K-Pop Company HYBE Buys Atlanta Rap Giant Quality Control

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K-Pop Company HYBE Buys Atlanta Rap Giant Quality Control


One of the great Atlanta rap success stories in recent years has been the rise of Quality Control Music, the Atlanta-based record label and management company that Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas founded in 2013. In the past decade, QC has discovered, developed, and pushed artists like the Migos, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, and City Girls. In Joe Coscarelli’s great 2022 book Rap Capital, there are all sorts of great anecdotes about the way QC works — about how, for instance, the founders pushed Lil Baby to become a rapper when he was just a weed dealer who gambled with rappers a lot. Quality Control has forged relationships with major labels, but it’s remained independent until now.

Billboard reports that the major South Korean entertainment firm HYBE has acquired Quality Control Music in a deal worth $300 million in cash and stock. Quality Control will now work under HYBE America CEO Scooter Braun, who has his own roots in the Atlanta rap world. That guy started out as Asher Roth’s manager!

You know Scooter Braun. He’s the high-powered manager of stars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Four years ago, Braun’s Ithaca Holding company bought Big Machine Records, the label that launched Taylor Swift. That gave Braun control over Swift’s masters, which pissed Swift off mightily, and it led to Swift’s ongoing project to re-record all of her old music, thus gaining control over the recordings.

HYBE is the South Korean company that started out as a scrappy independent in 2005. The songwriter and producer “Hitman” Bang Si-hyuk founded HYBE, and he used it to launch BTS, who became the biggest act on the planet. (Tomorrow X Together, another HYBE K-pop project, have the #1 album in America right now.) In 2021, HYBE bought Braun’s Ithaca Holding company, and Braun remains as the leader of HYBE’s American branch. So now a whole lot of gigantic music acts are under the same banner.

Talking to Billboard, Coach K says, “P and I are ecstatic about this partnership with Scooter and HYBE and are confident they can get us to our global ambitions we’ve had in our scope since the beginning of the company as nothing means more than our artists impacting worldwide. Over many years, Scooter and I have cultivated real trust and a common way of looking at the world and culture.”

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