A&R executive Orlando Wharton, who helped establish the career of rapper and singer Fetty Wap and several other hip-hop artists, has been named as an Executive Vice President at Capitol Music Group (CMG).
Wharton was appointed by CMG Chair & CEO Michelle Jubelirer to the new role, in addition to becoming President of Priority Records as CMG seeks to relaunch the label as a dedicated platform for new, developing and established hip hop artists.
“Priority Records is a legendary label that gave artists a voice when they were voiceless; a label that was about real music that didn’t rely on gimmicks to make an impact,” Wharton said of the relaunch of Priority Records.
Founded in 1985, the label is known for artists including hip-hop group N.W.A and multi-award-winning rappers Ice-T, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg. Priority Records became part of Capitol Records in 2004 and subsequently ceased operations until 2006 when EMI revived the label, releasing Snoop Dogg’s studio album Malice N Wonderland in December 2009.
“Priority Records is a legendary label that gave artists a voice when they were voiceless; a label that was about real music that didn’t rely on gimmicks to make an impact.”
The label was relaunched in 2013 though a joint venture between Capitol Records and Insurgency Music and again in 2015 as a distributor.
Now, CMG seeks to revive Priority for the nth time with Wharton at the helm.
“Orlando has an undeniable track record of finding and developing groundbreaking and talented artists.”
Michelle Jubelirer, Capitol Music Group
“Music is Orlando’s purpose, and he is the ideal executive to relaunch Priority and help write the next chapter for Capitol Music Group,” Jubelirer said. Wharton will report directly to Jubelirer when he assumes the new role early next year. He will be based at the company’s offices in New York.
“Orlando has an undeniable track record of finding and developing groundbreaking and talented artists. Between his boundless energy and deep well of relationships is his unwavering commitment to helping artists realize their maximum potential and bring their creative visions to reality,” the executive added.
Wharton, born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, is credited for the success of a number of hip-hop stars during his career as an A&R executive.
In 2015, he signed rapper and singer Fetty Wap to 300 Entertainment and helped the artist work on his multi-platinum eponymous debut that hit No.1 on the Billboard 200 and produced three top 10 singles including RIAA-certified Diamond (10x Platinum) Trap Queen.
Wharton joined Atlantic Records as Director of A&R in 2014 and was Promoted to Senior Vice President in 2016. There, he signed rapper Kodak Black, working on the rapper on his releases including the platinum albums, Painting Pictures (2017) and the Billboard 200 No.1 Dying To Live (2018).
Wharton’s portfolio also includes signing rapper and singer PnB Rock to Atlantic and managing the two albums that the artist released including Catch These Vibes (2017) and TrapStar Turnt PopStar (2019), which landed at the Top 5 spot in the Billboard Top 200. (PnB Rock died two weeks ago after a fatal shooting incident in Los Angeles.)
Other artists that are part of Wharton’s expansive roster include Boogie wit da Hoodie, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, XXXTentacion, Shoreline Mafia, Little Eazzyy, and rising star YOVNGCHIMI.
In 2017, Billboard heralded Wharton among the next generation of executives and tastemakers “changing the sound, face and future of hip-hop.”
“I’m really looking forward to working with Michelle Jubelirer and the great team she’s assembled at CMG, always mindful that artists lead the way and that we’re here to support their brilliance and creativity,” Wharton said of his appointment.Music Business Worldwide