Kevin Liles is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of 300 Elektra Entertainment, which is owned by Warner Music Group and headquartered in New York. He began his career at Island Def Jam Music Group in 1991, working in various roles including artist promotion, new market development, and regional management.
Liles recently attended the 7th annual Atlanta Cigar Week where he accepted the Trailblazer award.
Liles spoke with rolling out about his career, his love for cigars, Young Thug, and the YSL RICO trial.
How are you feeling at this moment?
I’m glad that this is their seventh year and I’m honored to be awarded with the Trailblazer award, but more importantly, I’m just glad I woke up today and get to do it again. God’s been good to me, and I just want to always celebrate Black excellence, celebrate our culture, and keep smoking.
Has hip-hop influenced you personally?
I believe hip-hop saved my life. I’ve been doing it for 39 years now, and I’ve had the opportunity to deal with a lot of great artists in my life. To see them grow up to be great men, great fathers, great mothers, and great people who continue to push our culture forward, it’s a blessing to celebrate 50 years.
How have cigars helped you close deals?
It helps me get through the deal with all the lawyer craziness and everything. If a kid wants to know about growing up, what it looks like, and how you can still be a young, fly, and dope boy fresh; I introduce them to it and I’ll continue to do so because it’s something I love.
What are your thoughts on Young Thug and the YSL RICO trial?
When you talk about Young Thug, that’s my brother. I look at him as a son. I look at him as not an artist, I look at him as a human being. To go through what he’s going through right now, based on lyrics, based off of these charges that I think are unfair to Black and Brown people. I pray for him and his family every day. I pray for his kids who now don’t have their father in their life. Like I said before, there are so many other things around the world with people committing so many different crimes. With him being behind bars without bail is a catastrophe to me. I hope that Georgia understands they have a human being behind bars who’s contributed so much to Atlanta.
How does Atlanta Cigar Week impact the Black and Brown community?
We support local businesses, the owner is someone who put a beautiful place in a city that doesn’t have a lot of great things but they have great people. Our job is to support those people who take the risk to build special days. Shout-out to Atlanta Cigar Week, I love everything that they do, and I’ll continue to support them.