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Tom Silverman – Tommy Boy’s Founder

THIS MONTH’S FEATURE IS: TOM SILVERMAN ( TOMMY BOY RECORDS FOUNDER)
Tommy Boy Records was started by publishing entrepreneur Tom Silverman in his apartment in 1981. Striking gold with their debut, “Planet Rock”  by Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force, The Tommy Boy 12″ single sold more than 600,000 copies. Through this foundation Tommy Boy Records became the home of artists who were innovative and setting trends, not imitating them. The label went on to earn more than 75 gold and platinum awards, housing some of hip-hop’s most critically-acclaimed artists including De La Soul, Prince Paul, Naughty By Nature, House Of Pain, Queen Latifah, Capone-N-Noreaga and Coolio. Since March 2002, Tom Silverman has been operating Tommy Boy independently with offices in New York City. His most current project is HIP HOP ROOTS.

INTERVIEW
We had the pleasure of interviewing one of the great Pioneers in this Business.
ENJOY BELOW!

If I’m correct, you started this whole thing back in 1978 with a Disco Newsletter called “Disco News”? How did that come about?
TOM SILVERMAN

For people who don’t know, school them on what the T-connection was.
TOM SILVERMAN

That must have been pretty exciting back then with all that raw format. What were those days like?
TOM SILVERMAN

Tommy Boy Records pretty much fueled the whole Breaker/ B-Boy Movement.
TOM SILVERMAN

I was a breakdancer here on the Westcoast so I grew up on all that.That whole era was the shit! Those were some of the best times of my life. That music brought such a spark inside that it just gave tremendous energy to do those moves. My favorites back in the day were Renegadez of funk, Looking For the Perfect Beat, Planet Rock, all the Egyptian lover stuff.
TOM SILVERMAN

In the begginning of it all, what was your vision? I mean you’re pretty much included as a pioneer in this whole thing.
TOM SILVERMAN

So after the Electro-Boogie era you took Tommy Boy to the next level by signing acts like Queen Latifah,
De La Soul, Digital Underground, House of Pain, and Naughty By Nature—all of whose debut albums went platinum.
Here’s where I’m confused. You later sold your entire catalog to Warner Brothers?
So Tommy Boy, The name is still yours correct?
TOM SILVERMAN

With today’s current state of Hip Hop, what would you like to see change for it to progress?
TOM SILVERMAN

Let’s talk about your latest project: HIP HOP ROOTS. How did you go about deciding to put this record out?
I mean did you get together with Jazzy Jay and say “hey we gotta do this? How did you go about it?
TOM SILVERMAN

How many songs did you originally start to choose from to get down to the 12 songs?
Was it a long process to get down to the 12?
TOM SILVERMAN

Do you have a favorite? Is there a particular one that stands out to you?
TOM SILVERMAN

Yup I did.
TOM SILVERMAN

You know what would be cool is to see a tour or something where old school cats (like Kool Herc, Africa Bambaata, and others)..come out with some of the new school cats and use this record for a show or something. Get artists involved.
It could be huge!– HIP HOP ROOTS THE TOUR. See how it all began.
TOM SILVERMAN

I think Just outta respect Today’s artists should hop on board.
TOM SILVERMAN

Do you think proper credit is given to the ones who paved the way for hip hop and what it is today?
Like the Kool Hercs, the Egyptian Lovers, the Curtis Blows, etc..?
TOM SILVERMAN

When will we see that come out?
TOM SILVERMAN

So What other projects are in the pipe for you?
You got anymore tricks up your sleeve?
TOM SILVERMAN

What’s your input on the internet? positives and negatives?
TOM SILVERMAN

Any last words ?
TOM SILVERMAN

Tom Silverman summarizes, “I believe that the strength of Hip Hop over 26 years unlike any other kind of music has been its inclusive nature. Rather than be elitist or separatist, Hip Hop is accepting and absorbing of outside influences. African, Latin, Disco, Funk, or the corniest Pop or soundtracks were accepted and made the genre stronger just as America is made strong by its confluence of cultures and rainbow of peoples.”