Paranoid at Best: A Conversation With Jordan Hollywood

jordan hollywood
Photo Credit - Travis Shinn

Jordan Hollywood is a made man in his city. He just purchased a home approximately five minutes away from his old high school with no intention of leaving Broward County anytime soon. “This is the most comfortable place in the world for me,” he shares. There’s no place like home, but closer examination reveals that Jordan prioritizes loyalty above all else. With an in-house approach to his business, the QC (Quality Control Music) rep would rather put on someone from his city before extending opportunities elsewhere: a hometown hero by the definition. 

Anxieties of the unknown often cloud his judgment, contributing to Jordan’s ever-skeptical mentality. And yet, those same feelings of uneasiness have afforded him the opportunity to resonate with fans on a more personal level. Yes, Jordan Hollywood struggles with paranoia, but that hasn’t stopped his growth — he’s learning how to outlive his problems. 

Ahead of his new album, Only The Paranoid Survive, the Floridian rapper, songwriter, producer, and CEO (The Wasted Youth) has released a string of singles (“The Ugly Song,” “PLEASURES”) that flex his pen and personality. The success Jordan envisions for his future is branded by new opportunities, new ventures, and new dreams. His prowess as a CEO and artist is rooted in his unique ability to be prepared for just about anything. “When you have a lot of responsibilities you gotta be super strategic about everything.”

Through music, Jordan blends witty punchlines and vulnerable verses to help tell his story. The emotion he spills on wax derives from years of self-preservation, mirroring the survival tactics learned overtime. And though his reticence is often misconstrued for disinterest, Jordan remains apprehensive about what’s next. But that’s just how he’s wired, paranoid at best.

Where are you in the world at the moment? 

Broward County, Florida, man. 

You were born there, right? 

Yeah. I never left. 

What’s keeping you from leaving home?

This world is so stressful, bro. The shit that we do, this industry that we’re in, it’s so stressful. Ain’t no place like home. As an artist, you travel a lot and do different things. When I lay my head down, I want to be comfortable. This is the most comfortable place in the world for me. I know this place like no other, like the back of my hand. I know the best places to eat, I know where the vibes at, I know where to go. I don’t wanna leave. I tried to live in LA one time and I came right back. 

It’s the idea of being comfortable that’s keeping you around?

To be honest with you, I can’t tell you exactly what it is. I can try, but it’s just the energy that’s keeping me here. I wanna be here. I don’t wanna be anywhere else. I’ve been on tour, I’ve been to every city in the freaking country. There’s beautiful places out there where I’d be cool being there for a short period of time. I just bought a crib probably five minutes from the high school I went to. 

You’re a bonafide hometown hero in a sense. Most people tend to get a bag and leave, but you stayed.

In Broward, I’m from a city called Davie. Me and my bro James White, I like to say that we are the two heroes. James White, he plays for the New England Patriots. We from the same spot. When it comes to Broward, when it comes to heroes, I gotta get back to Kodak, XXX (rest in peace), those are the two, for me. I’ve made more money for other people in this city than anybody, though. There’s people that might change someone’s life through music, but I’ve made careers out of this city. My studio is in Sunrise, it’s in the heart of Broward County. In that studio alone, I probably have 15 people that I’ve given careers to that are made men out of the city. When I wanna sign somebody or do business with them, I’m looking here before I look anywhere else. 

How does it feel to be entrusted with such a huge responsibility? That’s a heavy burden to carry, especially since it’s self-imposed. 

If I can find somebody talented that’s from here, off rip, we have an advantage because you got two people from the same place that got the same interest, and we grew up around the same environments. It’s the American dream for music, bro: to do it where you’re from, stay there, and not turn your back on your people.

But is that Jordan Hollywood’s dream, though? 

We gotta put an “s” on the end of that. I used to have one dream, but now I have a few. I wanna see my son grow up to be the best man ever. I wanna be happy. That’s a dream of mine. I got dream cars, dream houses, know what I’m saying. I wanna be the biggest CEO in the world. I wanna be the biggest rapper. It’s so many times I start new ventures. I go from being an artist, to being a producer, to being a songwriter, to having my own label — we just started our own production company called Bounce House, we only sign producers to it now — that’s another big goal of mine. 

That’s a lot of busy work. How do you manage your time on a daily basis? 

Working everyday, that’s an art. The last couple of years, I wasn’t as good at it as I am now. Now, I’m more strategic. My son’s about to turn two in January. He gets out of daycare at 4 o’clock, he goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m., so from 4 o’clock to 7:30 p.m., I’m a dad. From 7:30 p.m. until the end of the day, I’m an artist. When I wake up early in the morning (depending on the night before) and I get on this computer, I’m a CEO. When I’m closing deals and I’m on this phone, from 9:30 a.m. until about 4 p.m., I’m in business mode. 

Has fatherhood changed you? 

My son was born on New Years. As the ball was dropping, the doctor was drinking fake champagne. It was a lot going on, bro. My son was one of the first kids born in 2020. That alone was God talking to me. During the pandemic, I was very stressed about having a kid and being able to balance my career because at that time I was supposed to drop an album, I had just got off tour with Lil Baby, and then it happened. When you’re on tour, you’re at the highest peak of rockstardom that you can achieve as an artist. Tour is where you become a rockstar. I came off tour a savage – drinking everyday, enjoying my life – to being a dad, and that shit scared me, bro. It’s like, this is amazing because no one can make me feel guilty about staying home and raising my kid. Before, I was worried about not being there for my son because I had to travel a lot. When the pandemic came, it’s like no one can be mad at me for staying home now.

Are you a natural introvert? 


As an artist, you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and relaying a message to complete strangers. Does that ever feel overwhelming? 

I deal with it everyday. You’ll never get past it, bro. I’ve always been like that. In the studio, I have four control rooms. When I’m in there, I gotta be able to get away. Sometimes, I just need my fucking alone time. I come up with the best ideas when I’m alone. When I’m with my boys, that’s when I execute them. It’s tough, though. I ain’t gon’ lie, being an artist is hard. 

You make it look easy, though. Personally, I think people exhibit the best growth when they are challenged. 

When you have a lot of responsibilities you gotta be super strategic about everything. I got people that depend on me to keep their business in order. I got a family to provide for. If I was just an artist out here making music, living wild, that would be cool. When you’re strategic and lock in on everything you get more success. I want things to happen the right way. 

But if you’re busy making sure everyone else is taken care of, who’s taking care of Jordan? 

Bro, I tell people that all the time. To be real, it’s tough. It gets hard. Sometimes you gotta check on yourself. I saw Pee (Quality Control Music, CEO) tweet the other day, “Sometimes you gotta give yourself a pat on the back.” I loved that. He motivates me from afar. Sometimes, Ion even gotta talk to him. I feel like I connect with that man so much. When I see certain things, I break it down and try to understand what it really means. Ion like to say or do shit unless it has real meaning.

You have a lot of respect for Pee and it shows.

Him and Coach K, for sure. They’re equally responsible for a lot of stuff. 

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working with them? 

Having a front row seat to watch QC become the biggest label. When I got signed, they had a bunch of artists before me: QC had like 15 artists signed to them at one point. They cleaned house and it was basically Yachty and The Migos. Around that time, The Migos had a deal with 300 – they didn’t have ‘Bad and Boujee,’ Culture hadn’t come out. I had record deal offers from some of the biggest labels and I went with QC because I believed in what they were doing. I had a front row seat to watch Lil Baby get signed, to watch the City Girls come in. When Coach K came to Miami (to sign the City Girls), he called me looking for a studio to have a meeting with them. I just watched how he interacted with them and sold the vision. They gave me my bag and I signed artists the same way. To watch Coach K sit in a meeting and sign the City Girls and mold them into who they are today, it’s insane. These girls are superstars. That motivates the fuck outta me. I have a female artist right now, and she’s a fucking star. 

How do you play your role as an artist and CEO? There’s a clear distinction between the two positions. 

Never turn off the swag. I never turn it off. I smoke my blunt before I got into meetings. I dress the way I dress while being a CEO. I think what has allowed me to help a lot of people is that I’m a cool person to work with. If you have a chance to do business with a guy that’s a cool artist versus the nerdy manager that comes in and has no swag, it’s an easy choice. I don’t change who I am based on my title.

Talk to me about your upcoming project, Only The Paranoid Survive. Contrary to popular belief, paranoia isn’t always a bad thing. It keeps you focused. 

It’s a crazy world we live in. It’s not just about how dangerous the world is, it’s about how dangerous business can be, too. I’m more paranoid about business than anything. There’s kids that have signed deals without lawyers, bro. The first deal I was ever offered, I was like 17 years old. I called my parents, I called everybody like, “Yo, we need to get some money for a lawyer.” I’m paranoid about entering into an agreement that’s going to fuck my life up. I’m scared to hang out with a kid that’s a liability and if we get pulled over he got some shit on ‘em that’s gon’ send both of us to jail. I’m scared to have relations with a woman that’s gon’ set me up or say something about me that isn’t true. It’s a sensitive alarm in my brain, and sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I get paranoid about normal stuff but that’s just how I’m wired. 

How do you stay motivated when you’re constantly worried about what’s going to happen next? 

I watch a lot of interviews — the real superstar artists always have an answer for anything. And I’ma be real with you, I ain’t figured it out yet, bro. I get sad sometimes, I get unhappy, but God ain’t gon’ never put something in front of me that I can’t handle. It takes a lot of fun out of things being the way that I am. When I was younger, I used to be a wild boy and not worry about the consequences in life. I had way more fun. I have friends with regular jobs that are way more happier than me. I stress myself the fuck out by putting those things on my plate. It is what it is. But at the end of the day, even when I’m stressed, I’m enjoying it. Artists are sad, bro. I feel like artists make themselves sad to an extent because we create better. I’ll admit it, there’s times when I’ll get into a fight with my girl and I keep going because that’s a bar, that’s a lyric right there (laughs). 

When’s the last time you were sad? 

I remember the last time I cried. Death is something new in my life that I’ve experienced over the last few years. There’s a couple of people that have passed away. 

Did music help you escape from what you were feeling? 

Ion think you can escape it. That shit stays with you forever. As you get older in life, it’s going to happen. I think that’s what turns you into a man, deadass. You can watch things happen, but when someone dies, it just does something to you that makes you more solid. 

About the Author

Derrius Edwards
Derrius is a music industry professional with experience in content strategy and editorial writing, sharing relevant and resonating stories as a conduit for hip-hop culture advancement.

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