Abe Rasheed talks innovation at MNRK Music, cultivating new talent + working with DJ Drama

Abe Rasheed

When Abe Rasheed stepped in to head up the urban space at the legendary MNRK [Monarch] Music Group, his mission was to innovate, cultivate and help the label maintain its spot in today’s ever-changing musical landscape. 

One of the ways he’s achieved his goals so far, he says, is by ramping up the R&B landscape and signing “real” soul artists who bring a much-needed voice to the hip-hop world. 

“Rap can’t be nothing without R&B because they live in that same space,” Rasheed tells ABC Audio. “You need the melodies. You need the artists that are helping to transcend records.”

Rasheed believes that R&B stars of today — “the Daniel Caesars, the Giveons” — are appealing to younger audiences with their “more relatable” music, which is helpful in keeping the sound alive.  

Frustrated with many of the rappers who were signed to the label and “hitting a wall with their growth,” Rasheed “felt like it was a need for us to have a breath of fresh air.”

In came Jaz Karis and Ivory Scott, who were part of Rasheed’s roster revamp.

But the SVP has also worked alongside a not-so-new hip-hop star, a legend, as many in music might refer to him — DJ Drama

While the Philadelphia native has seen many years of underground and mainstream success, Rasheed helped to release Drama’s Billboard-charting recent album, I’m Really Like That.

“It’s just been amazing just to even be in the same room as him,” Rasheed says of working with Drama. 

The famed voice of mixtapes isn’t letting up either, Rasheed says, explaining that a new Drama album is underway featuring nothing but U.K. artists. 

As for his plans for MNRK in the future: “Ideally, by this year, we’ll become a household name.”

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