Edward Agyemang, 23, always wanted to his own business; the conventional ‘9 to 5’ never appealed, and his love of music, especially UK music, from Wretch 32 to Chipmunk and K Koke, is evident. From as far back as he can remember, being his own boss has been a must and something he has achieved, from T-shirt company to his own record label, Mixtape Madness was born. Flavour catches up with Edward to find out how it all really started.
Also known as Eddie, he is from the riot-hit area of Tottenham, north London. He went to Brunel University to study International Business, graduating with a 2:1, but graduating during an economic recession where jobs are scarce. In 2009, Edward was in a serious car crash. While in hospital, bed bound, with nothing better to do, the Mixtape Madness vision began. After a good night’s sleep, one dream later, and months down the line the vision came to life with the help of best pal Andy Ayim. They rounded up their other friends and made a five-man strong team. Equipped with expertise in several areas, they ran with the idea, and the rest is history. Eddie says, ‘We are more of a family rather than a staff; we all bring different skills, ideas, creativity and personalities to the table, which is central to the ultimate “madness” we’ve created.’ Eddie finally had something he could call his own, where he was calling the shots. ‘I was born to do this, it’s in my blood.’
The ability to download and listen to the hottest UK mixtapes was dead; Eddie’s fresh idea gave underground artists the promotional clout of signed artists, while still keeping the ‘realest’ underground lyrical content.
After officially launching in 2010, Mixtape Madness has received more than 30,000 hits, with some 19,250 registered users, and has a BT Digital Online Award to its name. When searched for on Google, it is currently the UK’s number one place for the greatest UK mixtapes, from the likes of Chipmunk, D Double E, Ghetts and Giggs, to name a few.
Although Mixtape Madness is now an established business, it wasn’t all plain sailing. ‘As with many new businesses,’ says Eddie, ‘there were quite a few obstacles throughout start-up. A significant one is obviously generating the finances to run such a project. It was quite frustrating, as I knew I had this amazing idea, but the issue was transforming the idea from my head into a reality, and in reality everything comes at a cost…
‘Some artists were initially reluctant to give us permission to put their mixtapes up, but after they recognised we weren’t just another run-of-the-mill blog, they fully supported our project.’ The obstacles were endless, but they persevered and with a little faith, Mixtape Madness pulled through. ‘When you start up your own company, people do not take you seriously. The worst thing is that the people who don’t take you seriously are the people who know you and who should be giving you support rather than turning their backs on you. It wasn’t a big deal; it gave me the energy to take the project to another level.’
The UK urban music scene has grown since its humble beginnings on pirate radio sets, such as Deja Vu. Artists like Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah who came from the underground are now UK chart-toppers and have Stateside recognition. Mixtape Madness, born out of a generation that boasts a new innovative urban sound, is now there to bridge the gap and provide an easy transition from underground to mainstream, which suits both artists and fans on both ends of the scale.
The future looks very bright for Eddie, with artists struggling to break through into the industry and mixtapes their only way to reach people. Mixtape Madness is a place for new artists to promote their music. The scene has grown over the past 10 years and is still growing rapidly. Eddie says, ‘We are aiming to continue to push this company forward. We want to show what UK talent has to offer and what the young generation can achieve if they put their minds to it; as oppose to young people portrayed as an unruly rioting crowd that cannot be controlled.’