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Craig King and Branden Criss: The masterminds of Atlanta’s Rap Plug

(photo credit: DeWayne Rogers for Steed Media)


Rap Plug is a web-based community that consists of artist, labels, producers, entrepreneurs and more. It empowers, educates, connects and equips its community by providing users with access to content, resources and products that will help them become more successful as they grow. Rolling out sat down with the founders to find out why Atlanta was the perfect place to launch.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of Rap Plug?

Branden Criss: We knew that there was a void in the marketplace and that we both [came] from different sides of the music industry. Craig being iconic in what he does as a producer and consultant, and I wanting to help people understand how to get into the industry, but not knowing the “plug,” or who to talk to.   

Even though Rap Plug has a global connectivity to it, was Atlanta the perfect place for it to be created?

BC: Yes! I literally moved to Atlanta for this moment. I moved to meet Craig to collaborate and build Rap Plug. I really felt like Atlanta was the only place that I could go that would actually embrace and understand who I was as an entrepreneur, as well as what I was trying to build.

Do you feel like the infrastructure of Atlanta supports and encourages Black entrepreneurs?

Craig King: One hundred percent. It supports, embraces, advocates and politically aligns with Black businesses.  

BC: I agree 100 percent. Coming from Cincinnati and moving here, there really wasn’t a support system for a lot of Black minority-owned businesses, or Black people to be entrepreneurs.  [In] Atlanta you feel [like] there is an opportunity for you to grow and be good. They want you to be excellent and great. 

What was the moment when you fell in love in with the city of Atlanta?

BC: [My] moment [was] my first experience [in] downtown Atlanta [one] summer. [It] was full of people and families. It was colorful, bright and Black. I felt like I was home with my people. I was overwhelmed by the fact [that] it was so many Black people having fun without drama, shooting and negativity. It was just fun; it was life.   

CK: One day it hit me that the fluidity of my deal-making here is better than any other city I had lived in. People were literally helping me make money and that was unique and exceptional, especially for our people. So, Atlanta built its way into my heart and I didn’t even see it coming.

What about Atlanta do you feel makes it a Black mecca?

BC: The uniqueness. I can [go] to an underground event that is totally different from a corporate event. You can be uniquely you and still be great. That to me is dope. When you come to Atlanta, you can be you. 

Rap Plug is available on Google Play and Apple Store. Instagram or Twitter @therealrapplug.