GAMEOVER RECORDS “4MILL”
Miami, Florida Native J’Von “4MILL” Thomas has stepped out into the spotlight from behind the scenes going from a hit beat making producer, to distinctive rap artist. Having produced hit tracks for talented artists such as “Flo-Rida” and “Lady Gaga” 4MILL is no stranger to the fickle music industry.
After persuing a sound educational background in both highschool and undergrad, 4MILL forged ahead and started to work within the “Music Industry” which was opposed as second nature at the time, due to his father. 4MILL personally started out around the age of 14 producing, engineering and writing for local artist in Miami in his dad’s studio. “I made my first $500 for a beat at the age of 14.”
In 2000, 4MILL signed his first record deal with Warner Brothers and they brought him on as a producer. After his brief stay with Warner Brothers 4MILL began working with Miami based record label Poe Boy Entertainment as a producer, engineer and promoter as from 2001-2006. Working with Poe Boy gave him a great opportunity to learn about the importance of every role in a music company everyone from street team members up to CEO. 4MILL got a full grasp of the waxes and wanes surrounding the music industry.
In 2008 4Mill won the “Life of the Party” BET award for engineering and arranging the hit single “Low” Flo Rida featuring T-Pain. 4Mill is also two time Grammy-nominated producer and engineer. 4MILL’s first Grammy was for engineering Flo Rida’s hit song “Right Round” and the second nomination was for engineering and producing “Star Struck” by Lady Gaga featuring Flo Rida.
Here 4MILL talks about being “born” into the business and his plans for longevity.
PUB: Tell us how’d you get the name “4MILL”
4Mill: Really, its just dealing with a lot of money. Through my hood years I was already around a lot of money. and from playing little league the number 4 was my number and the Mill came from me and my boy Freeze came across a lot of money.
PUB: You started out making beats as a teen and went on to work with some very talented people in the industry tell us how that came about.
4Mill: Well, my dad had 40 years of experience in the industry and I literally grew up in the studio – I was actually born in my dad’s studio. And my dad used to have me to help out. I remember coming home from football practice and my dad would ask me to read contracts and I was like I know nothing about this. But I learned a lot from just being around him. I was exposed to talented people my dad worked with like Luther Campbell, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, KC and Sunshine Band. And new acts like Florida, Pit Bull etc. But it was still a rough struggle because my dad didn’t really want me to be a part of the industry, but he wanted to expose me to it. He made me become a hustler so early. And me and my boy were the only ones who grew up with our dad’s so my dad was like the neighborhood dad too. But he didn’t allow things to come easy for me.
PUB: Having been exposed to the industry through your father at an early age, would you say that was a huge advantage to your success in this business?
4Mill: I mean, yes definitely it was an advantage having already had experience in the industry. I had an early experience with an artist with Warner Bros. at the age of 20. I worked and did beats for his 2 albums and got my advantages and from there, the local buzz just started filling up like everyone wanted to get beats from me and use my studio. I was still young but I had to decide if I wanted to continue, or to go on to play football. (4Mill had a full football scholarship at UCLA).
PUB: What made or inspired you to switch from producing and beat making to rapping?
4Mill: Just my dedication to music. I always wanted to be a rapper. Here’s the thing, I always wanted to be a rapper but all my friends wanted to be rappers. I said who’s gonna make the beats? My dad said engineering can keep you in the game forever. As long as you stay dedicated you’ll be fine. Being inspired from him and artists like Dr. Dre (from NWA), my intention was always like I think of producers as being better label runners than artists.
PUB: Do you still produce and are you going to sign and represent up and coming artist in the future?
4Mill: I still produce. My new single Mr. Bank Roll is on itunes currently. me and my buddy C-Miles I’m trying to get Will.i.am on a record and Rihanna and maybe Jeezy. I’m trying to capture that urban rhythm and that pop sound.
PUB: How’s the new album coming along?
4Mill: I’m currently in the studio finishing up the album and promoting the single “Mr. Bank Roll”. I’m halfway done until I get a confirmation of the label. I already have 40 songs recorded but I’m trying to get 70 and release the best 15. I’m trying to bring the soul back to hip-hop. That’s why I like artists like Jeezy cause you can feel it (music). But no disrespect to those doing their thang but I like Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, Pit Bull, Florida, and E-Class. I look up to Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Betty Wright and my dad (Fred Thomas).
PUB: What advice would you give someone who wants to start a rap career in this business?
4Mill: Best advice: as far is producing or whatever, is pray. I’m not the only guy who grew up in the industry and its more prayer and dedication and being humble. Its gonna be some loses. You gonna have to give somethings to get somethings. I remember. Its like playing football. It can be that guy that wasn’t on your level and that guy who worked harder and he is now the superstar. He worked hard everyday. Only the blessed will make it. To even compete with the biggest acts you have to have a story too.Coming from the Miami scene I’m used to seeing the artist talk about where and how they lived. But who am I to judge if someone raps about something that they never lived. But the Miami scene I know most artists talk about how they lived.
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