By Dylan Deprey
There are some promoters that can get the city’s attention, KB ‘ThePlayMaker’ aims for the universe.
He’s taken the billboard and gone mobile. From vinyl wrapped vehicles and backpacks loaded with music videos, to personalized bobble heads and inflatable pop-up shops, KB doesn’t just think outside the box, he’s got a mansion built outside of it.
The Black Out Entertainment marketing head has become one of the most sought after “street marketing experts” across the country. After working with some of Milwaukee’s biggest artists, he noticed the bubbling talent the city had to offer.
Unlike Atlanta or New York, it was missing its Def Jam and LaFace Records, the places that set the groundwork for new artists pioneering Hip-Hop in their city.
Milwaukee has been on the cusp of making a name for itself, and has found some national success with acts like Coo Coo Cal, IshDarr and Lakeyah, but KB said he wanted to elevate Milwaukee to its highest potential.
“I think the reason we [Milwaukee] can’t advance is because we don’t know each other when we see them,” he said. “We might contact each other on social media, but if we’re in the same city, I should be able to at least know who you are.”
He said he wanted to build a hub for local artists and creatives to come for a one-stop experience. Whether it’s a rookie just coming into the game, or a veteran looking to expand their brand, he wanted a place where Milwaukee artists could grow and work together.
The Compound is Milwaukee’s first and only independent artist development complex. The Compound has a studio, producers, videographers, photographers, graphic designers, a law department a podcasting network, as well as the street marketing team. It’s a one-stop-shop for artists to learn the business, and build their career.
“It’s really a place for creatives. We’re really trying to catch the young cats that really have a desire to be something in the industry before they hit the streets. This allows everybody to be a part of something, we’re trying to build a network,” he said.
Outside of the artistic services, there’s also a legal team to work with talent on the business side of music.
“Some artists have millions of views with thousands of unclaimed dollars,” he said. “We have a paperwork program to teach artists how to read and understand the contracts that come along with the business. We setup the accounts to give the artists firsthand knowledge of how they will be getting paid.”
KB said while the internet does help artists make connections outside of the city, he wanted a place where they could physically meet and work together. He noted there was still an untapped market that the street team could reach that the internet couldn’t.
“I had to take it back to the street team days because I adapted to the internet phase, but for me—and this is just my thought—they sold us on the internet with all this unlimited blah blah blah. The labels all bit into it, but I think there’s still another market out there.”
He wanted to stay ahead of the curve and created The Compound Podcasting Network to promote as much local talent as humanly possible. Current podcasts include “Slick Talk with Scalez,” “Gender Wars,” “Best of the Best TV,” and KB’s artist introduction series “The Platform,” which features music executive Digi Mech.
2Official Kenzie runs the day-to-day operation at The Compound, and said dreams could really become a reality with some hard work and the right team. He said whether it is marketing an album or opening a business, there are endless opportunities for creatives to build at The Compound.
“It still amazes me the talent this city has to offer, so I definitely think we have some work to do getting us out there,” he said. “We’re here and we’re working, and we’ve got a job to do.”
Creatives have been filtering into The Compound since it’s opened, and 2Official Kenzie said projects would be coming out early summer 2022.
KB added that any artist looking for some direction, help with their business or just to come chat with other creatives should stop through The Compound.
“It could be a photoshoot, a podcast or just to come chill, you’ll see most of the artists that are in the city here,” KB said. “If you’re interested in collaborating with them, we can make those connections for you.”
For more information visit https://thecompoundmke.com/