Is a 2 Chainz Guest Verse Really Worth $100K?

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As a general rule, rappers aren't shy about disclosing their finances in rhyme (real or fantasy), but even by rap standards 2 Chainz is ostentatious, particularly when it comes to rapping about his guest verse fee.

"

Want a verse from me, it's gonna cost a chicken

." More specifically, by "chicken" he means $100K. Now, the news that a Chainz guest verse is going to run you a tenth of a million dollars (to put it in the most confusing terms possible) isn't breaking news,

Kanye tweeted the same thing

months ago, but this more in-depth interview gives us some great material to once again dive into the workings of the beast they call the music industry:

Detour

: Before we get into the central question, "

Is a 2 Chainz verse worth $100K

?", I want to touch on something else he brought up; timing. I don't think the average fan realizes how slow the music industry often works. When you hear an album, some of those songs were literally recorded years earlier, especially when it comes to a guest verses. As he mentioned, 2 Chainz might use a line in a guest verse, the artist holds the verse for over a year, Chainz forgets about it, uses a very similar line on a new guest verse, the new song drops quickly, then the old song drops, and now it sounds like he just used the same line on two consecutive songs. (Follow that?) I've also seen artists hold onto a verse and put it on a different song then it was originally intended for, then the rapper who did the guest verse is like, "Fuck you, you're making me look bad, it sounds like I can't follow the concept"

OR

, artists will re-sell a guest verse, and then two years later a guest verse the rapper forgot he ever recorded comes out on an artist's song he's never even heard of. The point is, artists and producers record songs and then largely have absolutely no control over when that song drops, if it ever drops, which can cause all sorts of craziness. Anyway...

...back to the main event. First and foremost, this may be common knowledge to many, but just so we're all on the same page. When Chainz says it costs $100K for a guest verse that doesn't mean the artist is literally handing over a suitcase of cash. If you're going to get a Chainz guest verse that means you're almost definitely signed to a major label, and that major label will operate like a bank. The real specifics can get absurdly complicated, but I'll oversimplify in the name of clarity. The label gives you a $1 million budget for your album; that $1 million pays for studio time, production, sample clearances, guest verses, etc. If you decide to spend $100K of that budget on a Chainz guest verse, the label cuts Chainz a check. It doesn't cost the artist anything for that verse

upfront

, although believe me, they're going to recoup that shit. And if you're going to be spending "their" money, you better believe the label is going to want some input on what guest verses you've got on your album. Larger artists are going to get larger budgets and have more freedom to spend that budget however they want, newer artists are going to have to get every dollar signed off by the label before it's spent. Lending and collecting money, I told you the labels were like a bank; a bank that also gets to tell you how to make music.

So let's say you (and your manager/A&R/etc.) are considering spending $100K of your budget on a Chainz verse, should you? If you're going to invest in Chainz like that, and apparently you'll also be getting a video appearance and/or some video hos, you're not doing it because you think you're going to directly make that money back. It's more like buying publicity. You know a Chainz verse will make it more likely for your song to get radio play, your video to get played on MTV, and in turn that will mean more money over the long term (hopefully). Well, the man does have a resume of gold and platinum (500K - 1 million in single sales) hits:

Bandz a Make Her Dance

” (by Juicy J featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz),

Beez In the Trap

” (by Nicki Minaj featuring 2 Chainz),

Mercy

” (by Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz)

No Lie

” (by 2 Chainz ft. Drake)

"

Birthday Song

" (by 2 Chainz ft. Kanye West)

"

Fucking Problems

" (by ASAP Rocky ft. 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar)

In fairness though, that's a selective list. For every Chainz song that goes platinum like "Fucking Problems", there's a complete flop like "U Did That" by Teairra Marí, which didn't even chart. Really looking over

his discography

, it feels like Chainz is more of a guest verse role player than all-star. He can make a hot song hotter, but he's not powerful enough to make a mediocre song hot just by jumping on.

So by that logic, no, a 2 Chainz guest verse isn't really worth it, that verse isn't going to really "put you on', but it's still all relative. If you've got a huge budget and proportionally a Chainz verse won't really cost you much, then if the song's right, sure, why not.

Think about it like this. If I walk into McDonald's with $5, am I spending $2 off that on a McFlurry? No way, I need to eat, that money's going towards a burger and fries. But if I've got $20 and there's $15 left over after I bought all the essentials, then sure, fuck it, throw in a McFlurry. 2 Chainz is the rap game McFlurry.

On a closing note, I really need someone to put together a complete database of guest verse prices for me. If Chainz is $100K, how much is a Drake verse going to run you? Who has the most expensive verse in the game? It'd have to be Jay-Z...although that brings me to another point. An artists doesn't

have

to charge for a guest verse. Maybe they'll give a free verse, or a discount, to someone they're cool with. For example, I remember Kweli telling a story about how Jay-Z gave him a guest verse in the Roc-A-Fella days and literally said, "I know you can't afford this verse, just have it," before Dame flipped out over a free verse and blocked the song from ever coming out. For example, I don't know if this is actually what happened, but 2 Chainz might have said to Nicki Minaj, "Instead of you paying me $100K and me paying you $100K, why don't you just do a verse on '

Luv Dem Strippers

', I'll do a verse on 'Beez In the Trap', and we'll call it even."

So what have we learned today? Chainz is making some significant money, the guest verse game can get insanely complicated, and Tity Boi is the rap equivalent of a McFlurry. Was it worth reading nearly 1,200 words to learn all that? How much is a Nathan S. article worth? We'll tackle that one next time...

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