Be on the lookout for this cats upcoming projects

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Jun 27, 2002
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got a chance to meet and speak with this cat about his future plans for Bay Area rap and he's got some big plans for shit...ran into him in SF Union Square while out getting off copies of the CD (see the sig)

Ex-con poised to run Bay Area rap industry
Oakland Tribune, Jan 22, 2006 by Kamika Dunlap, STAFF WRITER


OAKLAND -- Having just cut a $100 million deal with Universal/ Fontana, Michael McCant -- already labeled by some as the "P. Diddy" of the West Coast -- is poised to become the Bay Area's prime entertainment and music mogul.

And the 44-year-old businessman is confident his varied experiences have prepared him to fulfill his dream.

"I overcame so much adversity and what most people are destroyed by," McCant said. "It's a challenge to get up and to achieve more than I did the day before."

His contract with Fontana Distribution, the independent music division of Universal Music Group, has positioned McCant to reach new heights.

He is president and CEO of his own record label, Billionaire Catt Entertainment -- distributed by Universal/Fontana. Currently, 17 music artists from around the country are signed to the label.

Billionaire Catt Entertainment recently partnered with the Platform Group record label to sign Imani Walker, a young emerging rap artist from South Central Los Angeles. He is the first act from the label with a new single, "The Hood Made Me," scheduled to hit the radio in upcoming weeks.
Michael is a visionary," said Akbar Shamji, CEO of the Platform Group. "The Platform Group doesn't have any urban labels, and he painted a picture that we wanted to be a part of."

Compared with what he has had to overcome in the past, McCant's newest challenge may not even be his toughest.

In 1980, he was arrested for armed robbery and shot 10 times, sustaining seven broken bones. McCant was sentenced to 11 years -- part of which he spent wheelchair-bound.

During his time in prison he rethought his life and learned how to walk again. He also grew stronger in his faith in God and read dozens of real estate books to plan for the day he could make a new start.

In 1996, he was released from prison with only $250 in his pocket. Trying to pursue a real estate license with a federal conviction on his record wasn't easy. But eventually, his determination and positive attitude helped him achieve his dream of becoming a real estate entrepreneur.

"I believe in my abilities to overcome anything," said McCant. "Prison didn't make me. God made me."

Today, the self-made multimillionaire has commercial and residential properties in San Francisco, Marin County and on the East Coast. Some of his business partners include Ben Hom, real estate broker and former San Francisco mayoral candidate, and the An Family, owners of Thanh Long and Crustacean Euro Vietnamese restaurant chain.

McCant said remembering life growing up poor in Newark, N.J., and being raised along with four siblings by his mother keeps him humble.

"Money is strictly a convenience," said McCant. "People make money. Money doesn't make me."

McCant lives in San Francisco with his wife of nine years and their three children. He is an avid chess player -- McCant says he hasn't lost a game in 12 years. It's a sign he is learning how to master life, McCant said, noting he would have reached his goals sooner if it wasn't for his rap sheet.

Newly signed rap artist Walker says his life was headed down a similar criminal path. Before he caught his musical break, Walker was a member of the Bloods street gang.

He also is the grandson of Junior Walker of Motown's Junior Walker and the All-Stars, who recorded the party hits "Shotgun" and "Do the Boomerang."

"I think it's a blessing that I'm finally discovered," said Walker, 21. "Michael is like a father figure to me. His advice is priceless."

McCant moved from New Jersey to the Bay Area 25 years ago. He lived in East Oakland for a few years, where he met the late rapper Tupac Shakur as a youngster. McCant said he recognized Shakur's talent back then and was proud he became one of the highest selling hip-hop artists.

Before running his record label, McCant was involved in the music industry as a concert promoter. He has promoted shows across the country, including rap group Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow and the Fat Boys, he said.

A music aficionado, McCant enjoys all genres of music. His all- time favorite artists are Karen Carpenter, Tupac Shakur and Stevie Wonder.

He hopes his deal with Universal/Fontana will help increase the Bay Area's presence on the national music and entertainment scene.

"I will bring the Bay Area into focus as far as our artistic capabilities," McCant said.

Billionaire Catt Entertainment plans to expand its label by developing rock, Latin and Reggaeton divisions. The company also has a budget to produce films.

McCant is determined to change the music industry with his record label. He knows his persistence will help him do that.

I'm going to be on top," he said. "I have so many positive things going in my direction, and I will take the Bay Area with me."