watch the complete episode featuring Hitmaka above. Check out Hitmaka’s new single, “Down Bad,” below.

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