Before Multi-Hyphenate Hitmaka Became A Music Label Executive, He Was Dropped By DMX's Label As A Teen
Photo Credit: Carmen Mandato

Before Multi-Hyphenate Hitmaka Became A Music Label Executive, He Was Dropped By DMX's Label As A Teen

Hitmaka’s story just might be the epitome of divine timing.

In fact, the heavy hitter producer, whose real name is Christian J. Ward, first hit the scene at age 14 when he signed to Bloodline Records — the music label headed by the late legendary DMX.

At the time, the aspiring artist — who now holds the title of Vice President of A&R at EMPIRE — was operating under the stage name Iceberg.

Where It All Began

“I started out at the age of 14, 13,” Hitmaka told AfroTech. “I got my deal with DMX. Then, from there I lost my deal. I [was] grinding hard and moved to LA and was working with people like Troy Carter, Jay Irvin, working and doing a bunch of writing as an artist under them.”

Life Lessons From DMX

Despite his short-lived time under DMX’s label, Hitmaka says that he learned a lot from the person who many (myself included) deem to be Hip-Hop royalty.

“The biggest advice DMX ever gave me was to always create with passion,” said the 37-year-old entertainer. “Create from a purpose. Create — and say something to people. Don’t just go in and talk shit for no reason. You can do that at times, but make sure you have balancing music and feed something to their soul.”

From Artist to Producer

After his exit from Bloodline Records, the “Hype Beast” song maker knew that he had to do what needed to be done to turn his situation around.

Soon, he would release his hit single “Sexy Lady” while signed as a recording artist under Epic Records.

And, the rest was history.

“From there, I stopped being an artist, I started producing and I got my job with Atlantic Records. Then, from Atlantic, I went to Empire, and that’s where I’m at now.”

Longevity In A Cut Throat Industry

He credits his longevity in an industry that has been known to chew people up and spit them back out to being consistent and not being afraid to grow.

“The secret to my longevity in the music business is just hard work, dedication, and keeping God first. I think that’s the most important thing when you own your journey — you got to know where you want to go and you got to know that the hard work is only going to take you to where you got to go.”

Today, under yet another moniker — Hitmaka — he is happy to know that he has something to do with those who wish to make music due to his own personal journey.

“I’m just excited to be able to be an example to up-and-coming producers and songwriters and guys that want to be executives,” said Hitmaka.

What's Next?

As he celebrates his accomplishments and keeps going, Grammy-nominated Hitmaka says he’s just continuing to live life with no regrets.

“The journey is the most important part of this whole process,” he shared with AfroTech. “I think a lot of people lose sight of the journey, and it is the most important part. I would like to teach people to not make crucial mistakes to where they can be detrimental, but I think it’s all a part of the journey.”