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Is signing under artist-lead record labels overall a bad idea?

Besides signing under Rick Ross (surprisingly), who promoted Meek Mill every chance he got by doing features and eventually giving Meek Mill his own record label, signing under artist-lead record labels is overall a bad idea?

To begin, J prince isn't even a rapper, but J Prince's Rap-a-Lot records pimps the hell out of his artists...Scarface didn't strike millions until Scarface became the president of Def Jam south and J Prince still has the nerve to claim credit over Scarface's entire career -- Scarface wrote his book on how he felt about J Prince and that's what triggered J Prince to write his rebuttal book.

Master P ran his label like a factory but his rappers became broke afterwards because they did not have any financial literacy and their money dried up after their careers did.

Birdman had Gillie The Kid and Juvenile ghostwrite for him. Birdman allows you to shine but he and his brother screws you over financially and they don't even pay for producer's beats. Lil Wayne basically signed a blood contract unable to leave cash money, even though he has his own Young Money imprint.

Gucci Mane went to jail and had to let go all of his signed artists, including Migos, etc. We have yet to see how it goes for Gucci's new 1017 label. Gucci had this infamous fallout with Waka Flocka over money issues and Waka retired from rapping because of contract issues

Rocafella was Dame Dash and Jay-Z until Jay-Z got greedy and wanted the whole pie and bought out Dame Dash when Def Jam bought Rocafella and named Jay-Z president. Kanye signing under Jay-Z just meant that Jay-Z sold Kanye's first 6 albums to Def Jam to get his own master's back.

Aaliyah died when she tried leaving her label. Family does not mix with business when it was her uncle's record label, and their family relations allowed her label to treat her like livestock, allowing her to be subjected to R Kelly and everything, just to make a hit.

People forget that Beyonce originated from the south and her daddy is super-gangsta when it comes to running Beyonce's career -- from selecting features to silencing the careers of Beyonce's competition, etc.

Biggie was reportedly broke when he died because Diddy owned all of Biggie's masters. Everybody that Diddy signs has to ghostwrite for Diddy, including Mase, Loon, etc. Diddy was such a bigger name than all his artists combined that his artists have to feed Diddy their best lyrics and they become washed-up in the process, listening to Diddy's suggestions instead of being their creative self -- just look at King Los. Dude wrote for Diddy and had enough bars to get out of that situation (when most could not) but couldn't sustain his own career to start it after doing his ghostwriting deeds.

2Pac signing with Deathrow was a gift and a curse. He got out of jail after Suge paid the bail money but then strange coincidences happened when 2Pac did all his 3 albums so fast that he wanted off of the label. The Makaveli album was done before the All Eyez on Me album, but Suge stalled 2Pac when it came to releasing his albums in the order 2Pac imagined it.

Eminem was a force before Dr Dre found him. Eminem ghostwrote for Dre, reviving his career, and got his own imprint. Same with 50 Cent. 50 was a force before Eminem found him. 50 didn't do much ghostwriting but he hated the 'structure'...50 didn't wait hand-over-fist for Dr Dre to slowly make his beats and instead got beats everywhere for his first album. 50 dropped mixtapes, got his imprint, and forced his label to drop his 2nd album with mixtapes having his album songs.

Signing with Shady records is like signing to a shadow that you cannot outrun. Eminem admitted that he used D12 as a stepping stone to gain Black acceptance in hip hop. Slaughterhouse is a mixed bag of: we want Eminem to cosign everything just like Rick Ross cosigned Meek Mill...BUT, we don't want Eminem to outshine us in every feature, and we have enough people in the group to make a 4-minute song. Eminem was the distant supporter watching Slaughterhouse consume themselves by overthinking their songs and going too 'pop/mainstream' on their album, and then blaming Eminem. Outside of 50, nobody else outran Eminem's shadow by signing under him.

Rakim signing to Aftermath was a mistake, because Dr Dre had the beats, but wanted Rakim to write gangsta lyrics, where Rakim declined and left. Dr Dre didn't clear a sample for Truth Hurts and had her project shelved (the sample deficit was taken out her album budget, making her unable to recoup it via album sales) due to his negligence that he thought he could get away with it, the same way timbaland and jay-z couldn't get away with the Big Pimpin' sample.

Roc Nation is a giant conglomerate filled with inconsistencies: They are a reflection of when business tactics supersedes creative arts...they drop Rhianna albums nonstop because it sells but are constipated when it comes to dropping the debut album of conscious rappers. Jay-Z likes to sign rappers who look up to Nas for some reason to his label, hear me out. Long before Roc Nation became an entity in 2008, 9th Wonder remixed Nas' God Son Album and Jay invited 9th Wonder to make a beat on the Black Album. Lupe Fiasco named himself after Nas' "Firm Fiasco" song and immediately got a Jay-Z cosign on his first album. In the beginning, it almost seemed like Jay-Z was doing a chess move, where he was going out his way to stretch his influence towards artists who looked up to Nas growing up. J Cole looked up to Nas and recited Nas lyrics growing up? Sign him to Roc Nation, but tell him that he could not release his album without a radio-friendly single, which spawned "Work Out", but then spawned "Let Nas Down." Jay Electronica recites Nas verses and did a Nas tribute song called "My World"? Sign him to Roc Nation and delay his debut "Act 2" album to death while scrapping it, then outrap him on his new debut album, which was more in Jay-Z's lane than Jay Electronica's lane, which was just movie score OSTs looped with no drums, compared to "A Written Testimony". Jay-Z's philosophy towards running his record label does not vibe well with Nas' prodigies, because ROC Nation instills the mentality of going platinum every album, but that gets in the way of hip hop creativity. Roc Nation's executives instills self doubt into careers like J Cole and Jay Electronica because the kryptonite of "conscious rappers" is "self doubt", unless you have enough experience to out-shake that feeling and just drop music while being creative. Roc Nation's philosophy has cross pollenated into other major record label executive's strategies as well, but this kills the creative artform. So after convincing J Cole and Jay Electronica that what they are making is not hot, Jay-Z proceeds to help you by cosigning all your features, taking your ideas and placing them on his albums first as a "beta test" (like when Jay Electronica's style is all over "Smile" and got Jay-Z rapping in Arabic on 4:44), and then outrapping you on your own song made in his lane, making you feel better, cloning his idealism into the next generation, when he's the source of self doubt in the first place. Jay-Z at this point in his career is just using younger, influential artists to prolong his longevity and relevancy in the game (similar to what Kanye and Drake does with talent under their labels...ghostwrite and produce hits for the bigger artist). All of Jay-Z's cosigns are strategic towards helping Jay-Z's relevancy in the game instead of the other way around -- and if you are signed under Roc Nation, Roc Nation's philosophy confuses/brainwashes their artists, making J Cole get fed up towards playing NBA basketball, etc, and Griselda would have been much bigger had they signed under some other label, but Roc Nation is A&R hell because their people is really good with business and strategy, but they don't allow artists to be creative and drop albums whenever they like to feed their fanbase unless it's projected to be multi-platinum (which means, no more mixtapes, just albums to rake in money for the label). Jay-Z's philosophy of going platinum every album kills creativity and kills creative people's careers in hip hop and that mentality is not sustainable...just look at Jay-Z, dude hasn't dropped an album in 4 years because he's scared it would break his platinum album streak unless he finds another samsung/sprint deal loophole. Jay-Z definitely has things to say but would rather be co-featured on a Beyonce or Jay Electronica project to let out his verses than to drop his own albums because of that unsustainable mentality that every album needs to go platinum, which kills the creative artform of taking chances in hip hop...yes, you can pretend that your standards are better by giving yourself elitist excuses by not to drop albums -- that mentality works for Jay-Z's tenure with 13 albums under his belt but does not translate well with new artists that barely started their discographies. Roc Nation's management is good for people like DJ Khaled who is established and is trying to figure out where in their contract is their label-partnership is screwing them over, but signing under Roc Nation kills new artists' rise and creativity...waiting on your label to grant you your album release date is the worst feeling when you already completed your album but they are still waiting on a more mainstream album to sell platinum.

Mass Appeal at least respected Dave East's request to make a bunch of mixtapes to cultivate his fanbase before dropping his album. Nas came in when he was needed for a co-sign feature, regardless or album or mixtape, which benefitted Dave more than Nas. Mass Appeal had a lot of artists drop projects under them and you never heard Run the Jewels complain about Mass Appeal when they moved on to a new label deal. When signing under artist-lead record labels, the lead artist running the label needs to not have an ego and cultivate their artists' careers instead of hording all the hits and relevancy for themselves. This is why TI's signed artists failed -- TI wanted all the glitz, glamor, and reputation for himself. The people who signed under Young Jeezy like Freddie Gibbs saw that Jeezy's money was tied to some shit and Jeezy failed to promote his artists properly due to the lack of funds -- 1 Million was not enough. Gucci Mane jump started a lot of producer's careers and released his artists like Migos, etc when he went to jail. Gucci Mane did most of them right, except for Waka Flocka, because the familiarity of signing extended family or friends as a favor always gets in the way of business relations.

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from /r/HipHopHeads on Reddit


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