The night I wrote my first Ryan Leslie post, I texted it to my buddy Brandon. He was the one who originally showed me Ryan's beatmaking videos more than a decade ago.
He replies, "did you see my IG story today?"
I go on his profile -- and see the last thing he posted -- a snippet of a Ryan Leslie interview.
What more -- Ryan had reposted Brandon's post to HIS story.
Brandon (also known as BC when he raps) teaches middle school math in Compton. He's probably the best math teacher in his district, partially because he knows how to connect with his kids so well.
Part of that is his Instagram -- he always posts inspirational things for his students, and this time it was a snippet of Ryan doing the math on how he made $1.2 million from a 30-city tour in Europe (30 cities x 1,000 people per city x 40 euros a ticket, if you're interested).
I remember talking with him about this for hours at my apartment in Culver City. We'd listen to dope beats and pace around breaking down influence. We wanted kids to think math was cool -- and we knew "money math" was the way to do it. (Later he would tell me that a student of his sold more than a thousand t-shirts of her hand-drawn design when he encouraged her and showed her how the math would work out — now they do t-shirt math in class all the time...)
Over text, I told Brandon that I had almost written that blog post about another video, considering 4 or 5 others before deciding on Ryan Leslie's -- that one just felt right.
I really wanted to start putting dope content out there that would be useful to people -- stuff that is cool, interesting, funny, edgy -- packed with actual information without putting you to sleep.
I've been putting it off for a very long time, but finally took the first step and was supremely validated. Plus, Brandon was wearing my Genesis tee in another "story" that day. So there's that as well.
See you next time...
P.S. - You can watch that Hot 97 interview below:
And the documentary he mentions in the interview:
To clarify, Ryan did make bank from the publishing income on Cassie's album, which he wrote and produced in its entirety. So, popularity and a major label are great, but as a recording artist -- he's definitely making a lot more now that he's independent and dealing with his fans directly.