Photo Courtesy of Christopher Bucello (4$IDE)
According to entrepreneur and Westchester native Arden Franklyn, the county’s hip-hop culture is alive and beyond well.
By Hannah Teligades and Nick Brandi
Whether it was because of artists like Sean LOVE Combs, Mary J. Blige, the late DMX, or Jadakiss, it was clear to White Plains native Arden Franklyn from early on that the 914 boasted some legit street cred in the worlds of hip-hop and R&B. The problem was, not enough other people knew that, which is why, in 2016, the then-22-year-old decided to get remedial about it. The result is 4$IDE, a multimedia music company that spans several platforms, bringing attention to Westchester’s own rap, hip-hop, and R&B scenes. The company also makes original content covering the Black community and culture in Westchester through its podcasts, playlists, record label, performances, and online articles.
Franklyn fondly refers to Westchester as “the 914” — an inspiration he drew from one of his favorite artists, Canadian rapper Drake, who nicknamed his home city of Toronto “the 6IX” or “6-side,” for its 416 area code. As a savvy cultural observer, Franklyn saw the same potential for similarly branding his home county.
4$IDE takes a multi-platform approach to the music business (not unlike Combs himself, who is a virtual genius at vertical marketing and diversification). Using his background as a sports journalist to maximize impact and efficacy, Franklyn’s philosophy is: “The more you can offer, the better.” He sees 4$IDE as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on topics and people that may have been overlooked otherwise, and he takes pride in covering not only hip-hop culture in places like Yonkers and Mount Vernon but the 914 community as a whole. “We’re seeing talent come out of places like New Rochelle, Greenburgh, and White Plains — Peekskill especially is having one heck of a run right now,” Franklyn says.
Pivotal to the success of 4$IDE were nominal startup costs that Franklyn supplemented over time. “The business really began with our podcast,” says Franklyn, “which then was basically just studio time. After we started getting traction, it was about investing in better equipment and personnel, to burnish the brand.”
Those modest startup costs meant the business could turn a profit sooner, which Franklyn reports he started seeing in 2019, after his company stepped up its merchandising portfolio and began deriving revenue from advertising and sponsorships associated with 4$IDE’s content creation and overall brand. Today, 4$IDE is not only profitable but has added approximately 10 contributors who collaborate with Franklyn to grow a multilevel media network that has been viewed more than three million times on key social media platforms. Last October, the company also launched its own record label, 4$IDE Music.
With more than four million views across its platforms (which include Instagram, Apple Music, and YouTube), 4$IDE is on track to represent the burgeoning talent pool in Westchester. Its roster of collaborators already includes rappers like Niko Brim, Steelyone, BTB, Big Mont, and Iman Nunez, along with singers Everything Omega, Jalen Taylor, Jordan Ariel, and Kool Kidd Dre.
“I really enjoy enjoying what’s new,” Franklyn notes with palpable passion.
But for all the number-crunching and administrative issues that he attends to from his office at Koi Creative Space in White Plains, what comes shining through about Franklyn is his pure passion for the music, artists, and culture spawned in his home county. “People talk about Mary J. Blige is from Westchester and [the late] DMX is from Westchester, but as a community, I don’t think we’ve done enough to make people aware of our Westchester roots. I intend to change that.”
You can find 4$IDE at foursideny.com, listen to their podcasts on Apple Music or SoundCloud, and keep up with them on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.