Pickininny founder and owner, T-Love (aka “Taura Love”)
It’s kinda hard to make it in the rap game for a woman. In an industry where so many business meetings occur in an “boys-only” environment, heterosexual women have a hard time getting their props. You would think that being business saavy would help, unfortunately it seems that insecure A&Rs are reluctant to sign artists who know more about the industry than they do themselves !
As a writer, MC, editor, manager, publicist, record label owner, radio host and promoter Taura Love a.k.a. T-Love had the opportunity to study the music business from every angle. One of the first things she learned is how important it is to build your catalog. The golden rule is to keep control of your music : don’t put your soul on 2-inch reel that you don’t even own. After the unreleased album of her group Urban Prop, that they recorded for Capitol, T-Love made it a point to always control everything she writes and records.
She also made it a point to understand business, minus the “music”–the business which is behind every firm operating today, no matter it be music, film, agriculture, or babyfood. While still an MC in the group Urban Prop, T-Love secured her first marketing hustles: Wild Pitch (Ultramagnetic MCs, The Coup) and Beatnuts.While she and her group Urban Prop were still being signed and “slept-on” by their then production company, she also studied/read business books (to avoid EVER having to sign to a production deal again), but she also fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a journalist. Her first-ever interview was with rap legend, Snoop Dogg. The uniqueness of this interview was that it was both T-Love and Snoop Dogg’s first-ever published interviews. She tapped her resources, which trailed her to his home phone. She then took it to URB, where it became a feature, and then HHC [UK's Hiphop Connection], where it became a cover-story. From there, she arrived at the skateboard mag, SLAP, Rappages, VIBE and RapSheet’s Fashion Editor.
When her cousin Zenobia moved to Los Angeles, they founded an indie-hiphop marketing firm called Gyrlz On Wilcox. T-Love promptly hustled a column for this entity, in URB. Nervous Records (DJ Evil Dee, Buckshot Shorty, Black Moon Re-Issue), Correct Records (Mannish, Al Tariq), Arista Records (Biggie Smallz, Craig Mack), EMI (D’Angelo) were just some of their marketing clients. During this time, T-Love had her first-ever release, Nobody Knows My Name, via Southpaw Records, under the moniker Love N Props.
Zenobia secured a baller-job with Penalty/Tommy Boy, and moved to New York City. T-Love remained indie. She became the music editor at URB, all the while recording her first-ever project, Return of the B-Girl and still doing marketing services for companies like Rawkus (Company Flow, Mike Ladd), Fondle ‘Em (Siah & Yeshua) Fatbeats Distribution. She also marketed and managed herself, along with Cut Chemist. When Jurassic 5 members Chali 2na and DJ Numark asked her to, T-Love drafted and implemented both Jurassic 5’s marketing and business plans and negotiated a “ground-breaking” non-exclusive license deal with a distributor.
When both Virgin Records [USA] and Universal Publishing [London] offered her contracts, she quickly and wisely decided to use the money as capital investment, rather than to further her career as an artist–and moved to London, to begin setting-up shop. Upon the release of her first album, Long Way Back, she did a European tour and removed herself totally from the music biz, to see her child to a ripe age. And now she’s back. Richer. Stronger. Wiser.
Pickininny is no longer T-Love’s “vanity” record label, but a T-Love “vanity” indie-talent management firm. DJs, beatmakers, composers, recording engineers, musicians and graphic artists. And T-Love is STILL putting it down on the marketing, but no longer “hires-out” her services to other entities/firms. Her goal is simply to market the talent she has ALREADY accumulated over the past years. Different from many management firms, Pickininny is not out soliciting for new talent, but using its precious time/energy to market the talent roster it already has. She is not looking to “expand.” In this roster, are not just talented people, but T-Love’s family, her “Picki People.” And unlike many other management firms, T-Love isn’t looking for superstar talent to place on Pickininny’s roster–but to make superstars out of the talent she already has.