As Louisville attempts to make its presence felt on the national hip-hop radar – one local label seems to be thriving on its own oil soil. Shark Livin’ Ent is a Louisville based hip-hop label – owned and operated by rappers “Tha Homie Jai” and E- Tha Turflord.
Shark Livin’ Ent officially became a label in May 2012. Jai and “E” are both Pisces so the name is based off that connection. Searching for something more aggressive that fit their personalities – they decided on the name Shark Livin’ and created a definition for the term.
“SHARK LIVIN’ IS BASED OFF THE ASTROLOGY SIGN PISCES WHICH IS A CARP, SO INSTEAD OF BEING CARPS WE DECIDED TO CALL OURSELVES SHARKS… I WANTED TO MAKE IT STAND FOR SOMETHING AND PUT AN ACTUAL DEFINITION BEHIND IT SO THEREFORE THOSE WHO REP IT ARE NOT REPPIN’ A SIGN…YOU’RE REPPIN’ SOMETHING THAT HAS A DEFINITION TO IT… OUR SLOGAN IS: BITE DOWN OR GET BIT WHICH ESSENTIALLY MEANS, “WIN OR LOSE”. – THA HOMIE JAI
Initially – E tha Turflord was the only artist on the label – while Tha Homie Jai handled the business aspects of the company. As music released and the label began to have an impact in the streets as well as online – other artists grew interested in joining the roster. In February 2014, Tha Homie Jai officially became an artist on the label as well. In a short span of time the label has managed to amass an impressive catalog.
Shark Livin’ is now home to nine (9) artists in Kentucky and Minnesota and is currently engaged in negotiations with two other artists that are considering joining the camp. In an era where rappers record music in their living rooms and upload the content to the internet directly – most have no interest in signing with a label. It speaks volumes that Shark Livin’ has no shortage of artists interested in joining their team. That suggests that their movement carries a lot of weight in the streets.
“It’s okay to follow, you just have to make sure that you’re following the right person. We are all followers. I looked up to people… I idolized people coming up…To this day, I take notes on certain people that I respect. It’s okay.” – Tha Homie Jai
Branding uniqueness is often something that stands out when promoting a product and Shark Livin’ has mastered that technique. The artists on the label have a distinct sound that is much different from the Pop style rap music that is popular with the today’s youth. SharkLivin’s sound is very reminiscent of the Bay area hip-hop music of the 90s that they were raised on.
Refusing to compromise their style by making the type of music that attracts major record label executives – Jai & “E” focus on remaining independent and producing the type of music that they love. Remaining true to themselves has allowed them to build a loyal and solid fanbase that spans throughout the Midwest. Their music is currently supported by fans in Louisville Ky, Akron and Youngstown OH, certain parts of Columbus and Canton OH, Kansas City, and Minnesota.
The label contributes a great amount of its success to producing quality music and heavy promotion. Since 2012, “E” has consistently dropped full-length projects that many consider local classics. With “E” initially being the only artist signed to the label – Jai spent a great deal of time promoting their product and organizing performance dates. Since Jai has now become a rapper himself – one would think that his promotion would decrease – but instead it has actually increased.
In a little over a year – Jai has managed to learn how to write songs, “ride a beat” and count musical bars. – This is in addition to performing his executive duties at the label. This persistent work ethic is what has catapulted Shark Livin’ Ent to the ranks of Louisville’s elite hip-hop labels.
“It’s not that I’m the hottest dude skill-wise, I became the hottest dude activity-wise… Because I believe that in order to stay relevant, you have to stay busy.” – Tha Homie Jai
On September 26, 2015 – Shark Livin’ Ent promoted the “Positivity over Poison” show at Club Pinky’s in Louisville. The concept originated from a hashtag that Jai would often post on social media sites. The term essentially means “Positive Over Negative”.
Most of the artists signed to SharkLivin’ Ent create explicit street music. However – one of their artists named Beanz Nation raps about positivity. Realizing that positive rappers rarely have an outlet to perform in the city – Shark Livin’ Ent decided to provide a platform for six positive rappers to display their talents on stage. Each artists was given ten minutes of performance time and the label also provided a professional photo shoot for the performers.
Shark Livin Ent plans to grow by sticking to their already proven formula of producing quality music and constant promotion. Tha Homie Jai offers these words of advice to anyone interested in entering the entertainment business:
“Stay open minded. Don’t be naive and don’t be hesitant to ask questions. Utilize social media… Twitter, Instagram, Facebook… It’s free promotion. It’s a way to reach the world at the palm of your hand while still maintaining your day to day activities…. Treat yourself like the product… Push yourself… Utilize the social media but do more of the media, less of the social… Promote… Promote… Promote… Don’t ever go a day without promoting… Support yourself because if you don’t support yourself they are not going to support you.” – Tha Homie Jai
There are several Shark Livin’ Ent projects available for purchase as well as upcoming projects on the way soon. Tha Homie Jai & E- Tha Turflord also are involved in a collaboration deal with Shoboat of Mactown Ent. For more information follow Tha Homie Jai & E-Tha Turflord on Facebook and @thahomiejai & @ethaturflord1 on Instagram.
Click the link to access the Let It Go video.