JESUIT PERSPECTIVES • SPRING 2020 31
The burgeoning Internet also helped
the world, in countries such as Germany,
people were also collecting records
sampled in hip hop.
“I realized this is a global thing,” Torres
said. “This whole little subset of hip-hop
fans that are learning about all this other
music through hip hop, and I thought,
‘Somebody should do a documentary
He began to do research for a
documentary, but found very little to
“I realized there's nothing at Barnes &
Noble or any of these bookstores about
any of these artists that I'm trying to talk
about,” Torres said. “There might be a
few magazines that had one article here
and one article there.”
Torres began buying every hip hop
articles he was interested in and stapled
them onto his own pages, designing
the layout of his own magazine. He
noticed that hip hop magazines weren’t
cleanly as the art books and journals he
grew accustomed to at UF. He wanted
to incorporate the quality, care, and
sensibility presented in the art world
with hip hop journalism.
“I wanted to create something that
people would want to collect and hold
on to, just like the records and the music
In late 2000, he began to involve a
friend from UF, Brian DiGenti, in the
process of creating this new magazine.
DiGenti lived in San Diego, so he and
Torres shared music by playing records
over the phone to each other.
Torres cold-called hip hop artists and
He quit his job at the World Trade Center
in August 2001 – just a month before the
9/11 attacks that would take down both
towers of the World Trade Center and
change the world forever.
Torres pushed forward with his vision,
and after over a year of work, he and
DiGenti “naively went into the world of
of Wax Poetics was independently
published featuring revered artists such
“I didn't know anything about the
distribution game,” Torres said. “(We)
had to wait until we got all that money
did a second one. And then slowly, but
surely, it picked up.”
Wax Poetics is now on its 68th volume
and counting. The magazine is released
bimonthly and has expanded to include
translated Japanese publication. Old
issues of Wax Poetics are also highly
going for $65-plus on eBay.
Today, Torres remains an owner of
Wax Poetics but hasn’t been creatively
down as editor-in-chief, he worked as an
executive editor for Genius, a database
that documents song lyrics and their
interpretations, in its partnership with
Spotify, the popular music streaming
app. He oversaw the creation of Spotify's
Behind the Lyrics feature, which gives
insight into the creation and inspiration
behind popular tracks and albums.
In December 2016, Torres began working
for Universal Music Enterprises, one
of the biggest record companies in the
world. He is the Vice President of Urban
Catalog, and manages the catalogs of
some of the industry’s most popular
Drake, and Rhianna.
He has also worked with some of those
artists he obsessed over as a student at
Jesuit, namely Slick Rick.
“When I look back, the 15-year old me
is sort of pinching myself going, ‘Is this
really my job?’”
They are America’s music meccas, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, Tampa …
Tampa? Well, it might not quite stack up to those aforementioned epicenters, but
Tampa has a thriving music scene. A few Jesuit graduates, among them business partners
Randy Ojeda ’08 and Jason Solanes ’08, and Evan Rubinson ’10, have music companies
Randy Ojeda ’08 and Jason Solanes ’08
In May 2014, Ojeda and Solanes started Cigar City MGMT, an artist management company
and record label. But their friendship and partnership stems back to their time at Jesuit.
They were both in a metal band called Black Smoke Theory, where Solanes
strummed guitar and Ojeda sang lead vocals. They continued to play together as
students at the University of South Florida. The band disbanded, but Ojeda and
Solanes continued playing local venues as a duo. However, they split when Ojeda
started law school at Loyola Chicago in 2012.
There, Ojeda began planning the launch of an artist management company and
made a placeholder website for Cigar City MGMT. Before the business was even
website and reached out to Ojeda. With an artist already on board, Ojeda called
“Randy is my best friend,” Solanes said. “I wanted to be involved in any music
projects he had going on.”
Solanes was a cigar salesman in Ybor City when he was asked to become CFO
of Cigar City MGMT. He has helped expand the label’s roster to 11 bands and
artists from around the world, including Fever Beam from St. Petersburg. Ojeda
between Tampa and New York, where most of their clients are based.
“People recognize me at shows in New York,” Ojeda said.
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