When does a mixtape become an album? Traditionally, mixtapes are used as a form of promoting the artist’s work with the intent of promoting said musician’s work free of charge to the public. This tactic can be highly successful, as rappers have the ability to give their current and future fans some fresh work, be it choosing to rap over an instrumental that might have not aligned in relation with their previous projects or if the emcee feels the need to spit a hot 16 to keep their relevancy in the ever changing industry. Some of the smartest artists choose to purposely offer their music for free (Chance the Rapper‘s Acid Rap being one of the most notable examples of the past months); though they may lose some potential shot term financial gains with the money they could make from the project, artists can generally make back their investments ten fold through exposure and possible live performances (going back to the previous example, the Chicago rapper has become a seemingly overnight success after his latest tape.)
But while other rappers are hustling their tapes on the corner or via your favourite music blog, West Coast emcee Nipsey Hustle decided that his latest mixtape, Crenshaw, could be yours for the very low price of $100. According to Hustle,
The reason I chose to charge $100 dollars each copy and only start with 1000 units is because I’m tailor making my music for those who are listening…it’s not about stepping outside of what I’m known for in hopes of new discovery. What that means less is fans that are better served. (Kinda like the effect of less kids in a class room leading to a better education…
This form of promotion is especially interesting in a world that prides itself on being able to download music at the push of a button; does sacrificing a fresh Benjamin really equate to being a “true fan?” What if those core fans are broke due to spending all of their money on the artist’s previous endeavours? Although it’s cool that the money goes to directly to Hustle and the consumer is able to gain Nipsey’s full creative vision from any outside sources, $100 seems somewhat arbitrary for a tape from a rapper who, besides some relative success, is still considered unknown by most. And then there’s the economical aspect to it; Nipsey could make a cool $100,000 grand if he was to sell every copy.
Do you thing Nipsey Hustle has the right to charge $100 for a single mixtape? Should he be offering more for that amount? Sound off in the comments down below.
Here’s 5 tracks from rappers who’s projects are 100% free:
1) Jean Grae (feat. Planet Asia & Sadat X) “Haters Anthem” (Remix)
2) Split Prophets – “Family Trees”
3) Swisha T (feat. Madchild) – “Ballistic”
4) Jon Rodgers – “Perspective”
5) Antoine Jameson – “So Great” (prod. Kev Brown)