Published on January 9th, 2019 | by Jerry Doby0
Behind the Scenes Profile: Who is Michael Caseau and YOUNG ‘N GRATEFUL?
Back Story – Michael Caseau built himself from nothing, as a homeless teen making his relationships from the street and eating the throwaway food at the local 7-11 and Dunkin’ Donuts’ stores. Abandoned by his mother due to as he claims, “alcohol abuse, depression and refuge of a man who controlled her.” Surprisingly, Michael did not become another teen statistic due to the more common than not, syndrome of a “broken home, drug abuse or prison.” After years as a homeless youth struggling to find a job, dabbling in activities not necessarily legal, and making some life or death decisions he altered his course which led him to carve out a position as an independent music executive. Michael loved music for more than the music, rather the culture—stating:
“Music kept me connected to news, fashion, politics and of course, the sound and how it was assembled. All of these aspects would be an anxiety reliever for me through the struggle. That’s what led me to want to do ‘music,’ I felt the process was therapeutic more than anything. I have a lot of deep emotional cuts, and scars to show for it. But I needed to learn what to do to make it happen-curiosity was always my biggest asset when it came to business. Being an artist was what I set out to do…”
Through his process and desire to be an artist, Michael ended up becoming his own A&R, producer, songwriter, motivator, and executive developing into the person he always wanted to be and eventually became. In New York City, Michael became an underground playmaker, building relationships beyond that of an industry plant, or the quintessential “Hype Beast.” As an ear to the streets, irrevocably known as a connector and “plug,” now he’s here. Caseau has positioned himself and his imprint YOUNG ‘N GRATEFUL into a growing presence in the New York music scene.
As the name implies, being young and grateful is purely that. Youth is what many strive to maintain, being grateful many fail to affirm. The building blocks regarding socioeconomic evolution and innovation by governments, people, companies and even as far as war propaganda can be heavily standardized by way of the “young,” and the “youth” as a primary fundamental when implementing change for good or bad. Through evolution, being young is a mindset that fuels innovation, relationships and moral. In society—being grateful for the time, life and love is a way of life; a habit of mental conditioning that will aid in harboring what we already have—opportunity, ability, power, strength, and wisdom. Caseau set out to be an artist from day one, now he’s ready to segue out of being an independent music executive to full a time artist and producer.
Part of Caseau’s story includes signing Riff Raff to a venture deal with Executive Production credits; The Pink Panther tour; appearing in the “Wait a Minute” (Remix) video featuring Riff; and several albums later; Developing and co-managing Phresher since April of 2016—the Young ‘N Grateful management extension; label and media company founded by Caseau aided Phresher to reach new pinnacles. On December 05, 2017, Eminem revealed to the public that his new album would be available just 10 days later with Phresher listed on track number three. Serving as the only Hip-Hop/Rap feature on Eminem’s new album, Phresher now shares album space with Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, X Ambassadors, Kehlani, P!nk and Skylar Grey. The album has 11 Billboard number ones, eight domestically and three internationally, which Michael shares merit in. From a homeless teen, and starting his Grateful empire, blooming into an eleven time Billboard number one recipient is no small feat by any means.
Regarding Eminem and the release of Revival, Michael states:
“Sometimes you do not need to pick up from where you left off. Sometimes you need to break everything down that you knew and start from the bottom, re-program and re-think. It’s brilliant and in-genius that Em’ is re-stacking his chips to provide something so different and off the beaten path—it allows future offerings to only become better as the fan’s expectancy to deliver starts in a different place every time. That takes a lot of stress off the artist and also the fans, allowing the fans to fall back in love with Eminem organically through the building process. We think that’s a sign of a very strong and intelligent artist; as an artist, you also have to understand the business around selling music, not just the artistry—also, the psychology of the people, the fans both new and pre-existing; the multi-genre/sub-genre hip hop fans that really like one specific style or another. I applaud Em’ for taking chances, considering the majority of this album doesn’t totally match his previous sound.”
…..Not only have millions of fans now listened to Phresher and given his artistry a new platform, but he is also now taken more seriously with his counterparts. This seal of approval is more than a co-sign—the Young ‘N Grateful methodology, and mission really comes through.”
“We took an artist working for years, about seven—where Phresher was perfecting his craft with little to no traction. Since the inception of our relationship and my company, he has gone from a come up with Designer to features from 50 Cent, Remy Ma, Cardi B, and Royce Da 5’9, and now going to the shelves of major retailer’s on Eminem’s newest most recent album in a twenty-month time span. Now that Revival has charted number one Billboard’s top 200 chart, in addition to seven more charts in total; and sold 265,000 copies in it’s first week, I am extremely grateful I am permanently apart of Hip Hop history. Phresher stylistically does not match Eminem’s sound, but it’s Phresher’s personality that shines through. Phresh was the underdog when I met him, however, we did something monumental in terms of independent artistry. I am very proud of our work, to say the least. I truly cannot wait for our plaques if that were to come.”
Michael’s role with Phresher:
“Kashaun Rameek Rutling (born May 16, 1989), known professionally as Phresher (stylized as PHresher), is an American rapper from Brooklyn, New York. He is of Trinidadian descent, and is best known for the singles “Wait a Minute” featuring Remy Ma and “Right Now” featuring Cardi B. “Wait a Minute” has since amassed over 17 million views on YouTube due to the early discovery, management and executive production of Michael Caseau for The Young ‘N Grateful Group; responsible for artist development, strategic planning and viral growth of Phresher and the singles. Following the April 2016 inception of Young ‘N Grateful, Phresher’s second most notable highlight was his 2017 feature on Eminem’s song “Chloraseptic”. In 2018, a remixed version of Chloraseptic was released featuring 2 Chainz.”
Around 2010, Phresher started to release singles, EPs and music videos onto the internet, which saw minor success. In 2016, his single “Wait a Minute” was pitched to the YouTube global music team by The Young ‘N Grateful Group, becoming an instant success. Following “Wait a Minute” receiving several million views, the video caught the attention of rapper 50 Cent, who later appeared on a remix of the song along with rapper Remy Ma. The song appeared as a bonus cut on the DJ Whoo Kid mixtape Lost Flash Drive and released on G-Unit Records. Rapper Royce da 5’9″ also put forth a freestyle remix over “Wait a Minute.” Following Royce promoting the remix via social media, Eminem made a notable mention of the freestyle. Eminem’s heavy revere as to Royce’s wordplay ultimately led the Detroit rapper to become interested in Phresher.
In 2017, Phresher’s management duo Jay Andino and MichaelCaseau had become sought after by Shady Records staff; initially, to aid in production for the upcoming Revival album. After several hundred instrumentals were sent by the Young ‘N Grateful collective to no avail – Caseau suggested to Shady Records A&R’s, stating:
“Phresher collaborating with Em’ could give that same platform and vibe Royce gave on the remix. Instead of using a similar beat, we just need any beat with him on it to recreate the energy, not the sound design.”
Thereafter, Caseau worked closely with Shady Record’s A&Rs. In 2017, Eminem’s long-time manager Paul Rosenberg contacted Andino, stating Eminem had interest in collaborating with Phresher. Eminem’s mix engineer flew to New York to meet with Phresher to record “Chloraseptic,” listed as track No. 3 on Revival.
Phresher spoke about the collaboration, stating:
“When I first heard that he wanted me on the project, I was astonished. I didn’t believe anything until they actually flew in and recorded the record. That’s when I was like, ‘Oh! This is real.’ It was about two months ago, three the most. That was just amazing, man. We met in the studio. That was just crazy.