Today was a very nostalgic day. Besides having a few arguments about the current state of Hip Hop with my friend and colleague Victor Walker, (Ridin Durty Radio) he dropped a little known fact in my lap that had me at a loss for words; which is extremely hard to do.
In this day and age of artist with mega deals off of 1 single and other artist with label deals with ZERO track records or a “hint” of success, our discussion first started with the fact that Rocko is STILL an independent artist.
Hit after hit after hit and this guy still does it by his own rules and on his own terms. He should be saluted and respected for his business savvy and unrelenting mic aggression to go against the grain.
Our discussion then went to the lack of public support that Rick Ross is getting. Yes, he is still being public but over the last 6-9 months, it has NOT been a good PR campaign for MMG and Ross. It is quite clear that the media is on a head hunting expedition for all things Rozay and he doesn’t appear to be winning from the exterior but the other acts on the label are NOT affected, so (in Vic’s eye’s) that is a win.
Our take came from both sides and varying perspectives. Mine from the interior of being a former artist, producer, DJ and now, social media consultant and Vic’s coming from a syndicated radio host and industry executive with Grand Hustle, UnAuthorized Entertainment and Collipark Music. THIS discussion will be released later via video or audio but once we touched on the independence of Rocko he then dropped a bombshell on me.
I then had to throw out another endorsement for me to have a branch at the King Foundation to build up a self funded education initiative throughout Atlanta using the Smart is the NEW Cool brand and again, he quickly diverted the conversation back to music.
He told me to go look up iTunes and see who was trending.
I saw the list and I was so utterly embarrassed that I immediately got off the phone to do further research.
T.I. is a free agent.
Let me say that again…
- -one of the greatest rappers of all time
- -rubber-band man
- -founder of Grand Hustle
- -television star
- -media mogul
- -millions of records sold
- -light-skinned bro (we must unite, lol)
- -all around good guy and beloved by MILLIONS
- ….is a FREAKIN’ free agent.
And to further exacerbate the scenario, the new record featuring B.O.B and Kendrick Lamar “Memories Back Then”, that was release YESTERDAY (4/22/2013) and is already at #11 on the charts was released NOT under Grand Hustle but it was released under Hustle Gang.
Why isn’t this bigger news?
Vic did tell me that T.I. was on the cover of the Source Magazine lately speaking on his contract with Atlantic expiring but with the Source’s credibility as thin as dollar store Aluminum Foil, I stopped buying their magazine years ago. (Bullshit reviews)
Why isn’t this topic the hottest shit on the net to talk about?
Instead of us crawling up in some other celebrity’s ass, hidden camera’s, snapping photos from an obscure balcony or eavesdropping at a restaurant, we overlook some of the major pieces that impact our Hip Hop culture.
There is absolutely NO FREAKIN WAY that a commodity, such as T.I., should be on the open market.
Whatever his demands are/were should have been minor with the potential for growth that he has and more importantly the PROVEN track record that has been established since his emergence on the Atlanta-to-Global rap scene.
Look at the assets that come with him based on his track record.
Look at the potential pieces that could be brokered off individually if necessary under the Grand Hustle brand if you didn’t want JUST him. HIM alone is worth a blank check, EVERYTHING ELSE IS CAKE!
Is this where we are in Hip Hop?
Surely the label executives are smarther than that?
Will other artist be independent and/or start brokering their own deals?
Is a RocNation-HustleGang merger in the worksthat would be Armageddon and the END for all other rappers.
What is the future for all other acts on Grand Hustle?
Rumor has it the bidding war is ugly with numbers upwards to 75 Million for Hustle Gang.
I don’t see many people with the resources other than the major distributors with the capabilities to meet those demands. Maybe a combo of label + distributor…who knows?
But the fact remains; T.I. is OFFICIALLY a free agent and he is independently releasing music.
WHAT THE HELL HAS HIP HOP COME TO?