Braddock native Lee Davis graduated from Woodland Hills High School in 1988, but he credits his two years at Taylor Allderdice High School for inspiring his career in the music business.
"The people that went there, because of their background, everybody was a free spirit," he says. "Hip hop was really big at Allderdice, especially the four elements [MCing, DJing, breakdancing and graffiti]. Some of the best graffiti artists were at Allderdice at that time, and dancers, and then that whole hip-hop culture just exploded."
Since receiving a proclamation from the mayor of Pittsburgh at an event earlier this year that honored other music moguls including Roger Humphries and Shanice Wilson, Davis has assembled a three-man team to launch the 3 Horsemen/Mission Control Recordings business initiative.
"One of the biggest things that independent artists need — the ones that are serious like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis — the one thing that they have that most independent artists don't have is structure," says Davis.
Davis handles copyrights and publishing, New York native Robert Ross handles the paperwork and legal side, and investment specialist Michael A. Jordan is in charge of financing.
"We're now in a digital age where we've become so dependent on the viral presence that we're forgetting that there's still a business model that we still need to attach ourselves to," says Ross. "We're mentoring artists to be the best that they can be. We teach life skills, like what to say and what not to say in certain situations, whether it's interviewing or on stage. We take them through a whole process; it's not just, ‘You got talent, so we're gonna put you out there.'"
Mission Control's first signing is hip-hop artist Tek Bennett, a Penn Hills High School grad.
"He writes, he produces, he does everything that an artist needs to do in order to make it.," says Ross. "The mindset of Mission Control is controlling our environment and making the mission reachable, being able to take something and know that with the proper nurturing and with the proper analytics we can make the job happen."