Growing up on the Northside of Houston, Texas at 1501 Hardy Street, Carl Crawford was focused on two things: brotherhood and baseball. After being drafted at 17 years old Carl would spend the next fifteen years as an MLB All-Star before retiring in 2016 and making the decision to join the music business and create 1501 Certified Records.
Starting a record label isn’t easy to create so Carl enlisted a music veteran, T. Farris – former manager of Houston acts such as Paul Wall, Lil KeKe and Mike Jones to help create the 1501 vision. “I’ve known T. Farris since we were kids we used to play in the little league together and then during high school we just kind of went our own ways. We linked up and it was like we didn’t miss a beat. To make things easier I moved him into my house for a year so that I could be able to learn the ropes. Just so we could be able to get business done no matter the hour, wake up, sleep and get to it every day,” says Carl.
Around 2017, Houston definitely had a problem – a young and vibrant rapper by the name of Megan The Stallion went viral on social media with her ruthless, lyrical freestyles. Carl recalls, “I saw her freestyle videos on social media and at the time I was already looking for a female rapper so I told T. Farris to go find her. I met her officially and I started working with her at the beginning of 2018 and then we signed her to the label.”
Megan then signed with 1501 Records/300 Entertainment in November of 2018, after achieving more notoriety and establishing a sizable fan base with the record label. During the interview, Crawford reveals that it cost him at least 7 figures to start up the record label, a significant investment he was able to afford with the $179 million he earned throughout his 15-year-career.
“You see him [T.Farris] in the office making moves and trying to find new talent. You know what I’m saying so somewhere that went left trying to focus on Megan. Megan was just one of our artists and that’s cool that she blew up but we had other things that we working on and I guess the fame and being around Megan it just makes people switch sides or whatever he did. That was more important than actually trying to build the actual 1501 brand.”
“You don’t see Coach K signing artists to Roc Nation or holding a dog all day long.”Carl Crawford
Social media went into a frenzy when Megan announced her new management deal with Roc Nation. When asked if Megan was still considered the 1501 Queen? Carl’s answer was simply, “Megan is still signed to 1501 and that’s all I can say about that.”
Megan has a four album record label deal with 1501 Certified and 300 Entertainment in a licensing rights joint venture. 300 Entertainment is distributed by Atlantic Records under Warner Music Group. Known mainly as a record label, Roc Nation also hosts as an entertainment and sports management firm with Rihanna, Shakira, Angie Martinez, Kyrie Irving, and many others being represented by the company.
If you compare Megan’s deal with 1501 to let’s say rapper Meek Mill: “Meek is signed to MMG and Atlantic [Records] which is under the WMG umbrella. Separately, he has a management deal with Roc Nation,” says DJ Booth Editor-In-Chief.
Carl is a respected Houston legend so J. Prince felt the need to speak out after Megan announced that she was a part of the Roc Nation family, “The music business is a business filled with sharks and cut throat people. So congratulations to the homie Carl Crawford owner of 1501 Records for breaking your first artist Megan Thee Stallion. Carl is from my hood, better known as 5th Ward and I’m proud to be his new partner moving forward. Surprise to all that had plans on taking something from him, good luck with that. This is just the beginning.”
After that, Carl took to Instagram to also let everyone know that Megan was still his. Under a picture of himself posted with J. Prince, he wrote:
Since 2016, Megan has dropped three mixtapes (Rich Ratchet, Make It Hot, and Tina Snow), each displaying her gift for wielding an impressive toolkit of flow patterns and stylistic approaches to songs. With her label debut Fever — a 14-track project released on 300 Entertainment — and continued rise of her charting single “Big Ole Freak,” she’s become an internet icon.
At the beginning of signing to 1501, there were rumors of a relationship between Carl and Megan. Speaking on the rumors Carl said, “I just know it isn’t true so it doesn’t bother me. You know in baseball and sports we try to avoid confrontation but in the entertainment industry it’s considered good so if that’s what’s going to make you listen to a Megan The Stallion record then so be it because I know I’m a professional and I know me and her have never had that relationship like that ever in that nature. So, it’s actually funny and we laugh about it. It’s just one of those deals when somebody looks good and raps about sex that’s normally what happens. When I look at all these other artists and their CEO’s.”
When asking Carl about Megan signing to Roc Nation his response was, “I knew that she was taking meetings with them. I didn’t know that she was going to be signing with them that day she announced it. I found out when they posted on the internet when everybody else found out. He [T.Farris] was the driving force behind it, he was the person that was in her ear the most.”
“We [T.Farris and Carl] just met Megan two years ago. We’ve been knowing each other since we were nine years old so you go and switch up on me to go do this because you’re chasing the fame and the fortune which we could’ve got it together. We’re building over here too. That fame and that stuff can change the weak. I had a 15-year career and it never changed me or nothing like that. We come from the same place so I never expected..”
Catrise J: Is T. Farris still apart of 1501?
Carl Crawford : No.
Catrise J: So, it’s quiet for that?
Carl Crawford: Yes.
“Well, this all happened around the Roc Nation signing. He wanted to be a manager. He used to manage Paul Wall and Mike Jones so that was the job he wanted the whole time so he used me to get to this position. The whole while you knew what you were trying to do because I’m new to the business so I don’t know what he’s trying to do – only he does. It just sucks because I’m the one who vouched for him the most from what I hear he is the road manager now,” says Carl.
“Me and him started out as being Pee and Coach K. That was the motto. That’s what we were looking up to. You don’t see Coach K signing artists to Roc Nation or holding a dog all day long.”
The dog Carl is referring to is Megan’s French Bulldog 4oe which is frequently seen everywhere with the “Hot Girl Summer” rapper.
Last year , Megan won “Best Mixtape” for ‘Fever’ at the BET Hip-Hop Awards which dropped via 300 Ent/1501 Records in May of last year. In her acceptance speech, Megan acknowledged everyone except for Carl. While Carl was happy for the win it was also hard for him to celebrate the accomplishment.
“It’s great. It’s was a project that was done through 1501. It’s great. I love all the accolades I have no issues with that. That’s what makes it such a bitter situation that I’m not able to just celebrate it the way that I want. Things just change up. My thing is I’m new to the business. I’m not understanding how important the relationships are. T. Farris knew that and I just got kind of taken advantage of in that area. Me and Megan didn’t really have an issue with each other but also weren’t the best of friends either so I guess that little opening left it for people in the middle to do all types of stuff but I trusted T. Farris with that job right there and he let me down because he was only thinking about himself.” explains Carl.
“She [Megan] was supposed to open the doors for other artists to come through Houston because 1501 was set up for the city of Houston.”
“Just imagine you’re trying to switch lanes and then your first artist does all the hard work they say I didn’t do but all the hard work that we put into it we see come into fruition and then all of sudden they want you out of the fold. Of course, even the nicest person would be a little pissed off about it because at the end of the day the system that put together we had was working. Nothing went wrong. Everything that we planned even before we met Megan everything went according to plan. Now, they switched routes once she made it big but now its time to do all this kind of crazy stuff and I’m just like damn this what happens when you get to the top in Hollywood, huh? Your closest people turn on you so that’s the part that irritates me because we did everything that we were supposed to do. She was supposed to open the doors for other artists to come through Houston because 1501 was set up for the city of Houston. Not just Megan she’s just the one that happened to blow up but had like 10 people ready to come through that joint so when you see your whole plan gets shot down because two people want to be selfish then yeah you’re gonna feel a certain type away about it.”
When asking Carl if he felt a potential beef between him, Megan, and T. Farris would be bad for Houston his response was: “I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look good for the city but at the end of the day, the city shouldn’t panic because 1501 is still determined to find the next artist and keep it going. See, they don’t have any plans to bring out another artist out of Houston or to let somebody else be famous. It’s all about them. My plan is to keep the next person coming through so Houston shouldn’t feel bad because there is still a program here that will bring you the same opportunities that Megan had.”
Meet 1501’s New Proteges
Written By: Mikala Horne
Interviewed By: Catrise J