Chamillionaire talks SF tech/startup scene

Chamillionaire has long been one of my favorite lyricists in the game and in the top tier of artists who can remix any hot beat. His mixtapes were always just as strong as his albums as a result.

Lately, you may have noticed the 35-year old Houston native has been less active in releasing in new music, instead choosing to focus on his next career move in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco tech/startup scene. He’s recently begun working for Upfront Ventures, an investment firm valued at $280 million, as an “Entrepreneur in Residence.” Says Noisey, “In the world of venture capitalism, an “EIR” is a relatively loose, informal and temporary position—basically an opportunity for an entrepreneur to work with an investment team and get some capitalist know-how as they plot out their next project.”

Chamillionaire opens up to Noisey about his move into the venture capital world, his mission to point more people in the music industry to this direction, and even reflects on his music like the impact of “Ridin'” in the wake of continued police brutality, even as you read this in Baltimore.

Here are a few quotables:

On the SF scene:
“There are people that are doing things that I would’ve never even thought possible. To be in the midst of that is just amazing to me. Coming up as a rap artist, man, I come from a world where people couldn’t just walk into a room and just get all this money. You had to be a rapper or a basketball player and you had to be exceptionally great at that.”

On “Ridin'”:
“That song wasn’t even about me, honestly. I put myself in the shoes of other people. I was thinking about all the things that people have said, and why hasn’t nobody said this? Even if you’re doing nothing, you could be a college student, whatever, and the police officer’s just looking like they think you’re doing something wrong. And it’s like, ‘Where’s the theme song for this?’”

Chamillionaire’s first venture success:
Last year, one of the companies he gave money to, the online video network Maker Studios, was acquired by Disney for $500 million—with a promise of another $450 million if the company makes financial advances. He declined to say how much of a cut he made, but he says he expects to make way more money doing this than he did as a rapper.

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