Death Over Designer

“Fashion killed rock and roll. Fashion killed contemporary art, and turned it vulgar. And if hip-hop artists are not careful it will also kill hip-hop.”

– Jean Touitou, Founder of A.P.C. (via Style.com)

Kanye West in Givenchy kilt

Kanye West in Givenchy kilt

Gianni Versace is rolling over in his grave. Not only was the legendary designer murdered, but his brand is slowly as well. The cause of death; rappers. I initially wanted to write this article six months ago when Givenchy, Balmain, and Alexander Wang were the victims, but now is the right time. With luxury rap at an all time high, at what point do consumers stop feeding into the garbage coming from their speakers and remain practical? (Do you really need an $120 white tee from the Kanye West x A.P.C. collection? Absolutely not.) First, more than half of the rappers who rap about these luxury goods can’t really afford them. Second, you all look stupid! Kilts, capes, and long shirts that look like dresses? I’ll pass…

“I made Jesus Walks, so I’m never going to hell
Couture level flow is never going on sale
Luxury rap, the Hermes of verses
Sophisticated ignorance, write my curses in cursive”

– Kanye West (“Otis“)

Whether it is considered high fashion or not, it looks ridiculous on most. Although trends are meant to be set, they don’t always have to be followed. Enter Migos; if you aren’t familiar with the Atlanta-based trio, allow me the honor of introducing you. Quavo, Offset (currently incarcerated), and TakeOff have been buzzing the streets and Internet with their latest mixtape, YRN, filled with nursery rhymes and catchy choruses. One of the songs from mixtape, titled Versace, took off and sprung the attention of Drake, who later added his own verse. The simplicity of the hook, not only has everyone singing it, but scrambling for every last nickel in their piggy banks to afford the brands clothes. For example, at the 2013 BET Awards in June, DJ Drama, J. Cole, and Brandon T. Jackson all showed up in the same sweater. Not only was this embarrassing for all three, but the Migos Halloween costume officially indicated that hip-hop has killed the brand.

BET Awards

(L to R: DJ Drama, J. Cole, Brandon T. Jackson) – 2013 BET Awards

“Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace

Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace

Versace, Versace Versace, Versace Versace

Versace, Versace Versace, Versace Versace”

– Migos (“Versace”)

With respect to the BET Awards wardrobe incident, Complex author James Harris said it best, “If anything, this serves as a very public reminder that style is not achieved by simply copping an expensive and/or rare piece and throwing it on. Creating a representation of your personal sense of style and aesthetic takes much more than that, and should be much more about attitude and perspective than price tag and brand name.” Therefore, let’s leave the styling to Kanye and A$AP Rocky who actually collaborate with designers like A.P.C., Givenchy, and Raf Simmons and appreciate the way the clothes are made.

“I rather buy 80 gold chains and go ign’ant

I know Spike Lee gone kill me but let me finish

Blame it on the pigment, we living no limits

Them gold Master P ceilings was just a figment” 

– Kanye West (“Clique”)

Of course the ultimate goal in hip-hop is to make money and live comfortably – the American dream – but there’s a right and a wrong way to do this. In the latest episode of Complex TV’s The Combat Jack Show, Yonkers MC Styles P was asked what the, “dumbest rapper shit he’s ever done” was. His response; “waste money.” He continued by saying, “Living by hip-hop standards is the stupidest fucking thing you can do.” With that being said, don’t be surprised if you see the veteran rapper riding the Metro North rather than walking the streets of SoHo! It’s always good to see a artist with longevity realize the importance of good credit and paying taxes rather than trying to maintain a high fashion wardrobe.

A$AP Rocky with designer Alexander Wang

A$AP Rocky with designer Alexander Wang

I’ll leave you with this riddle – a white rapper from Seattle, WA named Macklemore walks into a thrift shop with only $20 in his pocket. 4 minutes later, he comes out with three platinum singles and almost 900,000 copies of his album sold independently. On the other side of the United States, an Atlanta rapper named Ca$h Out buys a condo for his wrist and signs with LA Reid’s Epic Records, but most likely can no longer afford the condo he lives in and a debut album nowhere in sight. Oh yeah, don’t be surprised if Trinidad James is in a Cash4Gold commercial in the near future!

Heads up Tom Ford and MCM, hip-hop is coming for you next…

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Versace2

Update: After doing a little research, I have found some more interesting statistics on this topic. Last week, I visited the Versace store in SoHo, NYC and spoke with a salesman. After telling about my article, we began to discuss sales, and the overall business of the company. He told me that he is surprised how a predominately gay fashion line has completely crossed-over into the hip-hop culture. Furthermore, he said that all mens shoes and clothes are constantly sold out in the New York and Atlanta stores and the demand is hard to keep up with. On the other hand, sales in the women’s department aren’t as strong. As you can see from the pictures, Versace is a supporter of The Notorious B.I.G., as well as The Christopher Wallace Foundation. In fact, they even sell the glasses and jewelry he commonly wore supporting the brand. Fascinating stuff.

Versace3

Versace1————————————————————————————————-

Update #2Jay Z Causes Huge Spike in Tom Ford Searches on Yahoo

Album Review: J. Cole – Born Sinner

The other day, my good friend Adam Friedman posted a lengthy review on his Facebook of J. Cole’s sophomore album Born Sinner (In stores Tuesday, June 18th). As a former blogger himself (RIP FreshRespect.Blogspot.com), and a passionate J. Cole fan, as soon as I read his review I knew need to give him this outlet to share his thoughts on the rising Roc Nation superstar. Below you will find Adam’s story on how he witnessed a young J. Cole perform in 2009 to the success he has seen him achieve in 2013. Hope you enjoy.

Born Sinner Cover

By Adam Friedman

On a cold, wet Wednesday night in 2009, a buddy of mine (the only one I could convince) and I took a drive up 81N to the Schine Student Center of Syracuse University. We had class pretty early the next morning, but the chance to see a young and budding Wale was too tempting. We rolled up in more than one way, just as some clowns from Ithaca College would be expected too.

The venue was small, dark, and literally had no stage. We stood right in front of the floor level microphone surrounded by unplugged instruments, completely oblivious to what we were in for. Some time passed, but the dim-lit student center was still far from full.

“We would like to welcome Roc Nation’s first signed artist. This is his first show as a member of Roc Nation so show him some love, ladies and gentlemen: J. Cole.” The place stayed pretty quiet as a six-foot-three St. John’s alum took a nervous walk toward the mic…

Hip hop is still a relatively young genre that over the last decade has been destroyed from the inside-out due to the average consumers need for instant gratification. Due to the invention of the iPod and the dreaded playlist, a cohesive project is no longer desired, regardless of the genre. The truth is, musicians as a whole have had no choice but to succumb to the lazy strategy of making hits over substance to stay relevant over recent years. Internet blogs (oops) and the iTunes Store have helped solidify the platform that the average listener uses as a crutch, looking for the new hit; the song that everyone is going to want to hear, as opposed to appreciating the full sound, the common theme, the cohesive project of the artist. Some of the greatest rappers of all time wouldn’t even stand a chance in today’s market.

J. Cole’s second album “Born Sinner” is a self-loathing reflection on his career thus-far, covering the mistakes and wrongdoings that he has committed due to the temptations within the industry, as well as the journey leading to it: women, money, and fame. The album is similar to a confessional at church for the sins that Cole is ultimately expected to make, as the title of the album indicates.

Villuminati is quite the introduction, not like we expected anything less. The combination of a Biggie sample and the hook “sometimes I brag like Hov” is a clear indication that Cole is ready to be compared to the best. How do you define greatness? Comparison to the best to ever do it. “Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Cole.”

The next five songs (with the exception of the Mo Money Interlude) highlight the tempting lifestyle that comes with the fame, focusing primarily on women. Each song is very different from the other, but the message is clear, women are always on Cole’s mind, and Cole loves him some pussy. In LAnd of the Snakes, he starts getting used to L.A., enjoying the simple pleasures of the beautiful women around him, especially the “Sunday’s with a cherry on-top.” He falls in love on the lead single Power Trip, as shown in the music video featuring Miguel. Cole starts to open his eyes with the help of some liquor on Trouble, “liquor all in my breath, bitches all in my sight.” He is fully aware of the predictability of the women he can bring home each and every night, and clearly, they are all trouble. Runaway is a self-reflection on his past relationships and how he continues to runaway from the commitment and consequences that they may entail. “How the fuck did my life become a damn love song?” is a confession that can be guided back to the lyrics of Power Trip and how easily one can fall in love. The bottom line is, you have to be careful about what you say and do around females, especially in his position as a rapper. Being famous makes nothing easier, as much as the average person may envy the celebrity lifestyle. Cole admits his mistakes to us and asks for forgiveness by explaining the inter-workings of his mind, most importantly as to why he committed these sins, whether it is cheating or sleeping around, and how they are basically inevitable in some situations.

The next phase of the album actually began after Power Trip with the Mo Money Interlude in which Cole has his first experience with some substantial capital gain. Life is good (so it seems), as he goes down the line on different ways different people spend their money. The focus on the temptation of money continues with Rich Niggaz, the song that sounds closest to Pre-RocNation Cole. This track centers around the uneven distribution of wealth within the industry. He uses examples of his life before fame; a fatherless kid with a hardworking mother, a drug user who still did everything she could to keep the family stable, to show how easy it is for corporations to sell you your dreams and get you a ticket out of poverty. Little do you know, you’re stepping into a different kind of struggle, although one is much worse than the other. The song focuses on the forgotten evil surrounding money, and where you put a price on selling out. “There go you, selling me dreams and, telling me things you knew, said, you got what I want, I got what you need, how much for your soul…”

Where’s Jermaine and Forbidden Fruit are the climax of the album, the indication that Jermaine has woken up and is stronger than the temptations that have arose. The gospel choir is presumably a remembrance of Fayetteville, a wake up call if you will. Forbidden Fruit is a clear play off of the story of Adam and Eve, but the message of the song lies in the shared bridge of Cole and Kendrick. “Bitches come and go (you know that), money come and go (you know that), love come and go (don’t shit last)” is a simplification of Cole’s past struggles over the course of the album. Men and women both cheat, money is spent regardless, and love is lost. Nothing lasts forever. This realization is what makes Forbidden Fruit a celebration for Cole overcoming his temptations over the course of his career, most notably with women and money. It’s also dope that he has the voice of Kendrick Lamar to help guide him.

Next up is Chaining Day, a much less dramatic song about the temptation for material things, most importantly the jesus piece, a common symbol within post 90’s hip hop culture. It’s his money and he’s going to do what he wants with it, what’s important is that it keeps coming. The song ends with “ok I lied,” the same line that the next track, Ain’t That Some Shit begins with. This next track is Cole’s bragging moment. As dark as the first half of the album was, you know Cole wasn’t going to leave us without going off on some bars about the good in his life. He now has control over his relationships, he’s traveling the world, and he’s repping his name, home, and family in the best way that he can.

The positive message behind Crooked Smile matched with the catchy hook sung by TLC will guarantee regular radio rotation all summer long. What is amazing is the ability to squeeze in a hit without making it stand out. This is what Cole will be remembered for over the course of his long career. The song is about not changing who you are for anybody, most notably his crooked smile and how far he has gotten with it. Why change now?

After the release of his debut album “Sideline Story,” it was clear that songs were grabbed from various projects and pieced together to form somewhat of a marketable product. Perhaps his biggest hit to date (Workout) was criticized by one of Cole’s biggest inspirations, Nasty Nas. Let Nas Down is the perfect way for Jermaine to tell the world that he is done with the bullshit. If a song sells, it sells, but the charts aren’t the main focus anymore. “Yeah, long live the idols, may they never be your rivals, Pac was like Jesus, Nas wrote the Bible, Now what you’re bot to hear’s a tale of glory and sin, No I.D. my mentor now let the story begin.” The hook says it all: he let down the people that he is really in the game for. This song is an indicator that change has come.

The biggest difference between this project and his debut album is the clear intention for the album to be listened to from start to finish. One could say that the strongest song of the album (Forbidden Fruit) is ruined by the 90-second conclusion in which “Lil Cole” walks into the jewelry store feeling himself, rambling about the “rose gold joint” and “the platinum watch.” The mini-skit seems out of place, until the next song Chaining Day begins. “Look at me, pathetic nigga, this chain that I bought, you mix greed pain and fame this is heinous result.” The contrast is intentional, showing how easy it is for anyone to fall off track and get distracted by the fame. The only way to understand this message is by listening to the album in order, from top to bottom. IN any other order and it loses its’ meaning entirely. The album also begins and ends with the same hook sung by James Fauntleroy, “I’m a Born Sinner, but I die better than that.” The project comes full circle, as Born Sinner acts as the ending credits for the movie that was “Born Sinner.”

Cole’s second album is far from the expected sophomore slump. Born Sinner challenges the everyday hip hop fan to listen for more than a hot beat and witty punchlines. The idea is dark, sinister, and above all honest, something that mainstream rap culture has been missing for far too long. The cohesive theme revolves around temptation, whether it be chasing money, girls, or fame. We are all born sinners, but as life goes on we get better, simple as that. J. Cole’s highly anticipated second album Born Sinner hits shelves Tuesday June 18th! Support real hip hop!!

Roc-E Ramsey – No Way I Can Lose

Over the last few month’s, I have been working on a new EP with rapper Roc-E Ramsey from Ithaca, NY titled “Soul Proprietor.” The entire project is produced by Dash Galaxy and  is due out at the end of the month. Today, I’m happy to present you the first single, “No Way I Can Lose.” I hope you all enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

No Way I Can Lose Cover

Update: Video version

 

About Roc-E Ramsey: 

Eric Walker, born November 28, 1986, better known by his stage name Roc-E Ramsey is an American rapper from Ithaca, New York. Roc-E Ramsey is currently preparing for the release of his EP Soul Proprietor, produced entirely by Dash Galaxy.

The 3rd of 5 siblings, Roc-E Ramsey was brought up in a well educated home and actively played football in order to stay out of trouble. Although a few opportunities were presented to join a semi-pro team, Roc-E Ramsey’s poor academics stemming from dyslexia, as well as the influences of his surroundings prevented his athletic career. Understanding the difference between right and wrong, Roc-E Ramsey began speaking up and expressing himself through writing raps. Roc-E Ramsey says, “If I can’t get my point across in a rhyme, it’s not a point worth making.” Influenced by the storytelling of hip-hop great Nas, the honesty of DMX, the melodies of The Temptations, and the crowd control of James Brown, Roc-E Ramsey plans on sharing his perspectives and his personal struggles in his latest project, Soul Proprietor. Additionally, the Roc-A-Fella Records era, along with Beanie Sigel, have inspired Roc-E Ramsey due to the musical resemblances the two artists poses.

What sets Roc-E Ramsey a part is his ability to provide insight and substance within his music. As someone who has overcome extreme obstacles in life, nothing is impossible for the 26 year-old lyricists. “I hope to show the world not just my vantage point, but how I got here, and what I wish I had done differently,” Roc-E Ramsey says about his own expectations and career aspirations.

Roc-E Ramsey’s EP Soul Proprietor is due to be released on June 1st, 2013

For more information, please visit:

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/RocRamsey

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/pages/Roc-E-Ramsey/124955457677861?ref=ts&fref=ts

SoundCloud: www.Soundcloud.com/roc-e-ramsey

Thinking Outside of the Box: An Interview with Billy Mann

Billy_Mann

Billy Mann

Resume:

Singer/Songwriter/Producer

 Founder/CEO of Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Chairman of management firm Manncom

GBTopline Logo

Former President of New Music A&R International and President of Global Artist Management at EMI Music

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Billy Mann is an executive you want to know. While many of the industries power players are in front of the camera promoting their labels and brands, Billy is quietly doing that same. Prior to the formation of his companies Green & Bloom/Top1ine & Manncom, Billy Mann was writing and producing for P!nk (“God Is a DJ,” “Stupid Girls,” “I’m Not Dead” and “Nobody Knows”), Robyn (“My Only Reason”), Backstreet Boys (“Poster Girl,” Panic,” “Love Will Keep You Up All Night,” and “Unexpected Sunday Afternoon”) Celine Dion (“Treat Her Like A Lady” and “Amar Haciendo el Amor”), and more. Additionally, during his time at EMI Music, Billy Mann was responsible for helping to launch David Guetta‘s worldwide career. With so much accomplished and experience behind him, having the ability to talk with him was an honor. The information being shared is something that I believe will benefit aspiring artists of all genres. I hope you enjoy this interview and acquire the same amount of knowledge as I did. Please let me know what you think! Leave a comment or send me an email.

Interview Breakdown:

Explanation of Green & Bloom/Topl1ne and Manncom  (0:08 – 3:00)

Talking about his artist Alex Aiono & the struggles aspiring artists are facing (3:01 – 5:34)

What to look for in an aspiring artist (5:35 – 7:38)

How important is it for executives to think globally (7:39 – 10:33)

The importance of publishing and other business aspects of the music industry (10:34 – 15:48)

How Billy learned the music business and his thoughts on music business programs in schools (15:49 – 18:29)

Conclusion (18:30 – 19:50)

21st Century Soul: An Interview with John Legend

John Legend Flyer

This past Friday (March 29), I had the opportunity to talk with 9-time Grammy Award winning singer John Legend. Along with Julia Klein of Slope Media Group, she and I traded off questions to Mr. Legend ranging from his college days at The University of Pennsylvania, philanthropic endeavors, his passion for music, and of course his new album Love In The Future, which is due out on June 25th. One of the things I hope you conclude from both reading this article and listening to the interview is that John Legend credits passion and luck to where he is today. As he mentioned to us, “You’ve gotta meet the right people, you’ve gotta have a roommate who’s Kanye’s cousin and that helps.”

John Legend Breezy

Going into this interview I wasn’t the biggest fan of John’s music, but I certainly have great respect for him and his talents. After about 15-minutes of speaking with him, followed by about an hour or so lecture and performance, I now know that John Legend truly enjoys sharing his voice to his audience through teaching. As a committed philanthropist, John Legend is on the board of Teach For America and the Harlem Village Academy. He also spends a lot of time trying to improve inner city schools and education reform. I guess we’re all just ‘ordinary people’…

The promotion for your new album Love In The Future is now underway. Last week you released two new tracks; the first being the Hit-Boy produced “The Beginning” and the official single “Who Do You Think We Are” featuring Rick Ross. What has the initial feedback been on these tracks?

It’s been great. Only time will tell with these things because a lot of it is determined as things get to radio and they kind of build an audience from week to week so we’ll see how it goes, but so far I’ve almost seen nothing but positive feedback and so I feel good about it. I feel very proud of the songs themselves, I feel very proud of the album and I think it’s going to be my best album yet so I’m excited.

Personally, I think “Who Do You Think We Are” is an incredible track. The passion and soul you incorporate with the Jean Knight sample is really something everyone could enjoy. On top of that, Rick Ross’ vocals glide right over the beat. Obviously the chemistry between you guys is undeniable from “Magnificent” to “Sweet Life”, “Rich Forever” and Meek Mill’s “Maybach Curtains.” With that being said, can you explain your relationship with Rick Ross and when are we getting a collaboration album! 

Well, Rick and I aren’t close friends who call each other up and hang out, it’s more of a professional relationship, but it’s one of mutual respect for each other as artists and the recognition that we really do sound good together. So we’ve done a lot of those tracks and we have similar musical sensibilities, I think. When it comes to bringing hip-hop and soul together, our voices just work really well together. And, it is often been kind of discussed the idea that we could do something together as a full album and I think that it is still possible.

Love in the Future, new album is coming out June 25th, and the title has a few meanings. Of course you’re getting married so congratulations on that, and on top of that you said it’s about the style of music that’s on the album which you called a 21st century soul album. So what is the meaning behind a 21st century soul album and what can we look for?

Well you know, when I went into this project the main thing I talked about with my collaborators was, everyone knows I do kind of a vintage soul sound, everyone compares me to singers that came like 40 years ago. How do we keep that but still move the music forward? That was really the mission musically and creatively, thinking about how to make a really beautiful modern soul album that was the goal.

In regards to your 2008 album Evolver, you’ve mentioned that during that time period Kanye wasn’t really around to be fully invested in your project…

Kanye’s been more involved in this album then any of my other albums.

Kanye/John

Does it feel like the Get Lifted era again?

I think there are some elements of that, but he’s actually more creatively involved in this album then Get Lifted. Once again, he was involved in those albums, but this time less as a beat maker and more of a creative advisor or executive producer.

I wanted to take a moment and reflect on your career, specifically as a member of G.O.O.D. Music. When you see everything from Consequence acting crazy on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop to G.O.O.D. Music affiliate Travi$ Scott on this years XXL Freshman cover to Big Sean & 2 Chainz becoming hip-hop superstars, what are you thoughts on the evolution of G.O.O.D. Music and where it is now? 

GOOD Music

Well, I think Kanye has great taste and he is a great executive producer and a great creative mind, and so he’s been good at signing some really talented people. Some of those people are more unofficial G.O.O.D. Music members, like 2 Chainz, but either way, Kanye knows talent and he knows people that have something special and he’s able to help them become even better than they were without him. I think those two things; the ability to help them get better and ability to find them in the first place, are two things that make a great label executive.

Signed "Cruel Summer" CD

Signed “Cruel Summer” CD

What’s next for you in preparation for the album?

We have a video for “Who Do You Think We Are” that we shot last week, and that will be coming out in April. The video is awesome. Then we’ll put out another single right before the album comes out and we’ll keep on moving. We’ll be touring in Europe over the summer doing festivals, then we’ll come back to the States and do a U.S. tour in the fall/winter and I’m excited to roll this out.    

Update: John Legends album “Love in the Future” will now be released on September 3rd, 2013

A River of Nickels

“In business it’s about who wants you the most” 

– T.I. (Interview with Larry King for OraTV)

Record Dea;

In recent years, the phrase, “How did [insert rapper here] get a record deal when my flow and lyrics are so much better” has been said one too many times. The truth of the matter is that maybe you are better, but you are failing to make the necessary connections in order to enhance your career. Those who have generated organic, viral fans bases rather than spamming people on Twitter and Facebook have seen the greatest reward. One of the beauties of seeing your music reach maximum attention gives you the ability to understand your fan base and value your worth as a musician. 1 million followers do not translate into $1 million dollars.

“We’re a team, 360 degrees, we will reach your goals!

We’ll get a third of the merch that you sell out on the road

Along with a third of the money you make when you’re out doing your shows

Manager gets 20, booking agent gets 10

So shit, after taxes you and Ryan have 7% to split”

– Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (“Jimmy Iovine”)

Record deals come in two forms these days: 360 deals or joint venture label deals. Recently, we have see Drake form his own label through Warner Bros. Records, in 2011, A$AP Rocky’s deal with Sony/RCA Records/Polo Grounds gave him $3 million and the ability to form his own label A$AP Worldwide, and most recently Trinidad Jame$’ $2 million and Chief Keef’s $6 million deals, respectively.

Bottom line is that you get what you negotiate and despite the hate Chief Keef frequently receives, he got exactly what he wanted. In a recent article by DNAInfo.com Chicago, Keef’s lucrative deal was broken down in ways most people outside the industry rarely see.

chiefkeeffinallyrich

Below, I have simplified and broken down the deal so that aspiring artists/record label owners know what to look for and negotiate when the time comes.

  • Number of albums: 3
  • Must sell 250,000 copies of debut “Finally Rich” by Dec. 31, 2013 in order for Interscope to continue to release Keef’s music

         Note: “Finally Rich” has sold 192,137 copies as of August 1, 2013

  • Advance: Upfront money that is paid directly to a recording artist: $440,000
  • Album Budget: Money used to pay for studio time, producers, and other expenses during the creating of album: $300,000
  • Creation of imprint “Glory Boyz Entertainment (GBE)”
    • Separate 3-year deal
    • GBE Advance: $440,000; additional $180,000 + 40% ownership internship for Chief Keef & manager; additional $10,000 + 10% ownership interest to GBE rapper Fredo Santana
    • GBE Overhead Expenses: Expenses of operating a business: $200,000
    • If Interscope suffers $4.5 million in loses, contract is terminated

“You ask for slack and wanna get cut loose from the label

Not able ’cause you signed at the table

For a pretty cash advance, now they got a song and dance

That you didn’t recoup, more soup wit’ ya meal?

‘Cause this is the real when you get a record deal”

–       A Tribe Called Quest (“Show Business”)

Although Chief Keef may have had the luck of the draw, others have to earn their multi-million dollar deals by way of seniority and longevity. After the December 2012 release of his album, Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head, Atlanta rapper T.I. became a free agent. After being signed to Atlantic Records for almost 11 years, rumor has it that the self-proclaimed “King of the South” is negotiating a highly structured deal that could earn him an estimated $75 million. If Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Sony, or Universal, all whom T.I. has met with, want him, they’re going to have to make some big promises.

TI-Dre

T.I. with Dr. Dre

  • 3 albums
  • 10-20% of publishing, touring, merchandise, film and TV rights
  • Endorsement deals with major corporations
  • Exclusive signing of all Grand Hustle artists

Ultimately, it’s your decision; you can be swimming in millions or you can be swimming in pennies and nickels. It’s simple; but you must recognize the difference of perception and reality first. You might be the best lyricist in the world, but can you make a hit record? You might have over 1,000,000 YouTube views, but do you have a local/regional foundation? Have you made your mark and created an impact? You also must take into consideration how times have changed. When T.I. went to L.A. Reid’s office at Arista Records in 2001, following his debut album, I’m Serious, and asked for a $2 million budget for his second album, he was dropped from the label immediately. Today, Trinidad Jame$ has one major song under his belt and limited rap experience, but earned himself his $2 million deal from Def Jam.

Remember, the same about of time you spend hating on an artist for the accomplishment, you could be spending advancing yourself; Talib Kweli taught me that!

T.I. with L.A. Reid

T.I. with L.A. Reid

Trinidad James

Trinidad Jame$

Missed my interview with T.I.? Check it out here!

Update: May 10, 2013 – T.I. Talks ‘$200 Million’ Major Label Deal & ‘G.D.O.D.’ Mixtape (via Billboard)