|By: Grouchy Greg
Founder/Chief Creative Officer CollegeHipHop.com
Asante Samuel knows a thing or two about transformation and change.
The two-time New England Patriots Super Bowl champ graduated from Boyd H. Anderson High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he was a high school standout. However, his transition to college was quite different from most people’s experience.
Although he had a network of mentors, Asante Samuel’s passage into college was like a lot of young African-American’s who hit a major campus like University of Central Florida’s for the first time.
|Asante Samuel Photo Credit: Midori Star Media|
“I had a friend named Elton Patterson. He helped guide me,” Asante Samuel told CollegeHipHop.com. “He helped me set up my email so I could go into the computer lab and log onto the Internet. Just simple stuff like that was a transition.”
Asante Samuel played for the Knights at the University of Central Florida. Then, in 2003, his dream came true when he was drafted into the NFL by the New England Patriots.
Asante Samuel signed a $7.7 million deal with New England, only to head over to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2008 in a huge $56 million deal. Samuel’s college education has been invaluable after earning so much money playing in the NFL for teams like The Patriots, The Eagles, and The Atlanta Falcons.
Once again, Asante Samuel’s finds himself in the midst of change after his retirement from the NFL. Outside of his real estate holdings (his mansion had a $1 million pool), Samuel’s first attempt at being a music executive didn’t end well.
His first record label Deepside Entertainment had artists like Young A.C. and Tee Stunna. But a dispute with a company partner led to the dismantling of the venture. But Asante Samuel’s is still adamant at finding success with his newest venture, Eighties Nation.
“I started Deepside with a friend of mine; I’m not going to say any names. It was a learning experience, and it was for them, and to help them out,” Asante Samuel told CollegeHipHop.com. “With Eighties Nation, it’s all mine. I put my face out there with it, so that’s the difference. All the learning I had from that, I’m taking into this new venture. We are just trying to do our independent thing.”
Samuel’s has merged his Business Administration degree from UCF and experience with a vision to build Eighties Nation into one of the most powerful independent record labels. Eighties Nation is betting on its flagship artists Tee Stunna and TeeJay to lead the label to Hip-Hop glory.
|Asante Samuel Photo Credit: Midori Star Media|
CollegeHipHop.com: What was it like for you as a young student transitioning from high school to college? There’s been a lot of talk about the difficulties African-Americans face when they hit a college campus, whether it’s because of racism, or the fact that they are the first generation actually to go to a university.
Asante Samuel: For me, it was a little bit of a different experience coming from the neighborhood. It was kind of overwhelming. You want to learn how to fit in and make a way.
But my main mindset was that of a competitor. So my mindset was whoever was in my way, I was just going to outcompete them. Ain’t no friends in this, so let’s compete, Let’s go.
CollegeHipHop.com: There were a lot of Pro Bowlers and professional NFL players who attended UCF. It seems like again, as a senior now in college, there would again be a lot of pressure. At this point, I would imagine you’re faced with some serious life decisions. Do you follow your degree, or try your hand at professional sports?
Asante Samuel: That past year, I had a few teams looking at me. Like you said, they are serious decisions. So you have to put your priorities in order and figure out what’s best for you. I wanted to go after my dreams, and my dreams took me where I was dreaming. There were some bumps in the road, But it took me where I needed to go.
CollegeHipHop.com: What kind of bumps in the roads do you refer to? After college? Or getting up to that point of going to college?
|Asante Samuel Photo Credit: Midori Star Media|
Asante Samuel: Getting up to that point. You know, running 40’s (40-yard dash) in time for scouts, picking an agent, thinking a team likes you when they don’t really like you. Money to survive and live. You’re not in school or on a scholarship anymore. I have a child, so I had to make sure the child was taken care of, things like that.
Draft day comes, and you think you’re going to do this, and then you’re not that draft pick. It’s very stressful.
CollegeHipHop.com: I would imagine being an athlete helped relieve some of the mental stress that comes along with what would probably be viewed as one of the most chaotic periods of your young life. Where some people might have turned to other vices, like liquor and drugs, you had an outlet in sports which was your passion and career.
Asante Samuel: Sports was always the top on my priority list. If anything came in the way, it might’ve been a little phase. But God kept me out of trouble, and I was able to maneuver and be clean and learn a different way in life.
CollegeHipHop.com: So when you were first drafted, you went from Florida to New England. What was that like?
Asante Samuel: That was definitely culture shock. You know, being raised in Florida and going to college in Florida, and then the winter comes. And you have to try to figure all that stuff out. Dealing with the weather was the most challenging thing. You wake up in the morning, and your car is covered with snow, You Gotta know how to get out of that. You gotta know black ice, and how to drive. But hanging out in the nightlife, it’s no different there or any other city. You come from the hood, you mind your business, you keep with your crew, you stay out of the way, and you keep it moving.
CollegeHipHop.com: When you went to Philly in 2008, it was a pretty big deal and a big check ($56 million). Were you involved with the Hip-Hop scene in that city?
Asante Samuel: Yeah, I started to get into the scene around that time. I had a group called G.U.N.S. (Goons United by the New School). We shot videos in Philly; we did some marketing and promo, and we performed a couple of places. The Hip-Hop scene is pretty cool.
CollegeHipHop.com: Staying on the topic of Philly, Will Smith has a new movie coming out called “Concussion” about Bennet Omalu (the forensic pathologist who fought the National Football League over research on brain damage) What do you think about that?
Asante Samuel: I got a son that I focus on, he’s a little baller (Samuel Jr. is actually 5-10, 160 pounds). He plays for St. Thomas Aquinas. I just teach him the basics and what he needs to know and let him go from there and do his own thing. He understands, he’s a smart kid. You can’t worry too much; you got to let them live their life.
|Eighties Nation is retired NFL Star Asante Samuel’s
new brand/record label.
CollegeHipHop.com: How does the concussion controversy with the NFL play into your career and your view of your son playing football, if at all? And did you ever experienced any head trauma?
Asante Samuel: No, I’m pretty cool. And It is what it is. If you want to play football, it comes with the territory. The movie looks like it’s going to be pretty awesome.
CollegeHipHop.com: Switching gears a little bit. As a two-time Super Bowl champ, can you please tell us what all of the after parties are like?
Asante Samuel: You know, they’re crazy. You could make them as extravagant as you want to make them. But I don’t know if those are necessarily the most fun parties. You know you’ve got to get down with some humble people that just like to have fun, and aren’t worried about how much money you got.
CollegeHipHop.com: That being said, and not to be all up in your pockets but it’s a very relevant question. You did a $56 million deal, With $20 million of that guaranteed. It’s obviously life-changing money. How do you personally manage that type of wealth? At the end of the day, you are responsible for it. Even if you fuck it away.
Asante Samuel: You just have to learn. You have to learn about money. I’ve always loved money since I was a youngin’. I’ve always hustled for it, cutting hair, fixing bikes, all different types of hustles that we don’t have to go into detail about. But ever since then, I’ve loved to get money, and I love to save money. I got a lot of money, but I got with my team who I trusted. My first question was, “how do I stay rich?” And it took me from there. I invest. Sometimes I try outside ventures, some good some bad. But the greater the risk, the greater the reward. But you have to know what you’re dealing with.
CollegeHipHop.com: I was looking at some of the pictures of your Florida mansion (it recently sold for $7.5 million). I mean a 1 million-dollar swimming pool?
Asante Samuel: Yeah man, it was like a dream come true. It was something I wanted to do.
|TeeJay and Tee Stunna – Courtesy of EightiesNation.com|
CollegeHipHop.com: So are we going to see you on any of the reality shows?
Asante Samuel: Nah, but if you did see me on something it would be my own show my own thing. I’m not on no craziness.
CollegeHipHop.com: Tell me more about your new business and the strategy for Eighties Nation? You’re not the typical NFL player with a record label to just flash. I’ve known your publicist Krystle Coleman for awhile, and I know for a fact you’ve been at this record label for many years now.
Asante Samuel: Well, we want to sell our merchandise, we do our touring, and streaming. That’s what we are focused on.
CollegeHipHop.com: Is Eighties Nation looking to sign anybody else, or do you have any other artists?
Asante Samuel: TeeJay, who recently his project, this month titled “I’m Trying to Tell You.” He has a good movement and a good following.
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CollegeHipHop.com: Your flagship artist is Tee Stunna, who you’ve known for almost a decade since he was 16-years-old. How did you link up with him?
Asante Samuel: He was part of the group G.U.N.S, and now I’m letting him do his solo thing. We come from similar backgrounds. His thing is, he was always the black sheep, everybody always looked at him differently. He was a bad little thuggish kid that didn’t understand life. I came along, and I’ve had him since he was a young teenager.
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There were four people in The group G.U.N.S, and he wanted to learn the most. He wanted to do something different with his life, and not end up in jail prison or dead.
It’s all about understanding the things I did, and how I could’ve missed my life.