A dream fit for a ‘Royal’: Student goes to great lengths to create his own record label

Junior business major Alonzo Gordon has hurtled some obstacles in his quest to found his record label, Loyal and Royal Entertainment.

Rashard Cunningham

Junior business major Alonzo Gordon has hurtled some obstacles in his quest to found his record label, Loyal and Royal Entertainment.

Junior business major Alonzo Gordon wanted so badly to fulfill his dream of making it in the music industry that he was willing to risk jail time for it.

Earlier this year, he stole hats from his then-employer and sold them on the side, pocketing the cash to fund his record label, then still a pipe dream. Then he got caught, arrested and fired. His father paid $2,000 to get the charges cleared from his record.

Despite what would be a scared-honest moment for anyone, Gordon remains pragmatic about the situation.

“It’s bittersweet because it’s not like it’s on my record,” he said. “At the same time it contributed to where I am (today).”

Now Gordon, 21, is dedicated to succeeding as a recording artist and founder of Loyal and Royal Entertainment – and he’s added that on top of an already busy schedule, as a DJ for 91.3 WBNY and a staff member of BSC-TV on campus, as well as a career in the military. If you walk through the Union Quad during Bengal Pause, chances are you’ll see him and his team promoting their brand.

Gordon became interested in music in his freshman year of high school, when he began playing around with making beats on his computer. The interest was clearly hereditary, as his mother performed with artists like Salt-n-Pepa and Queen Latifah and was close to getting her own record deal, until she became pregnant with Alonzo and joined the Army. She even has a spot on one of his songs, titled “Angel.”

“I don’t want to say that I stopped her dream, but I did come into the picture,” Gordon said. “She put me first which was obviously good but I feel like her music got into me.

“She comes to me when I record songs in the studio all the time and she promotes my albums. She’s highly involved. I owe my mom so much and I feel like I’ve got to do it.”

With her blessing, Gordon has gone on to DJ at venues including Pure Nightclub and Noir Ultra Lounge. He’s also produced his own music and created his own stage name, Zolo, taking inspiration for his music from Drake and Wale, among others.

In 2010 he finally launched his label, signing classmates Anthony “Lyricist” Brown in 2012 and Earl “Robo” Waller in 2013. They will be releasing albums this October, along with Gordon himself, and reacted largely positively when Gordon first approached them.

“There were a few conflicts but we got past them,” Gordon said. “They saw I was doing big things and wanted to be a part of the movement.”

Brown said his new album, “’Bout Dat Time,” is comparable to J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. He writes more about issues and politics while Waller creates more party music.

“I would say that I’m more of a MC than a rapper because an MC has more knowledge to spit than bull crap,” said Brown. “Rappers tend to spit a lot of bull crap.”

Brown is given musical freedom under LRE and is grateful for that, as he writes all of his own music. Much of it is influenced by artists like the soulful Erykah Badu an old school rap like Wu Tang Clan.

“I could come out with a party song one day or a song that will make you cry another day,” he said. “Or I could come out with a song for a commercial one day.”

All of this sounds like a dream come true, but Gordon is far from living the high life. With working part time jobs, being in the Army and going to school full time, he’s hard pressed to find time and money to pursue his dreams.

He started working at Sonic when he was 15 — which is illegal in South Carolina, where he grew up. Now he supports himself by working part time at Foot Locker and selling his music on his Web site. He also joined the military in 2010 to pay for college.

“I spent money on studio time as opposed to paying my rent one time,” he said. “I took it that serious and I still take it serious.

“I have to have this. I leave myself no option.”

Gordon has expressed interest in expanding his horizons, not only with his own music but in signing talent as well. He said he is open to signing country and alternative artists in addition to rap and hip-hop – and he’s also looking to sign more female artists.

“I want to attract a diverse group of fans,” he said. “Not everybody is going to like my music or (Brown’s) music, but as a family under one label, we can reach everybody. And I feel like women do know more in certain areas than we do.”

Although he has considered quitting because of a lack of money and time, Gordon has reached many high points too. He has thousands of views on his YouTube videos, including his audition tape for hosting BET’s “106 & Park,” which has over 126,000 views (unfortunately, he lost to Bow Wow).

He also reached out to the same producer who worked with Eminem, and ever since, Gordon has been recording all of his songs with him. Because of this, he says, he has also been pursued by the labels of Master P Romeo and Soulja Boy.

Now Gordon is working on promoting his label and working on albums in the studio. He is currently trying to get the Vice Presidents of Def Jam Records and Interscope Records to speak publicly at Buffalo State.

“I wanted to be unselfish,” Gordon said on creating the record label. “I know that I’m going to make it but when I do, I don’t want to be at the top by myself. I want to share my wealth with a group of people that I trust, that are just as dedicated as I am.”

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