Renowned West Coast rap veteran E-40 has shared his opinion on the independent struggle and why unsigned artists should be wary before inking a deal with major record labels.
In 40’s eyes, record labels often rush projects and try to externally create hit singles.
“You caught up in a deal and a lot of times they’ll water your a** down,” E-40 explained in an interview. “They gonna be chasing a single and water it down. They want to hear a single before they actually start investing their money in you. They’ll sign you but while you working on your album the A&R’s coming in there like ‘We got one!’ Now it could be good if you got a single that caters to the hood and it got crossover appeal, that’s the blessing. But that’s like one of them ones when you hit the lottery. That shit don’t happen all the time. A hit don’t just happen. A hit comes out of nowhere, like a real contractual hit. You can’t force that sh*t. It’s gotta come natural like an afro.” (Hip Hop DX)
Last year, Atlantic Records’ Lupe Fiasco stressed artists should consider going solo for dolo.
“Stay independent, if you can finance yourself, you put in that work ethic and do it on your own, I definitely think you should try that route,” Lupe explained in an interview. “[At least] before you go into the professional kind of realm. But each one has its pros and cons. Sometimes it comes down to finance. You can’t say that to a broke n*gga. Somebody flashing 50, 60 thousand dollars — that means a lot, especially these days…You gotta do what’s best for you but I definitely think that if you can muster it up and you got your focus and work ethic at least, you can pull something on your own.” (All Hip Hop)
Def Jam’s Fabolous previously offered some advice for rap newcomers including what mistakes could be made while at a major label.
“Really, I guess just coming in with not a lot of knowledge of what it takes to put out an album [is a mistake],” Fab explained in an interview. “Knowing the business relationship between you and your record label, a lot of people think it’s just going into the studio, being in the studio all night smoking and drinking and having your friends in there and then when the money don’t come back like it’s supposed to or the record labels taking every coin away from your album. Then they wanna look back and see what’s going on or flip out like, ‘Yo where’s my bread at?’ and it was there, but you ain’t do your business right. So I think everybody that comes in, you should talk with certain people or educate yourself to it by looking it up and checking out your business.” (Smack Tube)
Prior to signing with Universal Motown imprint Young Money, Drake contemplated remaining an independent artist last summer.
“I think if I did put out an album with no label, I think I could really prove a point which is the changing of a generation,” he said. “I feel like if I sign to a label and go platinum the first week, they’ll be like ‘Oh, it was the label push,’ but if I did it without, people might say this is really changing, the Internet is a powerful tool. And when you use it the right way, you can make magic happen. I really think it would be legendary, I don’t know how possible it is, because there’s different things you have to consider like distribution, marketing budget and what not. But we have a pretty strong team so I’ma see if we can make it happen.” (Semtex TV)
Check out some past E-40 footage below: