Jeff B. - A Pioneer of the New Orleans Hip-Hop Scene, Venue Owners, Event Promoter, and Artist Manger

This is episode 4 of 5 in our New Orleans series featuring one of the New Orleans Hip-Hop scene pioneers, Jeff B. He first got his start in the music business working as a radio host at Tulane University college station being one of the first to host a weekly Hip-Hop show on radio. Jeff B has always been entrepreneurial spirited, and after hosting shows on radio, he quickly took the shows to the clubs from hosting parties and concerts. Eventually he opened his own venue in New Orleans called The Maison on the historic Frenchman Street. Now he also owns the venues Hi-Ho Lounge and Dragons Den in New Orleans. Jeff B is also the manager for the artist Mannie Fresh.

I first met Jeff B. during my time at House of Blues New Orleans from 2012 to 2015. I had the privilege of working many events with Jeff B. at House of Blues from weekly parties and concerts. In this conversation we talk about his start in the New Orleans hip-hop scene, to his entrepreneurial journey, owning venues, putting on events, management, and much more. When I arrived in New Orleans, I was surrounded by a ton of mentors not just within Live Nation, but also with some of the partners that we got to work with. Jeff B. was one of those partners, and has taught me a ton on entrepreneurship, negotiating, and building relationships. He’s one of the leaders in the New Orleans entertainment scene, and in this episodes he shares many awesome stories and wisdom with you to help you get one step closer to Making It.

Highlights from the episode:
Jeff’s experience in radio (6:30)
Preview of Jeff’s professional life (13:20)
The come up pf New Orleans hip-hop scene (18:35)
Experience with Cash Money Records (20:50)
Advice for someone getting into the music industry/promotion (22:15)
Journey to working with Mannie Fresh (24:00)
Details on Mannie Fresh’s live show (26:38)
Jeff’s future roster expansions (27:55)
Greatest challenges of an Artist Manager (28:15)
Best thing to do for artist managers in uncomfortable situations (30:00)
Jeff’s team (32:15)
Jeff’s journey into owning venues (33:30)
Details of Jeff’s venue the Maison (38:30)
Lessons from Sonny Schneidau (39:45)
Biggest challenge of venue owning in NOLA (44:00)

How Jeff makes his venues unique (45:32)
History of Frenchman St. (47:00)
How Jeff stays sane with a hectic schedule (49:25)
Good Elements for building a management team (50:10)
Advice for college students wanting to pursue the music industry (52:55)
Skills to look for in young industry professionals (54:33)
Favorite concert (57:00)
Starting all over again (1:01:22)
Making it to Jeff B. (1:01:50)

Quotes from Jeff B:
“Get many checks from many places”
“It’s not business most of the time. It’s tough. You have to have a real passion for it and you have to work at it”
“Operate under the assumption that you want to do long-term business”
“Karma is a motherfucker. Am I allowed to say motherfucker?”
“Sometimes you have to work a 9-5 job to get to the point that your art supports you.”
“It’s important to convince an artist that they have to understand what’s going on. They have to educate themselves.”
“Make sure the artist isn’t the asshole. You have to take that role.”
“Keep a level head, keep your cool, keep emotion out of it.”
If you’re in management you have to have a team around you.”
“You want to know all you can know.”
“Get out there and know your market. Get out there and network. Make connections.”
“If you don’t know how to delegate you can’t grow.”
“Go get internships. The doors are open for you.”
“Just because it’s your way doesn’t mean it’s the only way.”

Links to people and things mentioned:
Nothing but Jams - Q93
Tulane University
WTUL - 91.5  
Kid Capri  
Strech Armstrong  
Public Enemy  
Beastie Boys
Kool Moe D
Big Daddy Kane
Jungle Brothers  
Tribe Called Quest
Main Source  
Grandmaster Flash  
University of Pittsburg  
WPTS hip hop show
Gavin Reports
Hits Daily Double  
Leaders of the New School  
Jimmys Music Club
Elektra Records  
Busta Rhymes  
The Maison   
Dragons Den  
Hi-ho Lounge  
DJ Mannie Fresh  
Bigboy Records  
DJ Jubilee  
Cash Money Records  
Jive Records  
Russel Simmons  
Rick Ruben  
Snoop Dogg
Rebirth Brass Band  
Ballers Ball
Cheeky Blakk
Mia X
Voodoo Festival  
Gucci Mane
Dallas Davidson   
Rick Ross  
Lil Uzi Vert  
Big Sean  
Hard Festival  
Wax Motif  
House of Blues  
Sonny Schneidau  
Live Nation
Jazz Festival  
Bowery Group  
Essence Fest  
Mardi Gras  
Frenchmen Street  
Bourbon Street  
Stevie Wonder  
Jerry Seinfeld  
Hannibal Buress  

How to contact Jeff B.

Making It to Jeff B:
“If you’re happy, you have good friends and good family, and you can eat when you need to eat, It’s making it. “