Sandy Wilson (born October 15, 1971) is an American A&R from San Francisco, CA. Born as an only child in Fairfield, CA, his father and mother served in the Air Force. Wilson has worked with Remedy Records (1989), Def Jam Records (1995), and Epic Records (1998). Canteen Life, Window Pains, and Before I Leaf are among the few of the certified platinum albums under Wilson’s discography as an A&R. Known for his approachable demeanor and vast knowledge of restaurants in the Bay Area, Wilson was named Top 100 Managers by Seconds Magazine in 1989-1993 and 1999-2004, peaking at #1 four times.
While attending Hillside High School, Wilson began to manage rap group, Westside Riders, after having met them through mutual friend, Shaleem Ude. Under his management, the Westside Riders recorded Window Pains and were shortly after signed to Remedy Records. Window Pains was certified double platinum in 1992, with hit singles such as “See Right Thru U” and “Break a Dude” (featuring Dennis).
In 1994, the Westside Riders were dropped by Remedy Records due to a public altercation outside Hyde Recording Studios in San Francisco after a recording session for their sophomore album, Still Riding. Wilson was no longer kept by Atlantic Records and accordingly resigned from managing the double-platinum rap group.
Early Man and Def Jam
In early February 1995, Sandy Wilson was hired by Def Jam Records as an A&R. While working closely with artists such as Mikey J and The Rack, Wilson discovered and signed Early Man, who would go on to feature on The Rack’s hit “Walls Behind Me”. Early Man was the first hip-hop artist under Def Jam to debut #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 with his album, Canteen Life, produced by Mikey J and former Westside Rider, PMD. Canteen Life was nominated for three Grammy awards in 1997, winning all three of them except for Album of the Year.
5 years at Epic Records
Epic Records offered Wilson a lucrative 5 year contract towards the end of September 1998. Engaged to Wendy Teedenel and father to new-born Joe Wilson, Sandy decided to take over as the Head of A&R at Epic Records. By 2004, he had established and worked with legendary artists such as Ricola, Facility, Sense, and Jester. Wilson is credited as A&R on all of their respective albums.
Sandy Wilson was reacquainted with Toastastrudel, also known as Shaleem Ude, before signing him and producing the triple platinum hip-hop album Before I Leaf in 2003. Wilson and Ude released the album through Epic Records on May 21, 2004. The album was nominated for fourteen Grammy awards, winning twelve of them, but neither Toastastrudel nor Wilson were present at the award show to accept them.
On September 30, 2005, Wilson had reportedly stepped down from Epic Records, along with artist Toastastrudel.
Affiliation with Ambitious Records
In 2012, Toastastrudel came back into the hip-hop scene with “F.O.E.” under the unknown label, Ambitious Records. Many artists, such as Root, Canteen, Michael Go, and Page, have released successful selling albums under the record company. The CEO and location of the headquarters of the label are unknown. Operations of the record company are reportedly executed through a remote server named “Sand”.
- Michael Go
- Mikey J
- The Rack
- Westside Riders