Apple, Larry Jackson, And The $1 Billion: The Machine Helping Program Sexxy Red

Apple, Larry Jackson, And The $1 Billion: The Machine Helping Program Sexxy Red


(Left to Right) Gamma co-founder Ike Youssef (photo: LinkedIn), Sexx Red (photo: Instagram), Gamma Records co-founder Larry Jackson (photo: Instagram)

Rapper Sexxy Red seemingly popped up from nowhere. The 25-year-old St. Louis native started rhyming after writing a song about her boyfriend cheating on her. But she first jumped on most people’s radar when she went viral in 2018 for reworking pop singer Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on her track “Ah Thousand Jugs.” By 2022, she was collaborating with singer Summer Walker on the controversial music video “Sense Dat God Gave You.” Sexy Redd saw a mainstream breakthrough after she released the single “Pound Town” (with producer Tay Keith) in January 2023. Sexxy Redd is part of the raunchy female rapper’s movement — or as veteran rapper Lord Jamar calls it, “whore culture” — and she is getting backlash.

Complaints followed after she made an appearance at a St. Louis high school. Though she reportedly did not perform, many parents complained due to the nature of her music, saying she was not a role model for the young students.

But what is the engine pushing Sexxy Red to the forefront?

While Sexyy Red remains signed to Rebel Music, her first debut project, “Hood Hottest Princess,” was released through Open Shift Distribution and Gamma Records. Chicago-based Gamma Records is an independent record label founded by former Apple Music executive Larry Jackson, 42, and connected to artists like Snoop Dogg, Usher, and Rick Ross.

Recently, Billboard named Jackson hip-hop record executive of the year and published an interview titled “With Gamma, Larry Jackson Is Putting $1 Billion to Work for Black Culture.” Some might find the title ironic since many claim the new lineup of over-sexualized females like Sexxy Red is damaging the Black culture.

Gamma launched with $1 billion in financing to work “in particular and acutely on Black culture,” Jackson said. The new label is being funded primarily by Todd Boehly’s Eldridge Industries (a stakeholder in Billboard parent company PMC) and Gamma also acquired music technology company Vydia. Gamma also received financing from Apple and indie film studio A24. 

Jackson cut his music industry teeth at age 11 as a radio station assistant at KMEL, a popular hip-hop radio station in San Francisco. Then he worked under veteran Clive Davis, who hired Jackson at J Records when Jackson was still a teenager.

Jackson has been Apple Music’s global creative director, a role he left in September 2020 to concentrate on gamma. Sept. 19. He joined the tech giant in 2014 following its acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics, Variety reported.

Since Apple is one of the backers of Gamma, most likely, they will aid the company in promotions of such artists as Sexxy Red.

Jackson, who had held senior positions at RCA and J Records as well as Interscope before joining Apple, officially announced gamma in March. He described the company as a multi-platform, multi-faceted business “that will see him acquiring or joining forces with major artists and brands, with endeavors in music, films, merchandise, fashion, web3, and other areas,” Variety reported. The company was co-founded with former Interscope CFO Ike Youssef.

(Left to Right) Gamma co-founder Ike Youssef (photo: LinkedIn), Sexx Red (photo: Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/CvqShpGM-Jj/?hl=en), Gamma Records co-founder Larry Jackson (photo: Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/larryjackson/?hl=en).