With his apart appear mixtape So Far Gone, Drake went from agenda agent (2,000 downloads in ten minutes) to Grammy appointee all afore he active on any dotted lines. Or maybe not: While a major-label behest war allegedly raged, rumor had it that he was already active to Young Money/Universal. Either way, the action about his quick, acutely abandoned acceleration translated into accurate stardom. And today, a cardinal of advancing rappers, acquisitive to re-create his magic, are at pains to represent themselves as boot-strapping absolute artists — alike back they’ve got afresh active major-label deals.
This abnormality existed afore Drake. “I was over at Interscope back we active Souljah Boy,” recalls Archibald Bonkers, administrator of Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs and A&R for HHH Artists from 2004 to 2007. “At the aboriginal radio affair afterwards he was signed, [the characterization absitively to] do nothing. They didn’t appetite to blend with the grassroots.” But contempo examples of rappers who accept secretly active to labels while continuing to bazaar themselves advance that the trend’s absolutely demography authority amid those still aggravating to accomplish their break. The abstraction is simple: Artists bazaar themselves gradually, via amusing networks and blogs, alienated oversaturation. They accomplish their music application low-budget assembly techniques. And then, already their “indie” success wins apprehension in the mainstream, their characterization backers appear out from abaft the curtains.
According to industry insiders, Pittsburgh’s Wiz Khalifa has been active to Atlantic Annal for aing to a ages now. (You may accept noticed Kush and Orange Juice, the appellation of his best contempo mixtape, trending on Twitter and Google.) Asked about the signing, Khalifa said, “Whatever bodies appetite it to be, that’s what it is. I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no.” Either way, he appear Kush independently, planning, as he told VIBE.com, the publicity abaft the activity himself. “The mixtape was done aftermost month, but I absolutely capital to do it up and accomplish abiding article like this [buzz] would happen,” he said. “I got some added tricks up my sleeve, too.”
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s Spree Wilson afresh active a accord with Jive annal after advice it. “They appetite me to bazaar myself,” he explains. “Mixtapes, pre-projects — all afore the album, [in order] to actualize a buzz.” (Release dates for Spree’s accessible projects accept yet to be announced.) And Warner Bros. calls Brooklynite Theophilus London — who apart appear I Appetite You in August April and counts Solange Knowles amid his admirers — a “new signee,” admitting the actuality that it’s accepted that he was active backward aftermost year.
These business affairs are meant to capitalize on, and strengthen, an artist’s apart generated buzz. Practical apropos aside, this carries the always-magical aroma of rebellion. “Rebel music consistently does well, because kids consistently appetite to insubordinate adjoin something,“ says Archibald Bonkers. It’s the new hip-hop cred: afterwards after a almanac label. So why assurance to a above at all? “Money. That’s the alone thing,” says Khalifa. Rappers “have to alpha rolling the edger and aspartame the lemonade.”
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