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LaTrice Burnette, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Island Records
Interview: Bianca Torres
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands now.

For LaTrice Burnette, navigating a career in the hip-hop industry has been a journey. The Brooklyn native’s climb up the corporate ladder entailed a lot of grinding. LaTrice got her start in 1999, as a Street Team leader at Roc-A-Fella Records. Her diligence eventually led to a marketing position at Atlantic Records and then Epic Records, working with artists such as Future, Yo Gotti, DJ Khaled, Travis Scott and more. Last year, Burnette took the Executive Vice President and General Manager position at Island Records and is working hard to build an empire. Here, the powerhouse offers advice on artist development, strategizing and climbing the ladder.

On Artist Development:
There seems to be less focus and initiative around artist development. Some artists know who they are from the very beginning, and then there’s some artists that actually need time to develop into what the public sees. That’s why it’s important as labels to focus on signing career artists. It’s not just about analyzing data.

On Marketing and Strategy for a Successful Rollout:
The biggest piece is strategy. How can we come up with the most forward-thinking rollout for these albums and elevate an artist? Getting together as a team and strategizing, thinking about how we can take things to the next level. Pushing each other, spending hours in meetings, brainstorming ideas. That’s how you get the success.

On Working Your Way Up the Ladder:
Work very hard. Don’t take “No” for an answer. Be determined and have goals. It’s good to have some sort of metric and you could check it to see how you’re doing. Also, remaining humble. Remembering where you’ve come from, what you’ve been through, that’s helped shape you into the person that you are. Don’t be afraid to learn, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The music industry is changing every day. Stay educated. The last thing is, have fun.

Check out more from XXL’s Spring 2020 issue including our Future cover story, in which he speaks on his Life Is Good albumLil Yachty discusses his new album, Lil Boat 3, and the respect he deserves, Van Jones talks about his love for hip-hop, Show & Prove interviews with Jack Harlow and Key Glock, YBN Cordae in What's Happenin, Rapsody talks about getting her flowers in an exclusive interviewplus there's a brewing, new hip-hop scene in New York and more.

See Exclusive Photos of Future on a Yacht for XXL Magazine's Spring 2020 Cover Story

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