WARNER RECORDS SETS JOINT VENTURE WITH STEVE “STEVE-O” CARLESS’S DEFIANT RECORDS
BANDMANRILL, SHA EK, AND MCVERTT RELEASE NEW PROJECT DEFIANT PRESENTS: JIGGY IN JERSEY (FT. MCVERTT)
FEATURING A$AP FERG, SEXYY RED, TRIPPIE RED, LIL ZAY OSAMA, DJ SLIINK, AND MAIYA THE DON
August 11, 2023 (Los Angeles, CA) — Today, Warner Records officially announces Defiant Records, a joint venture led by Steve “Steve-O” Carless, President of A&R, Warner Records. To help mark the occasion, the influential record executive and 2023 Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Power Player is proud to announce the release of Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey (ft. MCVERTT), which pairs emerging producer and artist MCVERTT with rappers Bandmanrill and Sha EK, making for a project on the cutting edge of Jersey Club music, New York Drill—and Hip-Hop dance.
Listen HERE via Defiant Records/Warner Records.
Steven “Steve-O” Carless has held senior leadership roles and delivered commercial A&R success across the Major Label business – including Atlantic Records, Def Jam Recordings, Republic Records, and Uptown Records – before accepting the President of A&R role at Warner Records in September 2021. Across his career, he has guided the careers of culturally significant and iconic artists including Pusha-T, Big Sean, YG, 2 Chainz Nipsey Hussle and Polo G. Steven and Nipsey Hussle co-founded The Marathon Agency together and he continues to play a role in safeguarding the legacy and estate of Nipsey Hussle.
“Defiant will be filled with individuals who are always challenging the status quo, always going to be in an innovation phase of their career,” says Carless.
Bandmanrill, Sha Ek, and MCVERTT fill dancefloors on both sides of the Hudson with their fiery mix of drill music and Jersey club. Combining their efforts to create a supersized collaboration chock full of East Coast bangers, the Tri-State trio share Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey (ft. MCVERTT), executive-produced by MCVERTT, a 28-track project that defines the developing hybrid genre.
The Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey ft. MCVERTT project arrives on the heels of the recent “Face Down” single which features signature MCVERTT production with Sexyy Red and A$AP Ferg spitting flames on the certified Jersey Club scorcher. MCVERTT is on fire this year, most notably co-producing Lil Uzi Vert’s RIAA Triple Platinum smash “Just Wanna Rock.” The new Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey project was also preceded by lead single “Pistons,” for which MCVERTT crafted a lush and propulsive backing track, combining sweeping strings with sliding 808s to create a symphony of drill. On the track, Bandmanrill and Sha EK join forces to go toe-to-toe in a joint effort to conquer all. In the video, Bandmanrill and Sha take the subway from the Bronx to Manhattan, practically mirroring their infectious sounds spread through the city.
Watch it HERE.
Born and raised in Newark, Bandmanrill changed the game when he applied his fast-paced rhymes to his home city’s high-BPM club beats, mixing the bravado of East Coast drill with the hip-shaking hype of the Newark sign. His partner-in-crime was MCVERTT, whose insistent instrumentals leave enough space for rhymes while providing more than enough high-octane energy to get people moving. Blessed with a natural megaphone for a voice, Bronx-born Sha Ek became a regular collaborator of both artists, adding an aggressive edge that commands respect in the Five Boroughs.
Since label inception, each of these young artists have established themselves as pivotal in driving the culture forward. Earlier this year, Bandmanrill and Sha EK commanded the Defiant Presents x Warner Records stage at Hot 97’s Summer Jam which saw their synergy made manifest. Bandmanrill’s major label debut, last fall’s Club Godfather, and this year’s EP President Obandman came complete with numerous production contributions by MCVERTT and brought Jersey club rap to a mass audience. Sha EK has kept the streets fed this year with a steady stream of singles and this March’s Most Dangerous EP. Sha’s 2022 project Return of The Jiggy peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Together this collective – in partnership with the creative leadership of Steven Carless – are pushing the limits of modern hip-hop and delivering meaningful inspiration to young artists and fans across the globe.
Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey (ft. MCVERTT) tracklist:
1. Face Down – MCVERTT, A$AP Ferg, Sexyy Red
2. Who You Touch Pt. 2 (ft. Trippie Redd) – Sha Ek, Bandmanrill
3. Movin Tac – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
4. Made It Lit (ft. MCVERTT) – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
5. Jiggy in Jersey, Pt. 3 (feat. MCVERTT) – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
6. Armed & Dangerous (Jersey Club Version) – Sha EK, Defiant Presents
7. Mr D.C.T. Pt.2 – Bandmanrill, Maiya the Don, Defiant Presents
8. O.M.D. – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
9. Savage (ft. MCVERTT) – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
10. Not Me – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
11. Crash Out – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
12. Associate (feat. MCVERTT) – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
13. Pistons (feat. MCVERTT) – Bandmanrill, Sha EK, Defiant Presents
14. Fanned Out – Sha EK, Defiant Presents
15. Drag Em – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
16. Celine – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
17. Ballout – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
18. Flashy – Sha EK, Defiant Presents
19. PSA – Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
20. Look at Me Now – Sha EK, Defiant Presents
21. Freestyle – Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
22. Horror Story – Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
23. Warsaw (feat. MCVERTT) – Bandmanrill, Defiant Presents
24. Respectfully (feat. MCVERTT) – Sha EK, Defiant Presents
25. Never Want to Be Them, Pt. 2 – Sha EK, Lil Zay Osama, Defiant Presents
26. Who You Touch – Sha EK, Bandmanrill
27. Jiggy in Jersey – Sha EK, Bandmanrill
28. Jiggiest in Jersey – Sha EK, Bandmanrill, DJ Sliink, Defiant Presents
Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
Download image here
The appeal of Bandman and Mcvertt’s style is more than just the sound—it also offers a glimpse at how a younger generation is putting its touch on music they lived with in their childhood.” – Pitchfork
“Recent drill music has been defined by great, singular rap voices: Sha Ek has such a voice” – NPR
“Garden State rep Bandmanrill’s blend of skilled rapping over the high-energy production is catching on. He’s one of the most relevant artists to rhyme over the club music beats and has his sights set on taking it all over the world.” – XXL
“Sha Ek’s efforts this year are worthy of the rookie of the year title.” – HotNewHipHop
ABOUT DEFIANT PRESENTS:
Steve “Steve-O” Carless, the visionary executive, manager, and A&R mind, had his great epiphany for his new imprint, Defiant Presents, at Paris Fashion Week. “I went with Polo G five nights a week,” he recalls, mentioning the Chicago-bred superstar he then co-managed. In the United States, Carless continues, DJs make sure these A-listers hear their own records. Not during this trip. “Instead, in every club, every night they’re playing drill,” he says. It rewired Carless’ approach. In short order, Carless would assemble Bandmanrill—the Newark native who has become a phenomenon for rapping over the sorts of Jersey club music the Elizabeth-born Carless grew up partying to—and his go-to producer, Mcvertt, alongside Sha EK and Kenzo B, drill stars from across the Hudson River. Together this lineup constitutes not only some of the most unmissable young talent in rap today but a distinct vision of the future. Carless got his start at Star Trak Entertainment and later worked for Corporate Thugz, each time seeing how auteur visions at the top trickled down through scenes. Through senior roles at Def Jam, Atlantic, Republic, Uptown Records, and now Warner, Carless has worked with iconic talents Pusha-T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz, among innumerable others. Now Defiant, he vows, will be “filled with individuals who are always challenging the status quo, always going to be in an innovation phase of their career.” For now, it seems all things are moving in Defiant’s direction.
About Sha Ek:
Sha EK is at the forefront of a new wave of urgent, militant, and captivating street rap: Bronx drill. The 19-year-old’s booming, serrated rasp overflows with the aggression and emotion required to tear through the most thunderous and frenetic drill beats. On energetic, war-ready singles like the smash “D&D,” the South Bronx native brings you to the trenches, moving at breakneck speed through places where shots could ring out at any moment. Born Chalim Perry to Honduran parents, Sha EK spent much of his upbringing observing the harsh realities of the Melrose section of the South Bronx. At 15, he survived a gunshot wound while walking in his neighborhood, which prompted him to record the vivid and visceral drill we hear today. Local support mounted with each single he released, but Sha Ek broke beyond his neighborhood with 2020’s “D&D.” With over 5.2M views on YouTube alone, “D&D” has become a Bronx drill anthem that proves the subgenre has the potential to reach well beyond the five boroughs. Now that he’s signed to Warner Records, Sha EK’s working tirelessly on his debut project. He believes what comes next will advance the sound of Bronx drill while showcasing his own stylistic and melodic capabilities. His intensity remains, but these days he’s also recording soulful tracks that capture his pain and will surely echo out into the listening world. No matter how far his music reaches, every win is a victory for his city, his neighborhood, and his family.
Despite his short time in the spotlight, Bandmanrill revolutionized hip-hop by rhyming dexterously over the club music from his native New Jersey. Yet even if the 20-year-old doesn’t sport the years of experience some of his friends and collaborators can claim, dance is something of a birthright to those who grew up immersed in the scene. That universality is evidenced by the way Bandman was able to almost immediately connect with a huge audience before being backed by any label. He uploaded his breakthrough hit, “Heartbroken,” in the spring of 2021, the Jersey native was discovered by hometown entrepreneurs from his beloved Newark, NJ by Dawan “DB” Brown and Saad Amin who welcomed him to their combined label imprints 100% Pure and 1865 Black Flag Entertainment. The tandem forged a partnership with the legendary record executive “Steve-O” Carless and his Defiant Records imprint, Bandman is poised to break his disruptive style even wider. In the two years since “Heartbroken”—which introduced Bandman to a national audience and cemented a relationship with Mcvertt, his go-to producer—the artist has become something of a phenomenon. His debut album, November 2022’s Club Godfather, showcased his versatility, proving that being nimble and forceful is not a contradiction—it’s simply the mark of an expert MC. As he turns his attention to the future, it’s difficult to imagine a version of rap in the 2020s without Bandman close to its center.
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. That’s never truer than for MCVERTT, the producer who has recently made Jersey club music the hottest new thing in hip-hop through his work with his close collaborator, Bandmanrill, and a host of other MCs. But at first, the beats were merely a means to an end. “I was really a dancer,” the Jersey City-born, Newark-raised producer says. He grew up watching videos of Michael Jackson and Chris Brown, and by the time he entered his teen years, he was deeply involved in the local dance scene, which was driven by Jersey club’s breakneck pace and highly technical hairpin turns of tone and cadence. He and his friends would attend battles and upload their latest dances to YouTube; for a time, the skills VERTT had picked up in a music production class in high school were simply the necessary scaffolding to get their feet moving. Working in the tradition of club music pioneers like DJ Jayhood, DJ PoppaDubb, DJ Big O, and Lil C4, VERTT’s beats are nevertheless radically forward-thinking: full of unbridled energy, tension and release, suspense, and catharsis. In addition to his work with Bandman, VERTT has fashioned songs for a who’s-who of young rappers throughout the Tri-State, including many of New York drill’s brightest young talents like Sugarhill DDot and viral stars IShowSpeed and Prince Raheem. He also laced Lil Uzi Vert—the inspiration for his name—with “Just Wanna Rock,” which sent shockwaves through the music industry when it dropped, reaching the top ten on Billboard’s Hot 100 and confirming club music’s leap into the mainstream.
LEFT TO RIGHT (BANDMANRILL, MCVERTT, SHA EK)
(credit: Jimmy Fontaine)
Steve “Steve-O” Carless (credit: Fabian Palencia)
Defiant Presents: Jiggy In Jersey (ft. MCVERTT): https://defiantpresents.lnk.to/JiggyInJersey
MCVERTT – “Face Down” ft. A$AP Ferg & Sexyy Redd: https://mcvertt.lnk.to/FaceDown
DJ Sliink ft. Bandmanrill – “Real Hips II”: https://defiantpresents.lnk.to/RealHipsII
Bandmanrill, Sha EK, MCVERTT – “Pistons”: https://bandmanrillxshaek.lnk.to/PistonsVideo
Bandmanrill – “Mr. D.C.T.”: https://bandmanrill.lnk.to/MrDCT
Sha EK – “Never Want To Be Them Part 2” ft. Lil Zay Osama: https://ShaEk.lnk.to/NWTBTP2