How The "Backpack Kid" Became Famous | GaryVee Business Meeting

(imitates phone ringing) – Backpack, backpack, backpack.

(imitates phone ringing) ♫ Imma ♫ Shine ♫ In your face – What up, what up, what up? – Hi, Gary.

– How are you man? – I'm doing good, how are you? – Such a pleasure, how are you? – I've seen you all over the internet.

– Thank you, I've seen you as well.

– Lionel, nice to meet you.

– Lionel, real pleasure.

– Ron, nice to meet you.

– Ron, real pleasure.

– What's up man, Russell.

– Russell, real pleasure.

I'm so sorry I'm late guys.

– Oh no, you're fine, you're fine.

– [Gary] How are you guys doing? You sitting here Russell? – [Russell] Yeah.

– [Gary] How's it going? – [Backpack Kid] It's goingpretty good, how are you? – Come in.

So tell me how this all started for you.

– [Backpack Kid] All right, okay so.

I just created an Instagram, I had 300 followers, and then I just posted a video of me dancing in a silly way just for fun, and then it just blew up.

Big pages started reposting that video, and it just wenteverywhere and then it was just that constantly throughout the week.

– [Gary] It just went crazy viral? – Yeah.

– When was that? – [Backpack Kid] It wasa video of me dancing.

– No, no I saw it, when was that? – [Backpack Kid] Oh when, it was.



It was last January, January of 2016.

– And Rihanna shouted him out, Katy Perry brought him out to perform.

– [Gary] I remember.

– On the SNL.

– I remember, I remember, I remember.

– It just took off, he brokethe internet with dancing.

– Yeah, because everybody was like, everybody loved the recall, right that the SNL clip was.

I remember I was like, 'cause her performance first of all was justgonna be interesting to watch how culture was going to respond to, and then when you came out it was just wild to watch reaction.


And so, do you have anyidea how it became viral? Like do you have any ideaof that 300, what happened? – Oh, yeah I remember, okay so one person commentedon that post on my page, #dontstopwhitepeople2k16.

I have no idea why, I will never know why, but then some with 700, 000 followers saw that hashtag and of course I was the only video on that hashtag.

So he saw that and he was like, hey, this kid's kind of cool, and he reposted it and tagged me.

– [Russell] That was the start.

– I love it, I love it.

– From there then you know, Rihanna– – [Kid] I'm still in contact them too.

The person on that page.

– What did you say, my man? – I'm still in contact– – Where do you live? – I live in Atlanta.

– Atlanta? (laughter) – He's done business before andthat's how we all linked up.

– They just started an agency.

Him and the number onevideo he put on there.

So yeah, he's actually– – A creative agency? – Yeah.

– Good for you.

– We basically justfocused on like culture instead of like looking at demographics and whatever like cultureis the new skin color.

– It is.

– And our focus is justreally like focused on culture people who are kind of changing that so we rep people butwe also do creative as well.

– I understand.

– Go ahead, Boyd.

– We did music and commercialhe did for anti-tobacco.

– So you guys have knowneach other for a while? – [Boyd] Yeah.

– Yeah.

– [Boyd] He's like the hot new kid.

So like, it's happening as you know.

It's happening right now.

Katy Perry's put him in the music video, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla.

– How many views is the Katy Perry video? – I think it's about 115 million now.

– How old are you? – I'm 15.

– [Gary] Love it.

– [Boyd] What they weretalking about was backpacks.

We're trying to getmore of these backpacks like we were talking about maybe having his own backpack.

Helping a backpack outof the owning part of it.

Like he just– – Can you guys manage him or rep him or– – Yeah, we rep him.

– Understood.

– And you guys knew each other or you reached out and connected? – I actually, one ofthe brands that I run, he was at one of our eventsand he couldn't get on stage.

– There was a concert yeah and got seats backstage sothat I could get on stage.

– And I was like hold upnobody's like repping you? Because every, like peopleare looking on the stage but there was always 15 peoplearound him in the crowd.

– Yeah.

– He would go to the other side and you would see all these phones.

And I was like hold up, nobody's like helping you out? And, I think he had somebody but they didn't really understand– – At the level.

– And so like since– – [Backpack Kid] Securityguards didn't know who I was.

– And what does yourfamily think about this? – My mom, she's pretty supportive and she let's me go everywhere.

And my dad is like not very into the hip hop culture kind of thing.

– [Gary] Uh, huh.

– But he's kind of like, sees me as a normal son that he birthed.

– (laughter) Understood.

I love it, I love it.

So keep talking, Boyd is there anything? No thank you.

– [Woman] Sorry.

– Is there anything fromany of your perspective that I might be able to help with? Is it things like more philosophical, big thinking around brand or JB.

What are the economics around getting really put on by a Pack Pack brand or starting your own, that business talk? – [Boyd] Yeah, so thistalk is really strategy.

It's happening right now.

Like they were saying everyone'shitting him right now.

And some people were saying, we're just gonna give you product.

We're just gonna do this and I told them what you've been sayingto a lot of people.

When you find the next hot backpack and you own part of it, that looks kind of cool.

– Yeah.

– Right before you walkedin we were thinking well, he was asking, whodo I know makes backpacks, or whatever, you know? – So what's this backpack that you got? – [Russell] Sprayground, like the hottest hip hop branded backpack.

– [Gary] Hm, mm.

– [Russell] And we're cool, we appreciate your support.

We're actually going there tomorrow.

– [Gary] Where are they based out of? – [Russell] New York.

– They're barely over like 17.

– Right.

– I mean it always happens, but– – ]Russell] On the street, but his is IG demographic is still like 18 to 24.

– Of course, 'cause the way it works.

What are you doing on Snapchat? – [Boyd] He was saying he has a lot of 12 year old fans andreally young ones too.

– Make the toughest sense.

– [Russell] Growing with him.

– Of course.

– I use Snapchat for– – Real life? – Yeah, I restrict Snapchatto just me and the people that I know in real lifethat like go to my school.

– Why? – 'Cause since Instagram is such a public social media for me, I just like– – You wanted to havesomething for yourself.

– Yeah.

– And texting couldn't do that for ya? – With texting can't like socialize with.

– I get it.

– People as good at Snapchat.

– I understand.

– And I don't want to give out my number all the time to people that I know 'cause maybe I don't trust them as much.

– Of course.

– Here's my Snapchat, here's my number.

– What about, are youproducing content musically? – I had musically a while back.

But I kind of got bored of it 'cause it didn't reallyfit me, like Instagram did.

– Just let it play, understood.

– [Russell] He also does music.

He's working with this DJ.

DJ Suede, I don't know during Thanksgiving did you ever hear thegreens, beans, tomatoes.

– Yeah.

– [Russell] He produced that.

So he's been working with that and that's something thatwe're kind of developing.

– Trying to see how much or howlittle opportunity you have.

– [Russell] But right now, his impact as a digital influencer, the recall that we get withthe brand deals that we did, we just did something with Xfinity.

He posted it, we got over 1, 500 comments.

The viewers were on point.

We did something with an appcalled Holo which is like a– – What are the size of the deals? – [Russell] 10 to 20.

– Great.

And he's like at 70, 000 right? – [Boyd] Almost there.

– [Backpack Kid] Like 875, 000.

– That's good, that's a goodnumber for that kind of like.



But the depth is there.

He's got real fans.

– [Russell] These are realfans like they engage with him.

– Hm mm, my recommendation? Like if I was like, we came into this and we're gonna be all partners.

I quit Banner Media and this is my life.

Number one move I'd do is map every single backpack company in the game.

From them, if they're number one.

'Cause you actually like them.

And it's hot all the waydown to the one that is wack and not hot and look atit in a room like this.

And be like, okay reach out to all of them and be like cool, yeah what's up guys.

What can we do? And they're gonna say, well we'll give you a ton of shit, we love you.

What about money? No.

What about equity? Of course not if we'renot giving you money, we're not giving you equity.

Cool, thank you next.

(imitate phone ring) You know, Jan Sport wewant to bring that back.

Everything's back, Jan Sportyou wanna do something? Yeah.

What are you gonna give us? Free stuff, of course.

You gonna pay us? Sure how much do you charge? 20, 000 (mumbles).

Cool, you want to give us1% equity in the company? No, number three.

(imitates phone ringing) Backpack, backpack, backpack.

What up, hey.

You gonna give us free stuff.


You gonna pay us? Yeah, how much is it? 20, 000 .





You want to give us equity? Yep.

How much? We'll give you 2% of thecompany if you sign a three year deal only wear our shit, de, de, de.

Then you decide.

Cool thank you, next.

(imitates phone ring) Hello, backpack, backpack, backpack, backpack, backpack.

– [Backpack Kid] What are you saying is that you can only work one deal.

– Sure.

Notice how I'm calling everybody? (laughter) – If I have to wear thisstuff for three years, I can't wear stuff for three years.

– Ready, ready, ready? You're exactly right.

Let's play it out.

If I paid you $100 towear one backpack for the next three years, would you do it? – [Backpack Kid] No.

– If I paid you 20 milliondollars would you do it? – Yes.

– That's the game I'm explaining.

What you need to do is get it from, no to 100% to fucking yes.

Everything in between and thenfigure out the right spot.

When I did my K-Swiss deal, right? First thing I negotiatedbefore money before anything else, I was like, I'm wanna wear other sneakers.

They could've said no.

I've got football players.

Braxton Miller, my football player can't wear other shit besides Addidas.

It's all about.

– [Russell] The deal.

– When I was your age there was a wrestler in the WWF, his name wasThe Million Dollar Man.

He said the smartest shit of all time.

Everybody's got a price.

I might can make Beyoncedo something right now.

It might cost me 50 million dollars but I can get it done.

So that's the game youneed to figure out, got it? – A little bit.

I'm only 15 and I'm not goodat investing like you are.

– I get it, but thisis not about investing.

This is about maximizing opportunities that you feel good about, both financially and as a kid living your life, right? You don't wanna wear those Adiddas, every pair, every day but that's what companies sometimes may want you to do.

– [Backpack Kid] Ifthey paid a lot I would.

– Correct but what you start learning is things that you say yesto now, you'll say no to.

People used to pay me$5, 000 to fly somewhere.

They'd pay for my flight, give me a hotel room and pay me $5, 000 to go onstage and talk for an hour.

And I thought that was thecraziest shit of all time.

I was so happy.

I fuckin back flipped to Florida, right? Now people offer me$90, 000 to give a speech right here in New York City and I won't do it because that'a an hour and 45 minutes between commuting and being on stage, isjust too valuable to me.

– What do yo mean valuable? If it's like, because in New York.

– Because I believe with that same hour and 45 minutes, I can make more money.

Maybe I don't get paid for it.

Like this meeting, this meeting, I don't the last time I checkedunless Boyd's keeping it.

I don't think you'repaying me for this meeting.

But I'm deeming likepeople that I respect Boyd.

I've known him for a decade.

He respects you guys, cool, now we're getting connected.

You got your moment in culture right now.

I'm interested, you're so young.

It's gonna be fun to watch, we get to say what's up to each other.

I try to give you some advice, that might be valuable to you.

Seven years from now, you're like man I'm really glad I took that one meeting.

He taught me something, right? So sometimes you're playing the long game, and sometimes you'replaying the short game.

Sometimes I want the $150, 000 for that two hours to speak, other times I'm taking 10 random meetings likethis that don't make sense but they make sense to me in the 20 year window not in a 20 minute window.

– But isn't it better to do a few big jobs and a lot of small jobs? – I think it's good to doas much as you fucking can.

In the 18 hours that you're asleep, awake excuse me.

(laughter) – I was like what? – So yes, you know what I mean? So sure, I mean look I think.



I think it's good to do whateverthe fuck you want to do.

And that's the spot weall want to be in, right? Or you're doing exactlywhat you want to be doing and how you're doing it.

And by the way, it'snot just about making.



Like I'd much rather makesix million dollars a year happily than make 21million a year unhappily.

– Really? – 100%.

– But $21, 000, 000 will make you happy.

– What you learn iswhen you have 6, 000, 000 that the difference between 6, 000, 000 and 21, 000, 000 isn't much.

You got to get to like.



The quality of lifemaking $6, 000, 000 a year and $20, 000, 000 is pretty much the same.

– In the short term, he's about to approach a million followers.

– Yep.

– We're thinking aboutreaching out to a couple brands to do something that's really cool.

– Yeah, I think.

Let me give you goodpiece of advice on this.

I think you should do something around 947, 000 followers.

Everybody does that ship and as you know.

Because that why you guys are good at it.

The way to hack culture is to not do what everybody else does.

– [Russell] Right.

– So to me everybodycelebraties the million.

In my career, I hit in Twitter in 2007.

Instagram I never acknowledgesthose watershed moments.

Everybody else does.

To me you might be able to do something.

Here would be a great example.

This way you havesomething to think about.

You know how a lot of brands have numbers? You should really see ifanybody out there has number.



Like is there a brand called 937? See where I'm going? – [Russell] Yeah.

– Is there a zip code? I'm sure there's a bunchof zip code brands.

I used to always think about creating a 908 brand for Jersey.

Anyway, I would do a little homework and see if there's some sortof fun number like that.

'Cause you reach out to that brand, that's kind of– – See where I'm going? Fans will be like, ohshit, that's fuckin cool.

Fuckin celebrating.



Who celebrates 937, 000? Like it's a million, you know what I mean? So just something to think about.

– [Russell] For sure.

– 'Cause that's kind of like commoditized.

Now to your point, if you can get a nice little brand deal, that'sa whole different thing.

(laughter) – [Russsell] Yeah.

– But give it some thought.

– For sure, for sure.

– So how does your fan base work? – My fan base irght now, I would say, is much like you guystalked about culture.

It's a mindset.

I've got a lot of.



My fan base is people who arewilling to put in the work who like want the grind, thechallenge from the mentality.

But from an age, I think the sweet spot right now is like 27 year old dudes.

– Yeah, I've seen that too.

'Cause like, I remember the first I saw.

I don't remember the firsttike I saw your videos on the internet, I was like, wow.

This dude curses a lot.

– (laughter) – I'm sure parents won't lettheir kids watch this guy.

– Yeah, no question.

I curse a lot.

That a little Jersey in me.

Yeah, it's funny.

It's really interesting.

I've been cursing on theinternet for a long, long time.

In 2007, six, eight, it really hurt me.

People like, everybody no matter what age were really offended I would say.

'Cause you, the internet video wasn't consumable, likeat the scale it is now.

TV didn't show it except for cable TV.

And I cursed, to your pointI'm inspired by Richard Pryor.

Like I curse every second word sometimes when I'm in the real zone.

So yeah, I get that reaction.

Now though it's been reallyinteresting to watch.

I'm sure you'll go through this and you'll probably hadn'teven thought of this.

What's really interesting about culture, especially for some ofthat are a little older have really watched hip-hop for the last 10 or 15 or 20 or 30 years, it's crazy what's cool now.

You would get punched so hard in the face so fast if you wore this backpack in 1991.

– [Russell] In the '90's yeah.

– So if you didn't wearTimbo's and a jersey or Starter jacket, you were– that's it, that was your options.

– That's the beautiful thing– – That's the beautifulthing, so what's really cool and this is probablythe best piece of advice I can give you if you're interested.

By me never wavering anddoing what people told me I needed to do back then, it allowed me to have what I have now.

– You didn't listen to anybody? – Yep.

– Oh.

– I'm a big fan of it.

Let me say it in a differentway that's more truthful.

'Cause that's just funny to say it.

Don't listen to anybodywhen it feels terrible inside of you to listen to it.

It seemed ridiculous to me to not talk to people the way I would talk to people when I would pump up mybrother for a basketball game.

Why would I change just'cause that's there.

That seemed too hard.

I was like, fuck what if I meet people? What if I meet people, I never want to act.

– [Russell] Yeah mask on, mask off.

– Too tough to remember.

– [Russell] Yeah.

– So, yeah I think you listen to people.

You got people around you who are smart.

You got your parents, yougot your siblings, friends.

Listening is fine but if that shit doesn't feel good inside when you hear it.

Never waver.

– Yeah, I remember everyone wanted me to go to this thing for Big Critic.

– Good.

– I really did not want to go at all.

– Yep.

– But I went because Ithought that since he wanted me to do it thatit'll be good to do.

– And how did it feel? – And then my mom was like, Russell this is your career.

It is not anybody else's.

– [Gary] It's true.

– You are not a puppet.

– [Gary] That's right.

– I was like, well Nicky Minajbecame famous being a puppet.

(laughter) Nicki Minaj, like signedwith some producing company or something and they made her big by, changing her whole entireappearance and stuff.

– Yeah, I think the question becomes that's the narrative that you and I hear.

How much of that is true or not? – [Backpack Kid] She probablywasn't happy doing it but I mean she got big in the end.

– We don't know.

Maybe she did, I'm alwaysfascinated by that stuff.

What's perceived versus reality.

I had a meeting today with anemployee where I said look.



He said to me, one piece of advice, you're killin' it, I love you as a CEO, like be more involved with Banner Media.

And I said, you're beingseduced by my content.

I spend 90% of my time on Banner Media it's just that most ofmy vlog can't show it 'cause my meetings are confidential.

So the reality of something is very different than the perception.

Your perception is thatNicki was a puppet.

My perception is maybe.

But I don't know how those meetings went.

Maybe they were just there toexecute on what she wanted.

– [Russell] Oh.

– Maybe she couldn't find anybody else that wanted to supportwhere she wanted to go and they were the infrastructure for her instead of she doingwhat they wanted to do.

I don't know, truth is, I don't know.

What I know is that, much to your point.

So you went to the Criticthing or you did not? – [Backpack Kid] I did.

– Okay good, so to methe question becomes, in that scenario, let'sjust use your example.

You got to do it, yougot advice to not listen to it or at least debate it for yourself because it's your career.

Then you did it.

If that happened to be themoment where something happened, that was 10x SNL and wasactually the thing that changed your career, the question would become, were you a puppet, was it him, was it him and then you deciding for yourself, yes.



It's interesting right? – Yeah, I went for two hoursand I only got a seven second part and it only took like 15 seconds to actually record that seven second part.

– [Russsell] But how many people are gonna see that seven seconds? – And you know what else happens though? You'll like this one, the amount of things I do that are exactly the way you think about that that don't work out.

You know, your man says, but how many people are gonna see it? My team says, but how many see it? And the answer is, notas many as he thought.

That happens everyday.

But the problem is the otherside of things happen too.

The amount of kids that thought making vines, musiclease andInstagrams of a piece of content and then said, this isstupid, who's gonna care and deleted it, but you posted it and it changed thetrajectory of you career? That's the game.

It's saying yes and realizingsome shit's gonna work, some shit's not but if you just keep saying yes shit's gonna pop.

– Yeah, that's what I did before like before I got really, really big before SNL and Katy Perry'svideo shoot and stuff.

I just went to every possible available video shoot for anything I could.

My mom was like, Russellwhy are you doing this? It's taking too much time.

It's not gonna ever makeyou go anywhere or anything.

And then it was actually one of the videos that my mom told me I should have gone to 'cause it was after school on a school day and I came home, back really late.

It was actually that videothat Katy Perry found me in.

– Yep.

– Okay mom, how do you feel? (laughter) – Wrong, she feels wrong my man.

And let me tell you the biggest mistake people make once they hitit big the way you did.

They stop doing theshit that got them there 'cause they get fancy.

– [Backpack Kid] Shoot! – [Russell] Doom, doom, doom.

(laughter) – Yeah 'cause like, yeah.

– It's just the truth.

– I don't think I cankeep doing the same three moves in every videofor the next five years.

– I respect that.

– Make it as a career.

– That I respect, I think that's smart.

I think the question becomes, one, never get high onyour own supply, right? So you're big but not really.

I don't know, let's go seehow many of the 7.

7 billion people on earth know who the fuck you are? So like one thing people get confused on especially your age demo on Instagram.

Like that is currency, like you have more fuckin followers than yourentire school combined.

(laughter) So like, maybe or maybe notbut you know what I mean right? – Yeah.

– So I get why it's happening, but it still doesn'tmean what I say is right.

Which is you're just starting.

You've got the bigadvantage over all of us.

The one asset that mattersmore than anything is time.

– Well I'm young.

– You got it.

So you got a lot of opportunity.

More than you can evenwrap your head around.

So I would just say, please be thoughtful about saying yes to things as oftenand as for long as possible.

– That's what I did toget Katy Perry to find me.

So if I said no to that one video shoot probably would've never have found me.

– And I think you've got seven, twelve, fifteen more of those in you.

But if you only say yes to43 things instead of 719.

It's gonna be harder for that to manifest.

– These are very specificnumbers to that thing.

– They come to me.

(laughter) – Another line thathe's really approaching is kind of like comedyand being a creative.

So he's not, what's unique about him is you have a lot of dancersand they're dancing like super serious uthe has this brand where he can dance super serious if he wants to but he has a brand ofcomedy that's into it, so he really kind ofwants to either get into creating skits and evenwriting, is something that– – You know, I've got a goodpiece of advice for you guys.

You should continue to challenge.

So you're a creative, interesting man.

– [Backpack Kid] Yeah.

– You need to keep tasting shit.

Let me tell you what I mean by that.

You know while I was listening to you, what inspired me, I'mjust listening to you.

You know what this kid needs to do? He needs to do everything at least three times to see if he likes it.

Like you should paint, like you should draw.

– [Backpack Kid] Paint? – Like when one is creative, it's only them not trying other creative avenues that stops them.

Like I don't know, you're a fuckin bad ass dancer.

Maybe you're a better painter? You just might be.

I feel like once youhave the genetic DN.



You see where I'm going? Ya might, maybe Lebronwould've been the greatest heavy weight champion of all time.

Maybe, I don't know.

– [Voiceover] He's right.

– You see where I'm going, like right? I don't know, I know thatwhen you have creativity especially if I hear he's funny and he's thinking about writing.

If he's creating that framework because he's looking for other avenues for you to explore, that's one thing.

If that's coming to younaturally out of curiosity, that then speaks to.



You better, great and you better.



You should cook, you should try shit because those creativejuices if you put them in the right outlet, theymight have been boom over here.

Something to think about.

– Well, I was gonna say something.

– While you keep thinking, anything else? 'Cause I know I gottarun to a client thing.

– Yeah they gotta go tooso, I mean this was great.

– [Russell] Yeah, this was great man.

– Yeah man listen.

Feel free to reach out, like any.



I'm on the karma kick, right? Just give love and if itbrings you guys value.

– [Russell] Yeah.

– Go ahead.

– People like sorta know about me because the way I dance was somethingno one has every seen before.

– And how did that happen? – It just went along with my personality.

Like always enjoy making people laugh so I always thought up withways to make people laugh in different ways just incase I got bored .




And it's just when that hit.

– I like that.

– People, hey I'm tired ofseeing all these serious dancers, let's look at this funny guy.

– uh, huh I like that.

Is there a question behind that or is that a piece of data like information.

– Yeah it's information, this is what I did.

– Cool.

– To get people to recognize me.

I didn't like try to get people to see me.

I was like aye, I'm gonna post this video for my friends to see you.

And it started getting the views and views and views and views.

– How much did that video get views? How many views did that video get? – I think, I was getting followers on the spot.

I think in like 24 hours, we got like 45, 000.

– [Gary] How manyfollowers were you getting? – I got like 2k a day.

For like a month.

– That's awesome, so good.

– 45, 000 is a lot to me.

Right now 200, 000, 300, 000is a lot for me now.

– I get it.

That's good my man, that's good.

– [Russell] Cool.

Appreciate it.

You want us to hit you up through Mike? – Yeah, or Mike can sharemy email with you guys too.

– [Russell] For sure, for sure.

– My pleasure.

– We appreciate the timeman and working with– – Come to Atlanta soon, it's pretty lit.

(laughter) – [Russell] Get you lit.

– Listen, I'm obsessed with Atlanta.

I was with Russ last night.

– [Russell] Right.

– I'm all about Atlanta actually.

I actually was about to doa shoe event in Atlanta.

I have a sneaker coming out with K-Swiss.

I'm just trying to milksome time in New York.

I mean this company– – [Russell] Any Atlantapresence or whatever you do.

– Yeah, we'll let you know.

– [Russell] Awesome, Mike knows what's up.

– Cool.

– I do appreciate it as well.

– Of course.

– [Russell] Very generous of you man.

– Thank you, thank you guys, be safe.

Love you Boyd, talk to you later.

– [Man] Nice meeting you man.

(upbeat hip hop music).